SCHOOLS & EDUCATION | Monroe County Historic Photo Album

The earliest school anyone could remember in Monroe County was on Keever’s Hill in Stroud Township, County Superintendent of Schools B.F. Morey reported in 1876. It was organized sometime before 1800 by Daniel Stroud, John Stroud, Mr. Hollinshead and others, and was later moved to Stroudsburg adjacent to the Friends' meeting house. The first teacher was a Mr. Curtis.

At Hamilton Square in Hamilton Township, a log structure, like the one in Stroudsburg, operated at about the same time. In Middle Smithfield, a school was organized by the Coolbaughs and Overfields in an old log dwelling. The first school house built in Chestnuthill Township was in a double house, with the German-born teacher and his family living on one half, and school in the other. In 1816, the first school in Pocono Township was organized in a spring house in Tannersville.

In the western part of the county, schools were taught entirely in German or, at best, in German and English. They were entirely supported by subscription.

The first schools essentially were one-room school houses operated largely by teachers with little or no formal training. That was changing by 1900.

The East Stroudsburg State Normal School opened on Sept. 4, 1893, with 320 pupils. Many of the first graduates were employed in Monroe County Schools. Prior to then, only seven “Normal” graduates were teaching in the county. By 1900, there were 46, nearly all from the East Stroudsburg school.

The Normal School was the third institution of higher learning in Monroe County. At the West End, the county had two academies: Fairview, founded in 1881, and the Polytechnic Institute in 1886 in Gilbert. They, too, contributed to the teacher pool, with Fairview providing 47 and Polytechnic 19 of the 151 teachers in Monroe County in 1900.
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 The Bell School in Cherry Valley south of Stroudsburg is now owned by the Monroe County Historical Association. It is open to the public every Sunday in July and August, and for group visits by appointment.
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