Three his­toric mark­ers ded­i­cated in Up­per Ox­ford

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mar­cella Peyre-Ferry

UP­PER OX­FORD >> Be­fore the school district con­sol­i­da­tion in 1954, chil­dren in the town­ship be­gan their ed­u­ca­tion in one-room school houses. On Nov. 12, his­toric mark­ers were ded­i­cated at three of the five for­mer school houses in Up­per Ox­ford.

The Up­per Ox­ford His­toric Com­mis­sion has erected signs at the for­mer Oak Grove, Maple Plain and Pleas­ant View schools.

When the schools were closed, the build­ings were sold, and most were con­verted into houses. Oak Grove is lo­cated at 5066 Homeville Road and Maple Plain is at 4176 Ne­wark Road. Pleas­ant View, at 1185 Lime­stone Road, is now the Up­per Ox­ford mu­nic­i­pal build­ing, and re­mains very sim­i­lar to its orig­i­nal ap­pear­ance, com­plete with black­boards still upon the walls.

Two years ago, a marker was placed at the home that once was the Vil­lanova School. Still to re­ceive a marker is the last of the five, the Penn’s Grove school house.

For the ded­i­ca­tion, the com­mis­sion in­vited the pub­lic to at­tend, with sev­eral of the for­mer stu­dents join­ing the group. At each of the three stops, alumni in­clud­ing Iris Dowling and Kather­ine Steele spoke about their mem­o­ries of the school.

At their be­gin­ning, each school taught all grades, but as time went on they were or­ga­nized so that each build­ing housed one or two grades, first through eighth, pre­par­ing the stu­dents to en­ter the Ox­ford High School.

The Pleas­ant View School was built in 1901, and is the only one of the five town­ship schools built of brick. “I’m amazed to­day when I look at the brick­work,” Howard Robin­son said. “Look at the brick joint. It’s not a big wide joint like you see to­day, it’s al­most pa­per thin, which takes great skill. You can see the skill and ex­pert work that went into this build­ing.”

Robin­son be­gan first grade in Pleas­ant View 69 years ago. He re­called not only the ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, but the peo­ple who made the place so im­por-

tant in his life. One in par­tic­u­lar was class­mate and friend Bobby Davis who later was the first Ch­ester Coun­tian to die in the Viet­nam war.

Davis’ sis­ter Wanda is a mem­ber of the his­toric com­mis­sion and has been in­volved in the his­toric marker project. She also has a per­sonal con­nec­tion to the Vil­lanova School. “My grand­mother bought the build­ing not know­ing it was a school house,” she said. “I want to thank the his­toric com­mis­sion and the town­ship for tak­ing this awe­some re­spon­si­bil­ity on. We thought plaques for each of the schools would be good and they worked hard and here we are ded­i­cat­ing these plaques now.”

MAR­CELLA PEYRE-FERRY — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

His­toric Com­mis­sion mem­bers and alumni gath­ered Nov. 12 to ded­i­cate his­toric mark­ers at three for­mer one-room school houses in Up­per Ox­ford — Oak Grove, Maple Plain and Pleas­ant View schools.

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