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Historical society wants to save Zullinger School

February 27, 2001

Historical society wants to save Zullinger School



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Waynesboro Historical SocietyZULLINGER, Pa. - Living up to its motto that architectural treasures are irreplaceable reminders of the past, the Waynesboro Historical Society has agreed to save an abandoned 90-year-old school building for posterity.

The 420-member society has acquired the former Zullinger School, a two-story colonial revival, rundown brick structure 1 1/2 miles west of Waynesboro, Pa., at the intersection of Pa. 16 and Wharf Road.

The property was transferred to the society by the Zullinger Community Association, which took over the building after the Waynesboro School District stopped holding classes there at the end of the 1961-62 school year.

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The community association used the building as a community center until its membership dropped off over the years and the school began to fall into disrepair, said Kay Hoffman, historical society president.

It was built in 1911 to replace one-room schoolhouses in Zullinger, Salem and Pleasant Hill, according to a history of the school by Jacqueline H. Barlup.

Four teachers taught two classes in each of the school's four large classrooms - two on the first floor and two on the second.

The building and its grounds are permeated with 20th century Zullinger history. The school's cast iron bell shadows a bronze plaque attached to a concrete base on the school grounds that carries the names of 110 men, including many Zullinger graduates, who served in the Armed Forces in World War II. Stars next to six of the names noted those killed in the conflict.

A granite monument in front of the building near Pa. 16 lists the names of more than a dozen people whose memories were honored by the planting of stately trees around the grounds. Only a few of the trees remain standing and most of those are near the end of their lifespans, Hoffman said.

James Smith, a member of the historical society's board of directors, said the bell eventually will be returned to the top of the school. That project, however, will sit on a back burner for some time. According to Smith's timetable, even the most basic work restoring the old building won't begin at least until the fall of 2002.

Estimates to restore the building run about $250,000. The society will apply for grants to cover half the cost and raise the rest through local fund-raising efforts, Smith said.

The building is basically sound, he said. The roof is OK, but the gutters and wooden box molding are in disrepair. Pigeons moved in a long time ago, finding easy entrance through broken windows.

Earlier this week Donald Detweiler, an Allentown, Pa., historic preservation consultant, toured the building with Smith to consider possible uses for it once it's restored. Detweiler, whose visit was financed through a $1,500 grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, will return for a second look before making recommendations to the society.

Another grant is in the works to hire a historic architect to check the building.

Possible uses after restoration could include leasing the building for professional or commercial offices or anything that will make it not only self-supporting, but income-producing, Smith said. Any profit would be used to buy and restore some other threatened landmark, Smith said. "It could be like a domino effect," he said.

The historical society, in addition to its main headquarters in the Oller House, a century-old Victorian at 138 W. Main St., also owns and maintains the historic Harbaugh Church and the Welty Bridge, a stone arch span over Antietam Creek south of Waynesboro.

On Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon, the historical society will meet to discuss options and explore possibilities for use of the Zullinger School. The public is invited.

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