Public schooling began in Elizabethville, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, in 1835. The first school room was in the 16 x 26 foot basement of the Salem Lutheran and Reformed Church, which was also known as the Old Stone Church. Seating was crudely constructed along three walls and the room was headed by a wood-burning Ben Franklin stove, with the stovepipe going out through one of the windows.
Books were scarce, so the Holy Bible was the primary text used, which satisfied many people at the time who believed that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”
Early teachers were Isaac Dietrich, John Ditty, and Theodore Webner.
The Old Stone Church remained the only public school site until the early 1860s, when land was donated by Adam Q. Bender at the southeast corner of Broad and Bender Streets, across the street from the church. A building dedicated exclusively for schooling was built there. One of the first teachers was James Miller.
For further information about education and religion in Elizabethville, contact the Elizabethville Area Historical Society, 100 E. Main Street, Elizabethville, Pennsylvania 17023.
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