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Hillsville Public Schools - Hillsville PA

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Hilltown or Hillsville, a village laid out in 1824, was served by several small schools over the years. The school shown above, which served the community in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, stood on Main Street across from the United Methodist Church (now on the grounds of the old cemetery). It was closed when the new two-story Mahoning Township Consolidated School opened in Hillsville in September 1929. (1912) (Photo courtesy of Chris Gregg)

This photo depicts Room #4 from the Hillsville School in the fall of 1917. (1917) Full Size

Room #6 of the Hillsville School pictured in October 1918. The teacher is R. F. Dicks. (1918)

The back of this photo is marked as “Room No. 1/2, First Year Primary, Oct 1918, Hillsville School, Morning School.” (1918)

This photo is marked with “Work Done by by (sic) No. 5, Hillsville School, April 27, 1921.” (1921) Full Size

Marked as “First Year Primary, Hillsville School, April 27, 1921.” (1921) Full Size

A fifth grade class from the Hillsville School in October 1923. The teacher is Miss Erma Perrine. (1923) Full Size

Fifth and sixth graders from the Hillsville School pictured on April 27, 1921. (1921) Full Size

This photo depicts an unknown class of older kids from the Hillsville School in 1927. (1927) Full Size

In late 1928 work commenced on building a large consolidated school on West Main Street in Hillsville. The site selected was a bit unusual as it was an old quarry. With the help of several limestone companies the pit was filled and twenty-five large pilings were driven into the ground to support the building. The new Mahoning Township Consolidated School, designed by the W. G. Eckles architectural firm and featuring twenty-one rooms, was opened for classes in September 1929. It was officially dedicated during a ceremony on Thursday, January 16, 1930, and initially served all grades. Overcrowding became an issue in the coming years. At some point – likely in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s – an arrangement saw students in grades 9-12 begin attending classes at Union High School. (1967) Full Size

When Mahoning Township joined the new Mohawk Area School District in July 1958 high schools students from Hillsville started attending classes in Bessemer. The building subsequently served as the Mohawk Elementary School at Hillsville. The school was closed in June 1983 when the modern Mohawk Elementary School was slated to open near Bessemer that coming fall. The vacant school was ravaged by fire (due to arson) on August 4, 1985, and was razed later that same year. The property was later sold to the C. D. Ambrosia Trucking Company. (c1975) Full Size

In early 2001 the C. D. Ambrosia Trucking Company came to an arrangement to allow the township to open a playground at the site. The park was named for Elizabeth Birdsell, a local fifth grader who organized the effort to see that the playground was built. (Apr 2014)

Soccer fields, part of the Mohawk Soccer Club’s under 10 teams, were later added to the park. (Apr 2014)

The modern day view of the walkway that once led to the front of the former school. (Apr 2014) Full Size



  1. Jeff,
    Didn’t the Hillsville consolidated building, which was grades 1 through 12 and then 1 through 6 when the Mohawk School District was formed, burn down?

    Greg Reynolds · 03/21/2014 10:18 AM · #

  2. (EDITOR’S NOTE) Greg, You are absolutely correct. The vacant school was severely damaged due to a raging fire on Sunday, August 4, 1985. The fire was apparently the result of an arsonist. The crumbled remains were cleared away beginning in late November 1985 – and the property was subsequently sold. Jeff

    Jeff Bales Jr · 08/24/2014 01:23 PM · #

  3. Jeff, Just a slight correction. High school students started attending Bessemer High School some time prior to 1951. I started 3rd grade at Hillsville Elementary in 1951 and the high school kids were being transported to Bessemer then. They would congregate on the main corner in Hillsville and a bus from the Hillsville-Lowellville bus company would pick them up. This was before the Mohawk merger.

    Bob Arena · 04/28/2017 10:40 AM · #

  4. Looking for any information on St Lucia Club in Hillsville, PA. I was there in 1982, thought it was in an old school basement. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Ed Ware · 08/24/2017 05:16 AM · #

  5. (EDITOR’S NOTE) Bob, the high school students you saw gathered were actually headed to Union High School. I am trying to narrow down when this exactly commenced. I found a few articles where the Union High principal would visit Hillsville and chat with 8th graders about what to expect the following year. In the fall of 1958, after Mahoning Township joined the new Mohawk Area School District, the high schoolers from Hillsville switched and started being sent to Bessemer. Jeff

    (EDITOR) Jeff Bales · 05/15/2018 02:15 AM · #

  6. Jeff,
    The Hillsville 9th through 12th grades attended Bessemer High School and not Union High in the 1940 to 1950’s period.

    Al Spizzo · 08/21/2018 09:47 PM · #

  7. Hi Jeff,

    I was wondering if there is any way to find a school picture of my father Joseph DiBernardo in the 8th grade or any other one when he was in school in Hillsville, Pa.

    Thank You,
    Toni DiBernardo

    Toni DiBernardo · 08/27/2018 08:39 AM · #

  8. I grew up in Bessemer and attended elementary school, jr high and High School. When I entered 7th grade in 1947 it was in the high school building. At that time Hillsville kids starting 9th grade were being bused to Bessemer to complete High School. When I entered 9th grade the class was made up of Bessemer and Hillsville kids. We graduated from Bessemer in 1954. This make up continued until Mohawk opened. I am unaware of any Hillsville kids ever attending Union High School. This is the true situation. I was there.

    Bob Donaldson · 08/13/2019 03:59 PM · #