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Lincoln School served students for 103 years

Built on the corner of Howard and Boyd streets in the Newberry section of Williamsport, the first Lincoln School opened in 1878.

According to the Williamsport Education publication, “Williamsport Schools Through the Years,” published in 1958, the red brick school consisted of two rooms, one on the first floor for the lower grades and one upstairs for the upper grades.

“It was a very modern building with a pump and toilet facilities not too far away,” the publication noted.

A historical point of reference: although there were some recorded instances of indoor plumbing in the early 1800s, some areas of the country did not have modern, indoor plumbing until the 1960s.

Each room was heated by a big pot-bellied stove in the middle of the room. One of the jobs of the teacher was to stoke the fire.

The first principal was H. M. Bingham, who was described as “a short man with a moustache and a mop of very curly black hair.” He taught at the school until 1881.

Seven years later, Wilson Staver, “a young man of eighteen who had just graduated from high school in June” became the principal at Lincoln School according to the historical account.

“The patrons felt it would be better to have a younger man as principal,” the publication stated. Staver was said to be the youngest man ever to serve as a principal in any of the Williamsport schools. He taught until 1902.

In 1900 a new brick building was built behind the original school. It faced on Lincoln Street and was not completed until the winter of that year with the first classes being held there in January, 1901.

The historical account noted that the new building had the “forward look for there were four vacant rooms to allow for growth of the school population.”

“Lincoln School has always had a modern and progressive look,” the historical publication noted.

As was normal for the time, from 1914 until the Roosevelt Junior High School was built, girls were taught cooking and sewing as part of a domestic science course in the basement of Lincoln. The girls came from both the Jackson and Webster school to learn the domestic arts.

Through the years, the school grew and in 1926, eight more rooms were added to Lincoln School.

“The school has been modernized to a great extent until now, although one of the oldest schools in the city, it is one of the most attractive,” the historical account stated when it was written in the mid-twentieth century.

“From its door have gone forth boys and girls who as adults have made names for themselves as doctors, lawyer, merchant-chiefs, nurses, teachers and good homemakers and rearers of good families,” the writers of the account said in praise of Lincoln School.

By the 1970-71 school year, the enrollment at Lincoln School had climbed to 310 students. Ten years later, at the end of the 1980-81 school year, Lincoln School ceased to serve as an educational institution in the Williamsport Area School District. It now serves as offices for STEP Inc.

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