Upper Lehigh grade school students, ca. 1922

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History of Freeland, Pa.
Upper Lehigh schools

What's on this page:
  • Photos of the Upper Lehigh school in Foster Township
  • Reminiscences
  • Photos of students in 1921 (with names) and circa 1922
  • Published student program for Christmas (both schools, 1929)
  • Published student program for Thanksgiving (Butler Twp, 1938)
On related pages:

According to Charlie Stumpf who grew up in Upper Lehigh, the Upper Lehigh school in Foster Township was built in 1867 and closed in 1950, and the school in Butler Township was built in 1876 and closed in 1941.

These two photos are of the school on the Foster Township side of Upper Lehigh:

Upper Lehigh school From Nadine Heckler: "My aunt Esther is 91. She says that when she started going to the UL school it only had 2 rooms and that the building that was across the street (where the honor roll eventually went) was where the 7th and 8th graders went. Then they added the 3rd room / addition to the UL school and that's when the other building was used for just activities. The activities building was eventually torn down due to its condition. My Aunt Gwenie, who is 88, says the foundation of that building is still there and that's where they put the honor roll." Here is the photocopied photo of the Upper Lehigh school that Nadine sent.

Upper Lehigh school This is another photo of the same Upper Lehigh school. This one was in Foster Township, and there was also another school at the end of town in Butler Township. I don't know if this is correct, but my dad told us that at one point the boundary between the townships went through their house on Main Street. When the line was redrawn, a couple of his siblings had to change schools. Photo courtesy of the Freeland Historical Society.

Steve Tancin, Upper Lehigh, first grade Another memory of the Foster school came from my dad, Steve Tancin, who showed up for the first day of school in 1926 only to be sent home because he only spoke/understood Slovak. So, that year the John and Mary Tancin family worked on learning English. My grandfather already spoke and wrote some English; I don't know about my grandmother at that time. But this became a family project. Here at right is my dad's first grade school picture.

He also remembered that sometimes on really super cold school days, one of the boys would go early and pour cold water into the lock so that by the time the teacher arrived the door couldn't be opened, and they would all have to go home until the lock could be thawed.

About the other school on the Butler Township side of Upper Lehigh: I don't have a photo of that school, but Charlie Stumpf went to school there September 1935 through June 1941 and his memory of the school paints a vivid picture:
Butler Township School - in Upper Lehigh - built in 1876 (when our country was celebrating its 100th birthday). No electricity or plumbing - later a drinking fountain was installed in the Boys' Cloak Room. During the cold winter weather, the main valve had to be turned off at the end of the school day to prevent the water pipe from freezing and bursting. The valve was located underneath the floor of the cloak room - one of the older boys would have to climb down through a trap door to turn the valve. At timeis when the water line did freeze up, water was carried from one of the nearest homes, usually in a huge 'milk can' pulled on a sled.

One teacher taught all subject to all eight grades. The school ceased operation in 1941 and was razed a few years later. It was in service for 65 years. It served about 50 families. In 7th grade I was transferred to the Foster Township school. Butler Township Consolidated School in Drums opened in 1942. When it was time for high school it was approximately 4 miles away, no free transportation, had to pay to ride the school bus.

Upper Lehigh 1921 grade school class Upper Lehigh 1921 grade school class This is the 1921 grade school class in the Foster Township school. I'm typing the names so that they're searchable: Joseph Berta, Anna Opiary, Sue Adomshick, Edna Zierdt, Sue Petruska, George Koral, Alice Palir, Jimmy Brogan, Anna Semon, Frank Adomshick, Ethel Danielowich, George Miller, Edgar Wagner, Helen Buchman, Jeannette Lesser, Kasper, Margaret Heckler, Ann Breznitsky, Helen Williams, Lulu Shemo (Stubbs), Plavcan (Steve?), Horwath (Main St.), Horwath (Railroad St.), Bessie Hughes, Bennish (Spring St.), and teachers John Johnson and Ralph Heckler. Photo came from Charlie Stumpf.

This is the grade school class at the Foster school circa 1922. All I have is a photocopy, so the faces aren't very clear.
The photocopy came from Charlie Stumpf.

Upper Lehigh ca. 1922 grade school class Upper Lehigh ca. 1922 grade school class Upper Lehigh ca. 1922 grade school class Upper Lehigh ca. 1922 grade school class

And here are reports of two student holiday programs from 1929 and 1938, published in the North Side news sections of the Hazleton papers (I don't know which paper the 1929 one was in). I see my dad, possibly his brother Johnny, and maybe some of cousins listed in the 1929 Christmas program, along with two Stumpfs (underlined by Charlie) and many other familiar names. The 1938 Thanksgiving program at the Butler school was reported in the Plain Speaker by Vic Oleyar 11-25-1938. I see my uncles Joe and Georgie and my auntie Helen listed, along with some Berta cousins and also Charlie Stumpf as Jack Sprat. So much fun to think of these kids performing in these programs. Clippings from Charlie Stumpf.

Christmas program by both schools, 1929 Thanksgiving program by the Butler school, 1938

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Site contructed by C. Tancin.
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