The Story of Scranton School

The first Scranton School was a log cabin built in 1876 near the intersection of River Road and highway 54 near City Point. The second Scranton School, which you see here, built in 1904, was originally located on the corner of County Highway E and Peterson Rd (near the intersection of State Highway 54 and County E today) in the town of Hiles. Around 1947 the school closed due to low attendance. In 2008 the school building was donated by Dennis & Connie Potter to the Pittsville Area Historical Society. After fundraising and securing grants of nearly $50,000, in 2009 it was carefully dismantled and moved to the museum property in Pittsville where it was painstakingly reconstructed and restored to its original glory.

Scranton School in its Heyday
Scranton School (also known as District No. 4) circa 1930; notice the bell and bell tower on the roof.
Scranton schoolhouse before deconstruction
This is the sorry state of the Scranton schoolhouse just before deconstruction began in 2009. The vertical wainscoting under the eves was able to be saved. Notice the bell tower is missing.
Deconstruction of the roof is complete
Deconstruction of the roof is complete. One of the gable end walls rests on the ground.
Vestibule will be moved intact
Though it looks hopeless, the vestibule, including both entryways, was moved intact to its new home on the museum grounds.
Loading wall sections onto a flatbed
After deconstruction into separate walls and other various parts, the building was reassembled at the new location. Here a crew from Miller Construction loads wall sections onto a flatbed for transport to the museum site.
Scranton School concrete foundation
The concrete slab and foundation, poured by Palmer Cornerstone Concrete, has cured enough for removal of the forms.
Scraping and cleaning floorboards
After the old tong & groove wood flooring had been pulled up, volunteers scrape the grooves clean and sand the surfaces of each plank in preparation for reinstallation.
Construction of the new roof
With the framing complete, the exterior walls await reinstallation of the original reconditioned windows as sheeting is installed on the new roof. Because of too much rot and decay, the roof and side walls had to be completely replaced. The front wall, on the other hand, with its old, weathered siding, original doorways and four pane window, was able to be saved and reused, as was the back wall. The roof will be shingled with authentic wooden shakes, while the walls will be clad in new but authentic wooden clapboard siding.
Laying bricks for the rebuilt chimney.
A mason lays the old bricks in new mortar for the rebuilt chimney.
Chipping old mortar from chimney bricks
Volunteers labor to chip old mortar from chimney bricks in preparation for the chimney restoration.
Vestibule from Inside of Scranton School
A view of the inside of the restored school from the front of the room. The vestibule, along with the entryways on either side, had been moved intact from the original site, then restored to its original condition.
Inside of Scranton School
A view inside the schoolhouse looking from the back of the room to the front. Notice the restored chimney behind the teacher’s desk, and the placement of the cast iron cylinder stove.
Inside of Scranton School
Another view of the schoolhouse from the front corner behind the potbelly stove. Notice the original and fully restored blue wainscoting on the walls and ceiling; paint color on the walls and ceiling is authentic to the era. Also note the bookcase loaded with original Scranton schoolbooks.
Fully rebuilt and restored Scranton school
The rebuilt Scranton one-room schoolhouse, fully restored to its 1946 glory, complete with an authentic replica bell tower on the roof.
Scranton Bell Tower & Bell
Scranton School Bell

The missing rooftop school bell was found, but it had a crack. The company that originally made the bell was contacted and, amazingly, still had two identical bells that had been cast at the same time as the Scranton School bell; one was purchased to replace the cracked bell. Visitors today can ring the bell by pulling the rope dropping down through the ceiling in the vestibule.

You can find more stories and information about long ago life at Scranton school, plus life at many other country schools in the towns and communities around the Pittsville area in the book, Reading Riting Rithmetic and Recess by Sally Winkels (1989), sold at the museum, or see the Shopping page on this website.


Student Instruction in School

Hey, 3rd or 4th graders! Have your class spend a day at Scranton School, experiencing school the way kids did back in the 1940s!

Scranton Road Sign
Scranton Road Sign
Students folding the American flag