The Little Red School House
Alumni of Shippensburg University first proposed the idea of a little red schoolhouse in 1968.
The purpose of this project was to relocate on campus a one-room school which would represent the first step in the development of public education in America.
The Mount Jackson (or Potato Point) School was taken apart brick by brick in September 1969 and reconstructed on the campus of Shippensburg University. This one-room school now occupies an area known as the Shakespearean Theater, located along Route 696. Shakespearean plays had often been dramatized in the area where the schoolhouse now stands.
The Mount Jackson School originally stood on a site north of Newburg. It was built in 1865 and was in use until 1954. In that span of 89 years, and within the same four walls, an astonishing number of grammar lessons were taught. Hundreds of spelling bees were conducted and scores of Christmas programs were staged.
Pupils ranged from 5 to 21 years of age, and many traveled two or three miles to attend the school. The children studied reading, grammar, arithmetic, geography, history, music, and art, all taught by one teacher. For a small salary, the teacher also acted as bus driver, doctor, janitor, and game leader.
The Mount Jackson School is authorized by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission as an official historical structure. The original campus complex, including Old Main, Horton Hall, Stewart Hall, Gilbert Hall, and the Martin House (the president's residence), has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is known as the Cumberland Valley State Normal School Historic District, reflecting the university's original name.
Relocation to Shippensburg University
Mr. Samuel Myers of Newburg donated the Mount Jackson School to the alumni of Shippensburg University. Then the 1968-69 Loyalty Fund Drive by the General Alumni Association of SU raised $25,000 to dismantle and reconstruct the schoolhouse on campus.
Through generous donations of funds and furnishings from alumni and friends, the school's original atmosphere was recaptured. The Little Red Schoolhouse was dedicated on May 9,1970.
The one-room school marks an important phase in the history of education. The reconstruction of the Little Red Schoolhouse on the Shippensburg campus is appropriate because the university has always concerned itself with the education of teachers.
Shippensburg University was founded in 1871 as the Cumberland Valley State Normal School. For more than a century, the institution prepared teachers for public schools of the Commonwealth. It was renamed Shippensburg State Teachers College in 1927, and Shippensburg State College in 1960. In July, 1983, it was again renamed to Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. SU is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
For more information, or to request a tour of the Little Red Schoolhouse, please contact:
Office of Alumni Affairs
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257-2299