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East End school started as log building

The history of education in what is now the East End of Williamsport began in 1850 with the purchase of land north and east of Academy Street in what became known as Lloyd’s Addition.

According to the publication “Williamsport Schools Through the Years,” compiled by the Williamsport Education Association and published in 1958, the historical account noted that once the land was purchased by Abraham Updegraff and Samuel Lloyd, a log schoolhouse was built on the north side of Sheridan Street, east of Sherman Street. When the publication was written, the log structure was still standing at that location, although it had ceased being a school many years before.

As the population grew, the log building became too small and land was then purchased at the southeast corner of Sherman and Sheridan streets and another school was built. The building is still there and is now a church.

The new four room school had several teachers and Mr. Flack was the principal. According to the publication, a Miss Hill had 68 pupils her first year and 72 her second year at the school.

“When Mr. C. M. Houseknecht was principal, he went to the school board and told them that Miss Hill could only ‘keep’ school, not teach, with such a mob,” the account stated. The board then hired Lou Finkbinder to alleviate the problem.

By 1903, according to archives of The Daily Gazette and Bulletin, the school had 28 pupils at the grammar level, 38 at the intermediate level and a combined 78 at the A and B primary levels.

The Lloyd’s Addition School was part of the Loyalsock Township School District at that time and at a meeting of the school board in 1904, improvements to the building were approved. They included cementing the cellar to prevent dampness, which according to the newspaper account, “might prove a menace to the health of the pupils.”

The reporter wrote that another improvement was changing the exterior doors of the building so that they opened outwards “to insure the safety of the pupils in case of a fire.” The board also approved a new ceiling for the west room of the building and advertising for bids for painting the hallways and cloak room at the Lloyd’s Addition School.

“The purity of the water pumped from a well for the Lloyd’s Addition building was questioned and it was decided to have it examined by a chemist before allowing the pupils to drink it,” the newspaper’s report of the board meeting stated.

The education association publication described the school as having only one aisle in a room.

“Four children sat in a row on either side of the aisle. When the one next to the wall wanted to get out, all the row had to get up to leave them out,” the historical account stated.

In 1911, the school board purchased a plot of land on the north side of Sheridan Street, west of the other building for $1,000. The new building was completed and opened its doors to students in January, 1913.

According to accounts, the board had difficulty in deciding what to name the school. They wanted to name it after W.B Stuart because of his interest and work on building the structure, but Stuart declined.

So, the name Sheridan was chosen because of the location of the school.

“During the early days, Miss Eva Keller was hired to come in to teach Art, as a ‘special” instructor and Professor Hart, to teach penmanship,” the education association publication stated. For their work, Keller received $12 a month and Hart, $10. Their salaries were paid by the P. T. A., it was noted.

In 1923, Sheridan School became part of the Williamsport School System. It remained part of district until it was closed at the end of the 2012-13 school year. The building still stands, but is privately owned.

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