This Was Hatboro-Horsham, 1959

A look back at Hatboro and Horsham, 53 years ago this week.

From the Public Spirit, Week of Feb. 5-11, 1959

Keith Junior High School opens in Horsham -

The Hatboro-Horsham Joint School System's bright and beautiful Keith Junior High School [now ] opened to 700 students Tuesday morning.

The large $2.4 million building, on Meetinghouse Road, is an educational wonder and a sharp contrast to the crowded conditions that faced the youngsters at Hatboro-Horsham High School on York Road. Seth Biemuller is principal.

In general, the building is rectangular with four major sections built around an open center courtyard. The students have been provided with maps to help them get around.

The building is of steel and brick construction on a concrete foundation. The interior is for the most part done in soft green and light brown with lots of windows designed for an airy atmosphere.

Each of the 25 regular classrooms is generously equipped with closets, blackboards and bulletin boards. The classrooms are grouped together in a two-story wing.

The rooms have sound-conditioned ceilings with speakers built into them. This innovation means that music can be piped into the rooms when classes are not in session (Monday, the teachers worked to the strains of "South Pacific"). Announcements can be broadcast from the office to all rooms, or to any single one. When the teacher is not in the room, he or she can pick up the sounds in the classroom by flipping a switch in the office.

Just across the courtyard from the classrooms is a special section containing the general and metal shops and the three-room home economics suite for food and clothing instruction. The cafeteria is not a room but simply widens from the corridor.

The gymnasium, where high school as well as junior high competitions are planned, is self contained and can be open to the public when the rest of the school is closed. The auditorium, with more than 1,000 seats and a vast stage and projection booth, occupies the section facing Meetinghouse road opposite the gym.

The library, administrative offices and conference rooms make up the connecting wing between the gym and auditorium. The health suite, part of this wing, contains soundproofed rooms, a bedroom, dressing booths and storage closets.

The playing fields adjoin the school on Upland Avenue.

Fire company condemns Loller Academy -

Historic , one of Montgomery County's first educational institutions, was officially condemned as being "unsafe" by the last week.

The action was taken at the company's monthly meeting upon the recommendation of Chief Mike Aiman and other officers of the Hatboro fire department.

The original academy, located on York Road north of the present Hatboro-Horsham High School, was founded in 1811 according to the will of Col. Robert Loller, Hatboro resident and Revolutionary War hero, educator and statesman. An addition was built late in the 19th century.

Most recently, junior high students attended sessions in the two-story building prior to this month's opening of Keith Junior High School in Horsham.

The academy was condemned for educational purposes and other public functions by the Fire Company because of its generally poor layout for escape in the event of fire. Among the specific reasons cited were the lack of fire doors at the top and bottom of the steps connecting the first and second floors, and the open wooden stairways.

Following inspections by the Fire Company officials and North American Life Insurance underwriters last fall, a number of corrections to reduce fire hazards were instituted by the school. While classes were in session, one student was assigned to patrol the halls and report to the main office upon the first sign of smoke or fire.

The academy was vacated early in 1956 when the overload of students at Hatboro-Horsham High School was alleviated with the opening of the . Shortly after, however, classes were again held in the Loller Academy building because of the lack of classroom facilities.

Editor's note - The Loller Academy building was restored and today houses Hatboro's borough hall.

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Firemen extinguish blaze at Naval Air Station -

Captain Lyman McAboy praised area volunteer fire companies that responded to a general alarm blaze at the early Friday morning.

Captain McAboy said that without the assistance of firefighting and emergency units, the blaze of undetermined origin, could easily have spread to nearby buildings, including a large hangar.

The flames broke out at about 12:27 a.m. Friday in the old operation building, virtually destroying it and its contents, primarily equipment used in training of reservists. Paul E. Swanson, petty officer third class, who was on roving patrol, noticed smoke pouring from the building and immediately notified the fire department and the duty section.

At approximately the same time, Sergeant John Donovan Jr., of the , who was driving past the station on Easton Road, noticed the fire and immediately radioed the Norristown Radio Center for police and fire companies in this area.

William Geissler, Naval Air Station fire chief, responded to the fire and also sounded the emergency call to neighboring fire companies. Ten companies with approximately 130 men responded with 18 pieces of equipment. The fire was brought under control at 3:30 a.m.

