The Stewartstown Historical Society
has been working with Hyson School owner Myrna Hyson Ross on the restoration of
the original stone Hyson School. Society vice-president Dr. Donald Linebaugh
has provided technical preservation, documentation, and archaeology support,
and president Doug Winemiller has gathered historical photos for the project.
The restoration work is being performed by contractor Scott Neal, owner of Northbrook
Landscape, and his crew.
Initial work included clearing the
area around the school, temporary stabilization of the collapsing north wall,
cleaning of the exterior mortar joints, removal of the interior room partitions
(added when the building became a home), removal of the interior floor and
joints, and disassembly of the north wall. Subsequent work has included
stabilizing the shallow foundation, rebuilding the north wall, reinstalling the
north wall window frames, and preparing to pour a concrete floor. Work over the
next few weeks will include completion of the concrete floor, reinstallation of
the original floor joists and flooring, installation of a new summer beam and
king post truss, reroofing, and finish carpentry on the windows and trim.
Finally, the exterior was repointed with a lime-based mortar.
While the floor was removed from the
interior, Dr. Linebaugh conducted limited archaeological excavations inside the
building. When the floor was removed, the crew found many artifacts, including
bottles, window glass, bones, and ceramics, on the ground surface beneath the
floor. Excavation in the northwest quarter of the interior revealed a layer of
dense artifacts, possibly a cellar deposit.
Board member Roger Wilson and
co-author Kathryn Jordan published a book about one-room schools in the South
Eastern School District that indicates the Hyson School is possibly among the
oldest in our area. The stone school was erected around 1857 on land
transferred to the Hopewell Township School District by the family of prominent
local builder Archibald Hyson before standardized schoolhouse programming swept
The one-room stone building was used
as a school until the construction of the “new” frame Hyson School in the early
1890s. Once the new school was built across the street, the stone structure was
repurposed as a dwelling and occupied into the 20th century. Artifacts
recovered from below the floor include materials that represent both uses of
the building. For example, the discovery of several slate pencils and a bottle
with traces of blue ink speaks to a space filled with young scholars hard at
work. Similarly, fragments of redware and stoneware crocks, and white
tableware, along with personal objects like buttons and a thimble, document the
use of the building as a residence in the very late 19th and early
With the north wall rebuilt, the building is a wonderful
setting for learning about early education in southern Pennsylvania.
Stewartstown Historical Society member and owner of the school Myrna
Hyson Ross is to be commended for undertaking this important preservation
project. Please watch this website for updates on the Hyson School
project, and also check out the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northbrook-Landscape/159889410701110.
Hyson Schools have earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places
Hyson School Renovation Gallery