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It’s Back to School Time – 1896, That Is!

On Sunday, September 18 between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., Mt. Joy Township will host a re-opening of “Mud College,” the little 1-room 153-year old red brick schoolhouse, along Baltimore Pike between Gettysburg and Littlestown.

Originally one of seven one-room schoolhouses scattered throughout Mt. Joy Township, The Pleasant Grove School was built in 1869. It served the educational needs of students’ grades 1st – 8th until 1949, when one-room schoolhouses began their phased consolidation.

In 1951, at public auction, the schoolhouse, complete with interior furnishings, (and exterior outhouse) was purchased by Walter Crouse for the purpose of holding alumni reunions for his own kin, friends and any and all who had ever attended this quaint, beloved little school. After nearly 50 years of reunions, family members, in 2001, donated the schoolhouse to Mt. Joy Township, with the stipulation,

The School Building and its contents be preserved as an example of a one-room rural school house for the edification, use and enjoyment by this and future generations of persons living in and visiting the Township of Mount Joy, Adams County, Pennsylvania.

Soon thereafter, a celebrated living history program, “A Day in A One-Room Schoolhouse” was developed based on one successfully established in Virginia. Primarily aimed at 4th and 5th graders, the curriculum, through proficient, period-clad docent teachers introduces young “scholars” during a full day’s immersion into what school was like in 1896. Each student assumes the persona of an actual classmate who attended “Mud College” which further personalizes the experience. The program has attracted not only regional participation but has seen attendance from a number of neighboring states. In 2011, the schoolhouse was named to the National Historical Register of Historic Places.

At 12:30 pm there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by docent led tours of the schoolhouse. A local historian and author, Elsie Darrah Morey will offer her 2002, book, The Pleasant Grove School “Mud College” and personally sign all purchases. Throughout the schoolyard will be various displays to enjoy along with light refreshments. Live music by the” Dixie Mix” will play from 1-2 pm. Plan to come on out (4084 Baltimore Pike) with family and friends for a fun, educational “back to school” afternoon of a distant era! The event is free and expanded, directed parking will be provided. For more information call or visit mtjoytwp.us.

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