A History of Millerstown Education
In 1808, the Presbyterian Church constructed the first school house in Millerstown adjacent to the church cemetery on “Grave Street”. After enlarging the school in 1834, the Borough incorporated it and a Juniata River school into one district, not then including the adjacent Greenwood Township.
As the town’s population expanded, a large two story frame building was constructed on High Street in 1856 which still stands today an apartment building. A decade later an addition expanded the capacity to several hundred students. The first graduation of five students from the 12th grade was held in 1887. In 1925 a new frame building was built one block north of the original High Street School.
The 1856 school after its expansion.
In 1948, Greenwood Joint School District formed, merging the Millerstown school with those of Greenwood and Tuscarora Townships. Liverpool Township joined the district in 1949. The 1925 school was updated and used until 1954 when it was replaced by a new Greenwood High School at 405 East Sunbury Street. In 1982, a new elementary school was constructed, completing a modern educational complex with enrollment of approximately 750 students.
Millerstown students, September 1914.
The Juniata Valley Normal School, a Venture in Higher Education
Silas Wright, local educator and author of the first history of Perry County, established a regional normal school in Newport in 1867, moving it to Millerstown at the High Street schoolhouse in 1868. A later historian, H. H. Hain, wrote that the “location provided easy access from every section of the county, and from the east and west on the Pennsylvania Railroad” enabling student transportation to Millerstown. With the availability of higher education, Hain observed “dozens of students became educators, lawyers, physicians, ministers, bankers, business men and intelligent farmers and homemakers.” At one time 160 students enrolled for the five-month sessions costing $60 in tuition. The normal school closed in 1878 but the building remains today.
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These citations will go on the web site.
Becker, Margie. A Scrapbook of School Houses in Perry County; Greenwood Township, Millerstown Borough, Liverpool Borough, Liverpool Township, Tuscarora Township, 1834-1984. New Bloomfield, PA: The Perry Historians, 1997.
Hain, H. H. History of Perry County, Pennsylvania. Harrisburg: Hain-Moore Co., Pub., 1922.
Pennsylvania Laws, Statutes, etc. State Normal Schools…an Act to Provide for the Common Schools of the State. [from Old Catalog]. Harrisburg, 1857. Online 8 p.
Web Site Material
The 1887 first graduating class included Clara Pauline Rippman, who married Ralph Thompson and lived in the current Tuzinski home.