Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Exhibit features one-room schoolhouses

by on February 11, 2014 10:55 AM

A new exhibit showcasing photographs of the schools and academies that once stood in Indiana County is now on display at the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County along Wayne Avenue in Indiana.

Between the early 1800s and 1946, Indiana County was home to more than 230 one-room schools where children attended classes from first through eighth grade, according to volunteer Maggie Pesci.

In some cases, local homes or abandoned cabins functioned as schools until money was available to build a school.

[PHOTO: Dorie Leathers, left, and Patricia Johner displayed some of the exhibits at the historical society, including a book they wrote about one-room schools in Indiana County. (Kayla Grube/Gazette photo)]

Most of the one-room schools were phased out when schools were consolidated in the mid-1900s, although a handful are still around today and serve other functions.

Thirteen academies and 20 select schools — institutions that trained teachers between 1855 and 1917 — are also included in the exhibit, Pesci said.

“We have a lot of posters of schools and pictures of people who went to the schools themselves to give you an idea of what they looked like,” Pesci said.

The ongoing exhibit highlights some of the work done by local historians Dorie Leathers and Patricia Johner, who last year published a book documenting the one-room schools of Indiana County.

“A County School Primer: The One-Room Schools of Indiana County, PA” is an illustrated history including newspaper articles, souvenirs, maps, school programs and old photographs.

Leathers, of Blairsville, and Johner, of Indiana, spent two years gleaning information available at the Indiana and nearby historical societies as well as scanning photos, compiling the index and writing essays to accompany the photographs and historical documents.

The book is available only at the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County for $24.95 plus tax. All proceeds benefit the society.

Emily Weber has been a staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since February 2013. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2014 with a degree in journalism and English writing studies. Emily can be reached at
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