BRIEF HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN WHITPAIN TOWNSHIP
There were five private, independent schools located in Whitpain Township when the Free School Act was passed n 1834. All of these schools were one-room schoolhouses. The Center School built in 1800, was located just behind where the Whitpain Public School now stands. The Center School succeeded an earlier schoolhouse built in 1766, the Centre School, which was torn down in the 1920’s. Its location comprises the current Blue Bell Elementary School bus garage (built in 1957). The James School, built in 1786, was located on Lewis Lane on the property of Dr. James. In 1837, it came under the control of the school district and a year later it became known as the Mount Pleasant School. In 1849, the Mount Pleasant School was moved to Mount Pleasant Ave on Morris Rd. It was torn down in 1971. The Ellis School, built in 1787, located at Swedesford Rd. and DeKalb Pike, was open to students from Whitpain, Norriton and Plymouth Townships. Isaac Ellis, Andrew Knox and his wife deeded the ground. It was torn down in 1864. The Sandy Hill School was built in 1796 on ground deeded by Joseph Lukens. It was rebuilt in 1859 by the school district and is still in existence as a private home at Five Points near Wings Field Airport. The Centreville School or Centre Square School built in 1825 was located on Skippack Pike above DeKalb Pike. It was rebuilt in 1859, and in 1888 a second story was added at the cost of $1296.48. This addition became the high school (grades 9 to 11) until the 1895 Whitpain Public School was built. After 1916, the Centre Square School became a private residence. These five schools came under the aegis of the Common School System in May 1836, with the advent of the Free School Act of 1834. This act established a system of free public schools and was the beginning of free education in Whitpain Township. Other schools in the township before 1895 include: the Shady Grove School (1855) on Lewis Lane near Skippack Pike, which was demolished in 1971; and the Franklinville School (1858) currently standing on Morris Rd. above DeKalb Pike, and is currently owned and maintained by the Whitpain Historical Society.