Submitted by KAREN GRUBE
The Moore Township Historical Commission held their monthly meeting on March 28 at the township municipal building. During the meeting, chairman and township supervisor Dick Gable announced that he received a notification from April Frantz, a National Register Reviewer, that the Edelman Schoolhouse was listed in the National Registry of Historical Places on March 22. The school was the only site accepted on March 22 from the state of Pennsylvania.
The Edelman Schoolhouse is a circa 1859 schoolhouse and is located at 145 Longley Road in Nazareth. The schoolhouse is surrounded by farm fields and remains a rural agricultural landscape.
To be considered eligible for the registry, the site must meet strict criteria. The building retains a foyer with original shelves used to store lunchboxes and a bench that children could sit on to take off coats and boots. The main classroom retains original flooring, wainscoting, woodwork and a milled wooden board ceiling. There is a raised platform reserved for the teacher and a teacher’s desk. This platform allowed for the teacher’s voice to carry throughout the classroom. The main classroom still retains the original slate chalkboard.
The work on the school that is finished is the cleaning and placement of salvaged matching bricks to fill in part of an outside wall. The wall was opened up for a door that allowed farm machinery to be placed in the building. The roof has been patched. Inside work included plaster restoration and sealing of woodwork. Thank you to commission members, volunteers and contractors for finishing these projects. The placement of the school on the historical register allows the commission to apply for grants that will finish future work. Remaining work includes painting of walls and trim, restoration of windows and shutters, and restoration of the front door.
On February 5, 1859, the schoolhouse property was gifted by John and Elizabeth Best Edelman for the sum of $1 to the Moore Township Common School District. The land consisted of 12 and ¾ perches, or over 0.75 acres.
The Edelman Schoolhouse offered an education to children ages 6 to 14. The school housed grades 1 to 8. At the end of eighth grade, children that passed a school exam went on to high school. Beginning with the 1951-1952 school year, only children in grades 1 to 6 were educated at the school.
It was the year 1958 when the Edelman Schoolhouse closed. Students were sent to the newly formed Moore Township Consolidated Elementary School near Klecknersville. The following year it was sold at auction to Walter and Goldie Sterner and John and Erma Serencises.
In 1997 the property and schoolhouse were sold to Fred Jaindl. Then in 2013, the estate of Fred Jaindl gifted the school to Moore Township for the sum of $1. Restoration of the schoolhouse together with supervisors and historical commission members was started in 2014.
School was never cancelled. Students walked to school in all kinds of weather. They brought lunch and drank water that was obtained with a bucket from a nearby farm and then stored the school’s stoneware water crock dispenser.
The school was heated with a coal burning potbelly stove. The original stove still survives and will be taken out of storage and placed in the school after restoration. There was no indoor plumbing, only an outhouse.
Only one teacher taught the students during a school year. The last teacher that taught at the Edelman Schoolhouse was Mr. John Bensing. Mr. Bensing and his family are well-known and longtime residents of Moore Township.
Mr. Bensing started his career in education after graduating from Nazareth High School. His first assignment was teaching at Christ Church/Little Moore One Room Schoolhouse. Then he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in teaching from East Stroudsburg. Later he was asked to accept a teaching position at Edelman Schoolhouse to replace Mrs. Katherine Day. After the closing of the school, Mr. Bensing continued his career in education with the Northampton School District.
Mr. Bensing enjoyed his time at the Edelman Schoolhouse. According to Mr. Pany’s news articles in The Home News, Mr. Bensing’s memories included the times he brought in cans of Cambell’s Soup for students to enjoy. Students that brought in their own spoon and cup could share in the soup that was heated on the potbelly stove. Mr. Bensing also remembered the Christmas plays that the students put on for their parents.
If you are able to make a donation towards continued restoration, please make your check payable to the Moore Township Edelman School at 2491 Community Drive, Bath or contact Charmaine Bartholomew, chairperson, at 610-759-7696.
Congratulations to commission members Charmaine Bartholomew, Helene Mery, Janet Kline, Vernell Meyers, Kim Silfies, Karen Grube, Robert Vasile, Arthur Edelman, Dan Tanczos and Richard Gable for a job well done.