What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

The History of the Brookville Area School District
By Nicole Hetrick

Brookville's first school was taught in the old jail in the fall of 1830. Boards laid on blocks served as seats. In the past 167 years, the Brookville schools have evolved into modern educational institutions. It was a long process.

By 1835, four schools were organized under a school system in Pine Creek Township. Several more schools popped up throughout the country until, by 1854, there were 105 in the county. Some of the schools throughout the area included: Summerville, Sigel, Munderf, West Warsaw, Conifer, Knoxdale, Mile Hill, Pawnee, and Hazen, among others. One room schoolhouses in the area were Hollow School, Greenvalley, and McAnich. In 1878, the junior high school was built and was razed in the late 1960s. Brookville also had several institutions, academies and select schools in the early days.

The class of 1886 was the first to graduate from the school. The class consisted of three girls and was followed by a class of two girls and two boys. At that time, the high school consisted of one room on the third floor of the building. Classes were taught in physiology, rhetoric, geometry, and Latin.

The classes gradually increased in size. In 1907, the high school had two teachers and offered three years of Latin, two each of algerbra, geometry, German, Greek, botany, zoology, and chemistry.

In the fall of 1908, the school term was lengthened to nine months and the course to four years. At this time, the high school occupied the entire third floor of the original school building and employed four teachers. This was the year that the school began to offer instruction in art and music. Brookville was one of the instigators of inter-high school athletics.

Much progress was made during the period between 1910 and 1922. A full time drawing teacher, physical training for girls and a modified junior high school were added. Orchestra, glee clubs and additional courses in visual instruction were added.

The first projector was purchased for the science department at this time. The department also put into operation the first high school radio transmitting and receiving set. During this period, a moving picture machine was also made part of the school equipment. The Longview Elementary School was built in 1919 and a total of 252 students were accommodated.

The progress continued from 1922 to 1939. Physical and manual training for boys, domestic science for girls, a commercial course and a full time librarian were added.

The first annex to the Paul Darling Hall was in 1923 and the second in 1928. The Senior National Honor Society was added in 1928 and the Junior National Honor Society in 1936. An addition to the original high school was built in 1929 and nine classrooms; chemistry, physics laboratory, gym, library and school offices were added. A total of 317 students now attended class.

Work on the new grade school began in January, 1939 and Northside had classrooms for grades one through six and kindergarten. The building also contains a large auditorium and gym. The basement housed the cafeteria. There were seats for 365 students in the building.

The work of consolidating school districts in the state touched the Brookville area in 1955. A total of 15 rural school districts were folded into the Brookville Area School District in 1956. The total enrollment was 2,228 in Sept., 1956.

The first jointure graduation was held in May, 1957 when 140 seniors graduated from Brookville and Sigel.

At the April, 1958, board meeting, a $2.9 million plan was accepted for the new junior-senior high school. The groundbreaking ceremonies for the new school were in January, 1959 with supervising principal James Hysong officiating.

In April, 1960, the students voted to change the school colors from red and white to blue and white. The datestone eas laid on May 18, 1961 and the first classes entered Brookville Area High School in the fall of 1961. The athletic field was planned and built in 1962 at a cost of $1,000.

In 1969 the Hickory Grove Elementary School was erected at a cost of $2.6 million. The building was planned to have 36 classrooms, a cafeteria, auditorium, gym, and swimming pool.

Little has changed since then, although the Brookville Schools continue to look to the future. Technology may change but the spirit will always stay the same.

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