In March 1926, the citizens of Hickory Township in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, overwhelmingly voted in favor to raising $64,000 to build a large, consolidated schoolhouse in the town of Eastbrook (or East Brook) to replace several one-room wooden schools in the area. A construction low bid of $48,900 – plus another $11,000 for additional interior work to include plumbing and heating – was accepted on May 14, 1926, and work began soon after. The two-story brick school, designed as a high school, was to be built into a hill on the Eastbrook-Volant Road (Route 168) where it intersects the Eastbrook-Neshannock Falls Road.
The school opened in early 1927 with six classrooms on the bottom floor and two classrooms and an auditorium/gymnasium on the top floor. Students from the nearby schools of McDowell, Briar Hill, Moffatt, and the old schoolhouse in Eastbrook transferred to the new school building. The facade of the school was marked as the “EASTBROOK HIGH SCHOOL” but it served students of younger grades as well (at least for a short time). Several additional teachers were hired and Eastbrook’s high school curriculum, first organized back in 1901 with twenty-eight students, was now lengthened to a full four years.
According to a newspaper report the old bell from the now-closed Moffatt School, (built in 1909) was put in place atop the new school in October 1933. Looking at the photos of the school structure I don’t see an obvious place for a large bell, so perhaps it was placed inside or on the grounds somewhere.
In early 1955 the Hickory Township School District joined with new Laurel Area School District, which included the school districts of Slippery Rock Township and Scott Township. The schoolhouse at Eastbrook was soon designated as the Laurel High School, until the new Laurel Junior-Senior High School (built a few miles to the southeast on Route 108) was fully opened for students in grades 7-12 in early 1959.
Afterwards the Eastbrook building served as an elementary school for the Laurel School District, along with the Hickory Heights, Harlansburg, and Princeton Schools. In 1970 the school, designed to house a maximum of 240 kids, was overcrowded with close to 300 students in grades 1-6. A 1972 reorganization plan – assigning specific grades to individual schools – saw the Eastbrook Elementary School house only fifth and sixth graders from then on.
In 1976 all four of the elementary schools came under scrutiny from state inspectors due to violations of fire codes (mostly because of wooden second floors in three of the buildings). Later that year the school board decided to go ahead with plans to build a modern elementary school to replace and consolidate the four aging schoolhouses. When the new Laurel Elementary School, situated near the high school, opened its doors on December 13, 1978, the four older schools were finally closed soon after. The remaining contents of the Eastbrook School were sold at a public auction in late June 1979 and the building was sold sometime after this. In September 1983, after bring remodeled by new owners David J. Smith Sr. and Jr., and building was opened as the Eastbrook Apartments. It initially contained twenty-one apartments for rent. The facility was greatly expanded in the coming years and additional buildings were erected.
To read a short article about the county school board soliciting bids for the construction of the new Eastbrook School in April 1926 click on: TO TAKE BIDS ARTICLES. To read about the construction bid that was accepted in May 1926 click on: CONTRACT IS LET ARTICLE. To learn more about the work on the school almost being completed in October 1926 click on: WILL SOON BE READY ARTICLE. To read a lengthy article about the history of schools in Eastbrook click on: REMINISCENCES ARTICLE.
Construction of the eight-classroom Eastbrook High School commenced in May 1926 after the citizens of Hickory Township voted to raise $64,000 to fund it. When the school was opened in early 1927 several one-room schoolhouses were closed as a result. (1951) Full Size
Artist’s rendering of the Eastbrook High School, which primarily served as a high school but also was home to younger students. Full Size
The façade of the old school. (Nov 2010)
The consolidated Eastbrook High School, which opened for classes in early 1927, is pictured here in about 1950. The school is marked as Eastbrook High School but housed students of all grades for at least several years.
The faculty of the Eastbrook High School, led by supervising principal Ralph Watson, from the 1951-52 school year. (1951) Full Size
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter in Eastbrook was chartered in September 1938. This group is from 1949-1950 and was advised by teacher Howard Fox (far right). (1949) Full Size
The 1950-51 varsity basketball team. Head coach and science teacher Glenn Matthews is kneeling on left with his assistant and high school senior John Hanna.
The junior high team from 1950-51 with coach Matthews on top right.
Senior cheerleaders Shirley Patterson and Sally Downing from the 1950-51 school year.
The junior cheerleaders of the 1950-51 school year – from left its Joan Pearson, Joyce Campbell, and Erla Fennick.
The Eastbrook High School graduates who received their diplomas in May 1951. Full Size
The small Eastbrook High Band from the 1951-52 school year. Full Size
The Mixed Chorus musical group from the 1951-52 school year. Full Size
High school boys pose proudly in late 1951.
High School girls from the 1951-52 school year.
The boys varsity basketball team from early 1952. They finished with a record of 7-7 while competing against teams from Wampum, Bessemer, Shenango, Darlington, Union Township, New Wilmington, and Mount Jackson. This squad was led by senior forward Clyde Cummins (standing 2nd from left end next to coach Matthews), who won the Section 20 scoring title while tallying 330 total points. Cummins averaged 26.4 PPG and set an Eastbrook High record by scoring 45 points in a single game. (1952) Full Size
The Junior-Senior Prom of 1951 was held at the Ellwood City Country Club on May 23, 1951. Senior Gerald “Jerry” Patterson served as the toastmaster. Full Size
The side of the school building. (1952) Full Size
The sign in front of the former school building. (Nov 2010)
Looking east along Route 168 into the town of Eastbrook. (Nov 2010)