Jul 16, 2023

Historic Coulter Schoolhouse relocates to East Broad Top Railroad

by: Aaron Marrie

Posted: Aug 10, 2023 / 04:15 PM EDT

Updated: Aug 10, 2023 / 05:29 PM EDT

HUNTINGDON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The historic Coulter Schoolhouse has moved to its new home in Rockhill Furnace.

On Aug. 10, the one-room schoolhouse moved for its second time to a new location, across from the Rockhill Trolley Museum and the East Broad Top Railroad.

The Coulter Schoolhouse was constructed in 1856 and served students in the Blairs Mills area until it closed in 1953. The building then sat empty until Southern Huntingdon County School District and community members partnered up to restore and relocate the building in 2003.

For 19 years, the building served as a museum on the Southern Huntingdon County High School’s campus in 2003 and allowed students to experience the classroom in the 1850s.

In 2022, the school district said they’d be relocating the schoolhouse again as they planned to build a new elementary school building. This is when East Broad Top Railroad stepped in and proposed that schoolhouse be moved to the borough of Rockhill Furnace, across from the historic Orbisonia train station.

“The members of the Southern Huntingdon County Education Foundation are very excited about the new partnership with the EBTop Foundation involving the Coulter One-Room School Museum. The new location beside the railroad station will provide visitors with an additional learning experience,” Lorraine Hamilton, Chairman of the Southern Huntingdon Education Foundation who manages the schoolhouse museum, said. “They will experience more of our cultural history and be immersed in an educational setting from Huntingdon County’s past. At the new site, the well-furnished Coulter School will be available to many more visitors beyond the Southern Huntingdon County school students and faculty, which will benefit both organizations.”

With the move completed, East Broad Top and the Southern Huntingdon Education Foundation will cooperate the schoolhouse in conjunction with the railroad’s field trip programs and events, including the popular PEANUTS™ Pumpkin Patch Express trains and Christmas in Coal Country experience. This will allow kids to write their letters to Santa inside the schoolhouse before sending them to the North Pole.

The schoolhouse will also continue to serve as a museum.

“The addition of the Coulter School is just one more piece of the already expansive historic fabric that makes the EBT so special,” East Broad Top Railroad General Manager Brad Esposito said. “It creates an unparalleled educational opportunity, allowing students to learn inside an authentic one-room schoolhouse, take a steam-powered train ride, ride a vintage electric trolley, and tour a belt-driven machine shop all in one field trip. The EBT Foundation is thrilled to work with our partners to continue the Coulter School’s legacy for years to come.”

The schoolhouse will be put on foundation on Friday, Aug. 11. Jonathan Smith with East Broad Top said the move only took about 30 minutes but it did take them about a day to prep to get it on the truck.

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