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    Quakertown Elementary

     

                As you drive down South 7th Street, you may be surprised to know that the large 2 story brick building that you pass is the oldest school building in continuous use in the Quakertown School District.  Built in 1929 (for $175,000), this building was initially used as a junior-senior high school.  This encompassed students from 6 municipalities, which later consolidated and became the Quakertown Community School District.

                The first settlers in the 1700’s were forced to educate themselves.  The Bible was probably the first Primer for both German and English as it was the most common text.   In Quakertown, the first school was built by the Society of Friends in 1775.  Then in 1818, the first boarding school was built at Main and Juniper Streets. 

                Early schools were built of logs, usually small and poorly lighted, and heat was provided by means of a fireplace or stove which required constant attention.  Pupils were required to cut the wood for fuel.  There was no water, so students had to use outhouses (rain or shine) and got their drinking water from a hand pump.  There were no snow days – if you could get there, you had school.  Girls wore skirts or dresses, boys white shirts with ties and knickers.  To be qualified to teach, a teacher had to be able to instruct reading, writing and arithmetic in English.

                Attendance was erratic as boys were needed to work on the farm and girls served domestic needs.  Curriculum was based on the needs of the time.  Arithmetic, as it related to handling money, was most important.

                The first legislation in Pennsylvania which provided for public schools was passed in 1834.  In 1851, legislation was passed setting the length of the school term and the authority of local government to levy school taxes. 

    The first Public School in Quakertown was built in 1835 and located on 14th Street.  Teacher salaries at that time were $12 to $15 a month, the school term was 10 months, and men with no profession were taxed 50 cents.  Professional men were taxed 2.5 mills.    

                From 1860-1911, four multi-room schools were built in Quakertown Borough (10th Street, Central, Franklin and Lincoln Schools), housing elementary through high school students.  The first high school graduating class consisted of 3 students who graduated in 1884 from the 10th Street School.

                In the 1920s, the schools in Quakertown were overcrowded because of increased population.  The district had four multi-room school buildings, but they were all full.

                In 1929, Quakertown built a junior-senior high school on 7th Street.  The school included grades 7 through 12.  It still used two older buildings on the 6th Street side (Central and Lincoln Schools) for the use of secondary students.   

                In 1950, 6 local districts merged (Haycock Township, Milford Township, Richland Township, Quakertown Borough, Richlandtown Borough and Trumbauersville Borough).

                When the new Senior High School was completed in 1957, the 7th Street building served as a junior high.  There was shifting of students between the two buildings.  Ninth graders were shifted back and forth for various classes.  The high school was built without an auditorium, so the Seventh Street building’s auditorium was used for both junior and senior high programs.

                In 1965 Quakertown Community Joint School System merged into Quakertown Community School District and the board went from 32 members to 9. 

    In 1967, additions to the Sr. High and construction of the new junior high (Strayer) were finished.  Immediately renovations and additions to the 7th street building began and in Dec. 1968 it was dedicated as the Quakertown Elementary School.

                The present grade configuration of the school district was accomplished in 1988, when the school district adopted the middle school as a replacement for the junior high school.  Like the other elementary schools, Quakertown Elementary became a kindergarten to grade five school.