While many Penn State students are starting classes and local school children are about to enter into their new school year, children of all ages will experience a rare glimpse of school life in the 19th century at the Boogersburg one-room school house with the help of slates and chalkboards.
The historic charm of the Boogersburg School is often missed by those hurrying by. Pausing for a moment in its midst reminds us of a simpler time when children walked to school across open fields, studied side-by-side with siblings, and learned morals and arithmetic with McGuffey Readers.
On May 1, 1877, Moses Thompson, the ironmaster and owner of Centre Furnace, deeded property along what is now Fox Hill Road for the Boogersburg School. The schoolhouse was built that same year. Thompson wanted to ensure an education for the children of his tenant farmers who lived over two miles from the iron village. For the next 75 years, the Boogersburg School served first through eighth grade youth during some very significant times in our nation’s history.
While there are no records to confirm it, strong evidence suggests that James B. Mattern was the builder of the schoolhouse in 1877. To put this timeframe in perspective, when the school was built, the town of State College had about a dozen houses most of which were along what is now College Avenue. Penn State had just been renamed the Pennsylvania State College in 1874 and boasted six buildings: Old Main, the President’s house, two barns, and two faculty cottages. How things have changed!
After World War II, the population of Centre County grew and bussing of rural children to larger schools in town became more prevalent. One-room schoolhouses located in outlying townships downsized in a sense to accommodate only one or two grades per building. Such was the case with Boogersburg, which housed only two grades during its final years of operation.
Read more about Boogersburg School.