Cemetery Road Schoolhouse

In May 2011, the Mount Joy Area Historical Society acquired a 900 square-foot one-room schoolhouse next to the current museum property. Preserving this local artifact—one example of nearly 600 one-room schoolhouses identified within Lancaster County and a piece of Mount Joy’s educational landscape—is consistent with the Society’s mission.

The schoolhouse was built around 1843 to educate the children in this area of Mount Joy Township. The walls were made of bricks; in fact, a brickyard founded as early as 1815, as reported on a local tax list, was within a mile of the site. In 1832, George Wolf, Governor of Pennsylvania, urged the Assembly to act to provide free public schools. The Free School Act of 1834 was the foundation of Pennsylvania’s present system of free public schools. When the act was passed, individual districts were permitted to accept or reject the idea of free schools. In 1842, Mount Joy Township citizens passed the law, and this schoolhouse was built for the purpose of learning.

Since there was no borough boundary in 1843, the Cemetery Road schoolhouse was actually in the village of Richland. Most of the land around the school was owned by William Brady, one of ten children whose father, David Brady, started Brady Industries, which included an edge tool factory, foundry and cooperage, at the time of the borough’s incorporation in 1851. When the first borough map was prepared in 1858, the Cemetery Road schoolhouse was one of five one-room schoolhouses within the borough.

In 1853, six men comprising the school board met to discuss ways and means of erecting an all-borough school. In 1872, when the new school was scheduled to open, the board agreed to sell the old schoolhouses and lots. There were 56 children in the Cemetery Road schoolhouse who transferred to the new school. The building was sold for $125 to Henry and Christiana Nissly. Over the years, it had multiple owners. By 1988, it sold for $25,000 to William E. Yeaglin. Finally, in May 2011, the Mount Joy Area Historical Society acquired the property.

Your contribution to the Mount Joy Area Historical Society’s Cemetery Road Schoolhouse Project is a tax-deductible gift to the extent allowed by law.