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| History of Freeland,
Gallery of Freeland area school images
photo of DCM at right seems very evocative of the
wonderful silence that comes after a winter storm. These
young kids look like they're having so much fun out there!
Everything has been transformed by the snow and ice. The
school is decorated with snow and icycles. Even the trees
look a bit like ballerinas. This storm came at the tail
end of a heavy year for winter storms in Freeland! The
photo came from John Zubach.
sepia photo at far left comes to us courtesy of the Freeland
Historical Society. Ed Merrick sent the later color photo of
the former Foster Township High School, writing: "October
15, 1990 - every time I made a trip north [later in my life]
I made it a point of shooting places that had been important
to me as a kid. That's the entrance to the gym at the left,
where I used to go to dances when I was a student at MMI."
Machado sent this photo of a Foster banner from 1931, and
wrote: "I often spent part of my summers in the 1950s
as a kid in Freeland and remember the Borough Hall,
Refowitch theater and the candy store/novelty store on
Center Street. (Wooden balsa toy planes with a steel
nose-piece cost only ten cents.) My mother
worked in that ice cream store on Center Street as a
teen, and I remember going to the A&P (on Front
Street, I believe).
My cousins lived at the east end of Walnut Street
and attended the Reformed church a few blocks away,
where the minister was (still from the 1920s) George
Koehler. My cousin Niles is married to his high school
sweetheart, Helen Gale Oberrender. I will ask her if she
is related to the Robert Oberrender who was listed on
you website as the patent holder of a work cap! I'll
send separately a pic of the Foster Twp HS
banner/pennant from 1931 with a slightly different crest
than the one you sent in your email. Perhaps you can cut
and paste the pic for your website."
The Mining & Mechanical Institute (MMI) was
first opened in Drifton in 1879. After a devastating fire
in 1888, the school reopened in temporary quarters in the
Birkbeck Block on Centre and Main streets in 1893. A new
school building, shown at left, was completed in late
According to the 11th edition of the
Encyclopaedia Britannica, MMI was modeled after the
German Steigerschulen, with elementary and
secondary departments and a night school for workmen. The
school was gradually transformed into a college
preparatory school, and has recently been greatly
renovated and expanded. At right are an MMI banner from
1935 and a postcard showing the gym.
Coxe, wife of Eckley B. Coxe, thought that some sort of
extra education was also needed for girls in the Freeland
area. She founded an Industrial School for Girls,
which was later called The Loyalty Club or The Girls'
Loyalty Club. This was a bit like a finishing
school, where local girls could learn some of the 'womanly
arts' such as various crafts and needle arts as well as cooking
and deportment. This building was later donated by the
Coxe Estate, in memory of Sophia Coxe, for a new
church that was being formed in 1937, Ss. Peter &
Paul's Eastern Greek Catholic Church. The building still
stands today, although it has been modified and expanded
to accommodate the needs of the parish.
Charlie Reczkowski's sister attended classes there.
So did Tom Yaruso's aunt: "My aunt Verna Martonis from
Highland who arrived in America in 1906 went there to
learn sewing, etc."
Another parochial school, St. Mary's Greek Catholic School, was built on Fern Street. It is listed in a borough directory in 1921. In 1984 a new parish center for St. Mary's was dedicated on the site of the old school. There are also student group photos from St. Mary's from 1896 and the early 1960s on the other school gallery page.
The school had already been torn down and replaced with a
parish activities center building by the time I took this
photo at right, but I took the photo to show the little
lot where we used to play at recess and lunchtime. The
upper part of the street in front of the rectory and
school was also blocked off with sawhorses during these
times so that we could play in the street.
Since Tom Yaruso sent that note about the Highland School,
I was fortunate to visit the Freeland Historical Society,
where they allowed me to scan this undated newspaper
article and the photos that accompanied it, showing seven
village schools that were in Foster Township.
The newspaper article said that at the time of
publication, the only one of those seven schools that was
still standing was the Sandy Valley school at the
crossroads. A few years ago Bob Zimmerman was kind
enough to show me that old school building, and I took
these photos. The rightmost photo seemed particularly
poignant to me. I don't know if it's still there now.
And finally for now, three photos of the old Woodside
School, again possibly from the same photographic
series, thanks to the Freeland Historical Society.
- Back to Schools page -Site contructed by C. Tancin.