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  • Kristin Wenger

Back to School: Now and Then (#52Ancestors week 35: Back to School)

One could say that our school district is “old school.” While students in every other district in the county returned to class over the past two weeks, Warwick is the lone holdout for the traditional start date of the Wednesday after Labor Day.


As a “final countdown” to the beginning of the academic year, my husband and son made this fun video featuring Warwick’s school buildings.



It got me thinking about how much our school buildings have changed over the years and what our local students might have experienced a century ago.

Lincoln School (Owl Hill), Warwick Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1921

My great grandpa, Albert Hornberger, age 12 and looking a bit glum, is the second boy seated in the first row. His brother Irvin is fourth in the same row.


Thanks to the work of Martee Xakellis and the Lititz Public Library, we can read about the Owl Hill School and many other early school houses of Warwick Township.


The one-room school house experience:

As a teacher, I would love to travel back in time to compare education philosophies and methods with those of today. I am thankful to have this firsthand account from Eric’s grandmother, Mary Kathryn (Heller) Wenger. In 1999, she recorded her memories of attending a one-room schoolhouse in the late 1930s and early 1940s:



McKinley School, 1939

Mary Kathryn Heller is the first (shorter) girl in the back row


Try this: Do you have parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who attended Lancaster County schools? Look for your Lancaster County relatives in the free school clippings archive of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.


My cute grandma, Doris Jean Millhouse (third from left in the first row), posed for a photo with her second and third grade class about 1942. Check out these boys near the end of the front row!


How do you feel about heading back to school?

Wishing all of our students and teachers an outstanding year of learning!