The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 11, 2013

Class in session: Mooresburg museum ready for open house visitors

By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News

— MOORESBURG — Emma Jones remembers walking one and a half miles to the one-room school at Mooresburg.

She attended the school which is now a museum.

“The whole family went here,” the 86-year-old Mooresburg area resident said.

The school and adjacent carriage house will be open for tours during the annual open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. There will be refreshments and music.

Robert Lee III, known for his pottery making and his outhouse digs throughout the region, will demonstrate an Ack pottery wheel. Visitors will also be able to see a collection of Ack pottery made in Mooresburg, said school museum and carriage house curator Jean Hummel. The pottery wheel and pottery can be seen on the first floor of the carriage house.

Also new this year in the carriage house are carpeting, enclosing of rafters, paneling on the walls and lighting on the second floor. A Mausdale woman bequeathed them in her will.

The carriage house also contains displays of military uniforms worn by area residents including the World War I uniform of Lt. Charles Mong, who served as a Danville police officer, the Army Nurse Corps uniform of Amanda Royer from World War I and a World War I Navy uniform of R.J. Emery.

Jones pointed out a baby cap passed down to her and her siblings. It was made for her oldest brother George Morris, of Orangeville, who will be 90 this month.

The carriage house, built in 1993, also has displays of clothing through the years including baby outfits and typewriters related to Christopher Sholes, inventor of the typewriter. Sholes was born in 1819 in Mooresburg.

Hummel expects a yellow fire truck to be on display. The 1929 Model A Ford was donated to the carriage house by the Liberty Township Fire Company.

There is also a small printing press donated by the late Charles Pickin, of Danville.   

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the school was home to eight grades with the younger children sitting in the front and the older grades in the back, Jones said.

At the start of school each day, students would sing two patriotic songs accompanied by the piano, which sits in the front of the school.

The red brick school, built in 1875 and rebuilt in 1891, was heated by what Jones described as a furnace or a coal-fired Beaver stove. “In the winter, kids would put potatoes in there to roast for lunch,” said Jones, who carried her lunch to school.

Jones said there was a hole in the blackboard where kids would throw chalk.

She left the school in seventh grade after the teacher told her to take off her coat and she wouldn’t because she was cold. “She wanted some kids to take my coat off and I took off,” Jones said.

“There were 48 of us in there,” she said.

Also on display in the school is a folding dental chair the late Mabel Bottomley, dental hygienist, would carry from school to school. While Hummel didn’t attend the one-room school, she remembers getting her teeth checked by Bottomley while going to school in Danville.

Old class pictures, props from school plays, books and many other items are also on display.

The school closed in 1964 and has been a museum, operated by the Montour County Historical Society, since 1966.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.