Preserving the History of Ambler, Whitpain and Lower Gwynedd
Headquartered in the Whitpain 1895 Public School, the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society serves to educate the public about the heritage and history of the people, institutions and events that have influenced and shaped the communities of the Wissahickon School District which encompasses Whitpain Township, Lower Gwynedd Township and the Borough of Ambler.
Please see our new video about the history of the Franklinville School, prepared by the Montgomery County Historical Society to encourage donations to the renovations there. WVHS appreciates the assistance of the MCHS!
To support the Franklinville School repair work, please click on Donate.
The Wissahickon Valley Historic Society has completed the first phase of its renovations to Whitpain Township’s Franklinville School, and the society is seeking donations for further work.
The 1858 Franklinville School is the only remaining one-room schoolhouse in the area that will be open to the public. Others have become private residences or have been torn down.
The school is located on Morris Road and was once part of the historic Normandy Farms.
The Franklinville School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its role, not only as a school, but as an early 20th-century community center. Thousands assembled there each summer for community picnics.
The start of the renovation project, which began earlier this year, included a new electrical panel, improved drainage, and waterproofing of the foundation.
Initial funding was obtained primarily through a $20,000 PA legislative grant, offered by the Keystone Communities Program, and made available through Representative Liz Hanbidge. Individual donors have also supported the project.
Several essential renovations are still planned for the school, including rewiring, a new roof, new HVAC, rebuilding the front and back porches, and painting, inside and out.
The work is important to ensuring the integrity of the structure and to making it accessible to visitors. When all the renovations are complete, the building, furnished as a 19th century, one-room classroom, will be used to educate students and the community about the history and customs of our area.
To complete the renovations, fund-raising continues. “We certainly appreciate every donation, large or small, and we will make sure each one is recognized publically,” said Joe Langella, WVHS vice president. “The contributions are important because we still have much costly work to do! In addition, when we preserve historic buildings, we enhance our neighborhoods.”
Donations of any size can be made online at www.wvalleyhs.org or by mail to WVHS, P.O. Box 96, Ambler, PA 19002.
The Wissahickon Valley Historical Society promotes and preserves the history of Ambler Borough, Whitpain Township, and Lower Gwynedd Township. Its headquarters and museum are located in Blue Bell at the historic 1895 Public School. The society welcomes new members.
Founded in 1975 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society’s purpose is to preserve the local historical buildings, artifacts and folklore of the historic Wissahickon Valley.
The Franklinville School c.1858 is a white stucco one-room schoolhouse on an acre of ground, located at 1701 Morris Road, Blue Bell, between Normandy Farms Estates and the Windermere Community. It is the only one-room schoolhouse open to the public in Whitpain Township.
The two-story schoolhouse has a Library containing deeds, wills, photos, books, maps and genealogies, a 19th Century School Room and a Museum of local artifacts, focusing on items, pictures and records from the early farms and our industrial past.
In this issue:
Although unofficial, a grant may be coming our way, Volunteers needed at fall street festivals, Meeting announcement: Monday, October 11th, Farewell to Yen Ho, history researcher and blogger, Flags commemorate September 11th, Open House on Sunday, Nov 7th
Read about WVHS board member Joe Langella’s research on his Lower Gwynedd home.
Unless otherwise noted, WVHS programs take place at the 1895 Public School, 799 W. Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422
**Please note, Market Day is not planned for 2021**
The Wissahickon Valley Historical Society’s
Pandemic 2020 Initiative
To help capture the extraordinary experiences of our community
during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society
is collecting stories and artifacts related to the pandemic of 2020. Images,
videos, diaries, poems, stories will all be accepted as part of the project.
For attachments and files, please email them directly to
or mail them to WVHS, P.O. Box 96, Ambler, Pa 19002
Pennsylvania’s Wissahickon Valley Region: A Story Worth Telling
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Wissahickon Valley Historical Society is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization