The Whitpain Historical Society 1983 - 2015

The Founding of the Historical Society of Whitpain

The Historical Society of Whitpain (HSW) was formed in 1983 by a group of concerned, historic preservation-minded citizens with the goal of restoring the Franklinville School, a one room schoolhouse built in 1858. At that time the schoolhouse was owned by Peter Strassburger and was in deplorable condition from years of neglect. Peter was interested in historic preservation and was pleased the HSW was willing to restore the schoolhouse.

The HSW members raised funds by having attic sales, bake sales and plant sales. Several state grants were eventually awarded to the HSW. The members began working on restoring the schoolhouse and property. Members patched and painted the interior walls, washed and white-washed the exterior walls, repaired and painted the shutters, and renewed the windows by replacing the ropes and weights along with re-glazing and painting the windows. Electricity was installed and the porch floor boards were replaced.

In 1997, the developer of the property donated the schoolhouse to the HSW.

In 1998, the cedar wood shingle roof was replaced and a non-functioning pot belly stove was donated and placed in the center of the room surrounded by period student desks.  The interior floor boards were replaced in 2000.  The members also gathered historic photos and artifacts to be used as displays in the schoolhouse. The interior of the schoolhouse resembles a nineteenth century school.

The HSW meetings were originally held at members’ houses. As renovations progressed, meetings were held at the schoolhouse. In 1993 the HSW started leasing the Boxwood House from Whitpain Township. Meetings were held there until the HSW merged with the WVHS in January 2015.

The Franklinville School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 2014.

Thanks to the concern, ingenuity and work of the HSW members, the historic one room schoolhouse was saved. Since then the schoolhouse has been used as a museum of early education and open to the public.

Attic sales crew, 1983
Attic sales, May 1983
Boy Scouts making a path, August 1983
Installing electric lines, 1983
Work day, 1983
Wainscoting that could not be saved, 1984
Repairing plaster, 1984
Repairing the front porch, 1984
Replacing interior floorboards, 2000

Wissahickon Valley Historical Society is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization