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125th Birthday Party celebrates 1892 School Building in Kutztown

Party on Sept. 16 includes birthday cake, student performances, tours of building

By Craig Koller, Kutztown Area Historical Society

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Kutztown Area Historical Society is throwing a 125th birthday party for its 1892 Public School Building on Saturday, Sept. 16. The party starts at noon and ends at 4 p.m.

Students from Kutztown Area High School are a large part of the celebration. There will be instrumental and vocal performances by the high school music department. Students are also acting as docents, providing guided tours of the society’s museum, which is housed in the 1892 Public School Building.

“It’s a great way to teach our high school students about Kutztown’s history,” says society president Sheila Fulton. “It also gives them something fun to do. I’m really looking forward to their enthusiasm.”

The society’s model train display will also run during the celebration.

Bicentennial Park, the society’s garden, will host the musical performers (weather permitting). Its newest feature, the memorial walkway, is a highlight. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase engraved bricks to add to the already installed bricks in the walkway. Free hot dogs and birthday cake will be available to all, as long as supplies last. Some chairs will be available outside, but all are encouraged to bring their own chair to sit among the trees and enjoy the music.

Construction of the building began in July 1892, and was completed over a year later (at a cost of $17,600) with the first classes held in the fall of 1893. An elaborate dedication ceremony was held on Saturday, Oct. 1, 1893. The teachers for the first year of classes were Alice Hottenstein (grammar), Laura Gross (intermediate), Rosa Christ (secondary), and Annie Stein (primary). Their salaries ranged from $25 to $45 a month. The building was last used as a school on June 7, 1977. Dennis Boyer and John Tominosky, two of the teachers in the building on June 7, commemorated the date by signing and dating their autographs in the bell tower. The historical society purchased the building in 1979.

Schedule of events:

Noon – 4 p.m.: Tours of the building with KAHS students, including the train display

12:15 p.m.: Free hot dogs and bottled water (while they last)

12:30 p.m.: Instrumental performance by KAHS band members

1:30 p.m.: Birthday cake!

3:15 p.m.: Vocal performance by KAHS choir members