Preserving Upper Merion's Past To Enlighten Its Future
King of Prussia Historical Society

Our Mission
To preserve and interpret the history of Upper Merion Township, and to stimulate public interest and to support the township’s heritage through educational programs and public events focusing on preserving the past and shaping the future.
What We’re Doing
Monthly Events – Held at Christ Church (Old Swedes) Upper Merion.

Register of Historic Places – Help us to identify places in need of preservation.

Digital Archive Project – We are digitizing our collection of maps, aerial photos and more.

Latest News – See what’s going on.

Facebook Page – Join the conversation!
How You Can Help
Become a member or renew – join the fine group of people learning, preserving and educating, and receive quarterly issues of the King of Prussia Gazette – our newsletter.

Donate via Paypal – help us in our mission; receive a thank you gift of a print of a panoramic photograph of King of Prussia for donations at a certain level.

Amazon Smile – Amazon donates to us every time you make a purchase.

Donate items of historical interest.

Volunteer – opportunities to help out are available.

Join our mailing list
Learn More
E-History Facts – See a list of the facts posted weekly on Facebook.

Educational Resources – A detailed list of resources on Upper Merion History.

Books & Publications – Read about Upper Merion’s 300 year history.

Digital Archive – Old maps, aerial photos and other items of historical interest.

The Gazette – Our monthly newsletter which includes articles on our local history.


KING OF PRUSSIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY FACEBOOK PAGE

FRIDAY FACT: THE OLD GULF SCHOOL

Here is another fact about our schools courtesy of the Historical Society of Montgomery County (www.hsmcpa.org)

Thursday, 25 May 2017
The Old Gulf School
Written by Nancy Sullivan, Archivist

Here is a photograph that just came into the Historical Society of the old Gulf School. Yes, it is sometimes called the “Gulph” School, but the former spelling seems to have been more common in the early days.

I couldn’t find an exact date of its founding. I do know it was operating as a school as early as 1785 when future US Congressman Jonathan Roberts attended. Decades later, the school had a teacher who terrorized students with a whip, according to an article by Edward Hocker (a.k.a. Norris) in Times-Herald article from 1930. His tenure at the school came to end when he was arrested and later convicted for horse stealing.

Like most schools in the early nineteenth century, Upper Merion schools employed only men as teachers. According to Hocker, teachers made $20 per month in 1837. In the middle of the nineteenth century, women began to move into the profession. Here we see two female teachers with an 1891 class. The head teacher, on the right, was Anne Davis.

Today the building that once housed the school is the property of Gulph Christian Church. The church began in the school when Frederick Plummber began preaching there in 1830, according to M. Regina Stitler Supplee in her article “History of Gulph Christian Church, Gulph Mills, PA.” The church met there until 1835 when the congregation was able to build its own church.
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We have a brand-new TIMELINE OF UPPER MERION AND BRIDGEPORT SCHOOLS 1930-2020. Please help us fill in missing information and send us pictures!

Timeline is located under The History tab. www.kophistory.org/schoolTimeline.html

This is the timeline presented at our September 9 program, "History of Upper Merion Schools."
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FRIDAY FACT: FIRST SCHOOLS IN UPPER MERION

Early schools in Upper Merion were located in private homes. One of the first schools in Upper Merion was Gulph School, a stone building, founded in 1696.

The Old Camp School located on Mount Joy, was a little log school founded by Letitia Penn with a desire to educate her neighbors’ children. Reportedly established in 1705, the school was eventually replaced by a stone structure which still stands in Valley Forge Park. During the encampment, the Old Camp School, which had been founded by Letitia Penn, was used as a hospital and smithy.

In 1725, the Union School, first erected as a log house in Matthew Roberts’ woods, was replaced by a stone structure which also served as the Upper Merion Township Building. Advised by Rev. Samuel I. Silus in 1733 to cease tutoring their children at home, he urged the Swedes to erect a common school just outside the Old Swedes Churchyard in Swedesburg.

Isaac Supplee had the Flint Hill School erected on his farm in 1745 for the education of the Supplee children and their neighbors. His school was closed about 1805 and later demolished. During the Revolution, the Henry School, a small public school, was built in 1776 between Port Kennedy and Valley Forge, but it was abandoned in 1869. The Holstein or Centre School, built about 1814, was located on the lower side of the Bridgeport and King of Prussia Road. It closed in the late 1800’s.

Sometime before 1825, in a little room over a spring house in Gulph Mills, a Mrs. Sturgis ran a small school, the Sturgis School, for young ladies only.

Aptly named by the pupils, “Mud College” was a log school chinked with mud. Built primarily to educate the Hughes, Henderson, and Roberts children, it stood on the Roberts Farm at the corner of Gulph Road. After sending his older children away to school, wealthy George Nugent decided to educate his youngest children at home on his eighteen acre estate. In 1830, he built a magnificent two story stone structure, with four fireplaces in each room, and hired the Rev. George Shaw and family for the faculty of “Nugent College.” Lack of the hickory stick caused early dismissals and the closing for good ten years later.

In 1836, two years after the common school law was passed by the Commonwealth, Upper Merion Township had seven schools, seven male teachers, and 173 male and 112 female students.

To hear what happened next, join the King of Prussia Historical Society on Saturday, September 9th for "The History of Upper Merion Schools". The program begins at 2:00 pm at Christ Church (Old Swedes) Church Hall.
www.kophistory.org/september-program-history-of-upper-merion-schools/
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From the Digital Archive
Visit our collection of images, audio files and documents – new material will continue to be added.