There were no casualties and only minor injuries. Horsham Fire Chief Edward Meyers suffered a foot injury. Several firemen became ill from overdoses of smoke and required respirator treatment.

Hatboro area industries to hold exhibit -

Hatboro area industries, many and varied, will parade their products for public inspection at an exhibition in the Hatboro-Horsham High School auditorium on March 24.

The affair, labeled the Great Hatboro Industrial Exhibit, is being held under the sponsorship of the Hatboro Rotary Club with the cooperation of the Greater Hatboro Manufacturers Association and the Industrial Management Club. It is a project of the Rotary Club's Vocational Service Committee.

The exhibition will run from late afternoon on Tuesday, March 24 until about noon the following day, when the displays will be dismantled. The exhibit will be open to all free of charge and there be will nothing on sale.

A similar, but much more abbreviated affair, was staged several years ago as a side attraction to a Town Meeting sponsored by the Rotary Club, and proved so popular that it was decided to elaborate on the idea this spring.

The aim of the Rotary Club's Vocational Service Committee is to bring to residents of this community a greater awareness of the magnitude of the industrial activity in Hatboro and its neighboring townships, and the ever-increasing importance of these firms in the economic scheme of things. Surveys have disclosed that relatively few residents realize how many products are made here, and how widespread is their distribution.

While a complete schedule has not been finalized, it is certain that there will be a program of entertainment running through the evening of the 24th. It is expected this will include musical interludes by local groups of singers and instrumentalists, and possibly motion pictures and demonstrations of the latest type of military equipment. These will be announced definitely later.

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Hatboro and Horsham Happenings -

Johnny Conley of Limekiln Pike, Horsham, who has been in a body cast for many weeks, has had part of the cast removed and will be able to part with it entirely very soon. Best wishes, Johnny, from the whole sixth grade.

Helen and Wa Cornell moved to their new home on Byberry Road, Hatboro, last week. It's real charming and colonial. Helen refinished every stick of the pine woodwork herself and still has enough elbow grease left to make draperies.

Susan Dunkle of McKean Road, Horsham, celebrated her 11th birthday with a dinner party on Friday.

Leroy Spencer, of Hatboro, is a student in the Health Education Curriculum at East Stroudsburg State Teachers College. He has been assigned to do his student teaching on two levels: Clearview Elementlary and Stroudburg Junior-Senior High School.

The PTA-sponsored dancing classes were held on Friday evening at the Prospectville School. Mrs. Charles Johnson was in charge of refreshments.

John Ruckdeshel of West Lehman Avenue and Robert A. Rudolph of Harding Avenue, both of Hatboro, were among 200 students who attended the third in a series of career forums on science, technology and engineering at Drexel University.

The Welsh Road group of the Needlework Guild met at the home of Mrs. Elwood Lauer, Cedar Hill Road, Horsham, on Wednesday.

Hatboro teenagers enjoyed a hay ride and party given in honor of Hugh Miller, son of Mrs. and Mrs. John Miller, who celebrated his birthday last week.

Brownie Troop 909, of Horsham, entertained Brownie Troop 47 last Wednesday with a party at its regular weekly meeting. Cathy Tabor gave a talk on a swinging basket that the girls made. Linda Garrett spoke about the turkey their troop gave to the North Penn Center at Christmastime.

The PTA of Pennypack Elementary School, Hatboro, will recognize Founder's Day at the monthly meeting Thursday in the school. Dr. Henry Daum, business manager of the Abington Township School District, will present the topic for the evening, "The Challenge of Federal Aid for Education."

John A. Massamilla, Hatboro realtor and insurer, attended the Fordham College alumni dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on Tuesday evening, Vice President Richard Nixon was the guest speaker. Many Fordham alumni from the Philadelphia area were present at the affair.

Tea Kay February 08, 2012 at 04:26 AM
A success story: the Loller Academy condemned in 1959, is a really unique Boro Hall in 2012...nice!
Arlene Hunsinger March 21, 2012 at 06:27 PM
The graduating Class of 1962 was the first to attend Keith Valley Jr. High School ( 50 years ago).


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