The First 300

Early Schools

Before the Township school system started in 1835, schools were administered by religious organizations (for example, Merion Friends’, 1769; St. Paul’s Lutheran, 1787) by trustees who held the school as real estate to benefit the neighborhood…by a teacher for profit…or by bequest (Lower Merion Academy). After 1835, six schools joined as “common schools” to form the early school system: Fairview, Mt. Pleasant, Merion Square, Lower Merion Academy, Pennsville School (Blockley) and Union. The school directors built their first schoolhouse, “Wynne Wood,” by 1836. With a growing stable school population, the 1870s saw the school directors build and enlarge the schools that we remember today.

St. Paul’s Old Dutch Schoolhouse, built in 1787, seen in 1911 photograph.
The school house today, after a recent rehab by local Boy Scouts.
Fairview School, which no longer exists. It was located on Fairview Road, Penn Valley, adjacent to the Fairview Union Sunday School. The school was rebuit in 1876, and closed around 1919-1920. The Fairview School was identical in design to the Pencoyd School, which has also been demolished.
Fairview School class photo, c. 1900.
Painting of the Fairview School by Margaret Doran, based on a photo by Marian Ewing, who attended Fairview many years ago.
Photo of the second Wynnewood School, (the 1836 two storied building burned in the 1860s). Built during the 1870s, it was located near the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Wynnewood Road.
Wynnewood class photo, c. 1900.
Mt. Pleasant School, also now gone.
Only the Merion Square School survives today as Gladwyne Montessori.