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5th Street School - Beaver Falls, PA

The 5th Street School, located near the intersection of 5th Street and Sixth Avenue, was built in 1882 to serve the primary school children of what is now the southern end of Beaver Falls, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. It was a solid brick two-story structure containing a total of eight classrooms. Attendance at the school dwindled over the next few decades as the local population slowly crept northward into the upper reaches of Beaver Falls.

In early 1936 four rooms of the school were provided to the sewing project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA – later renamed as Works Projects Administration), a nationwide New Deal program that provided sewing jobs to unemployed woman during the Great Depression. A host of local women were taught sewing techniques and manufactured clothes and other vital items for local hospitals and orphanages.

The school was closed by 1959. I have been told it was purchased – or at least utilized – as a Hebrew school by the neighboring Agudath Achim Synagogue. The synagogue was built back in 1912-1913 and was home to the Jewish Orthodox (and possibly Conservative) congregation in the area. The congregation relocated to Chippewa Township in 1960, but a small portion remained behind at the synagogue in Beaver Falls for a few years. Anyway, in late 1961, the former school was home to Duncan’s Trading Post, which sold kitchen remodeling supplies among other items. The synagogue was sold at some point and physically connected to the former school by an small addition.

Today, the school and synagogue, which are joined together, serve as the home of the Atlas Supply Company. With one look you can easily see the historic value of the former schoolhouse.


The old 5th Street School is pictured here. (c1972)


The school first opened in 1882 to serve the children of what is now the southern end of Beaver Falls. (2010)


The neighboring Agudath Achim Synagogue, now physically connected to the old school. (2010)


A closeup of the front of the old school, whose windows have long since been bricked over. (2010)


A closeup of the former front entrance of the 5th Street School. (2010)


A view of the rear of the former schoolhouse. (2010)


The Agudath Achim Synagogue at the corner of 5th Street & Sixth Avenue. You can see its still seperated from the school at this time. (c1955)


A modern day view of the old synagogue, now connected to the former school next door. The synagogue staircase has been removed as and most of the windows have been bricked up. Today both structures are in use as work/storage areas by the Atlas Supply Company, a contracting outfit specializing in kitchen remodeling. (Aug 2010)


Another view of the rear of the school. (2010)


Looking along the back of the former school. (2010)


A view of the former Agudath Achim Synagogue from Sixth Avenue, with the attached former schoolhouse barely visible in middle of photo. (2010)


Looking west along 5th Street. The former school is now home to the Atlas Supply Co., which specializes in making custom kitchen cabinets and countertops. (2010)

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Comment

  1. I ATTENDED THIS SCHOOL FROM 1947-1950.I LIVED ACCROSS THE STREET AT 622 5TH STREET.IT WAS A TWO STORY RED BRICK HOME BEHIND THE RAILTO THEATER.MY DAD WAS THE MANAGER THIS THEATER AND THE STATE THEATER ON 7TH AVE.IT WAS A WONDERFUL GROWING UP IN BEAVER FALLS AT THAT TIME IN MY LIFE.

    CHARLES COOK · 01/22/2014 05:12 PM · #

  2. I am Jewish and my family was a member of the synagogue. When the Jewish Community Center was built on Darlington Road, a few of the more religious people stayed in the 5th Street building for two or three years until a decision was made to sell the building. The religious school moved to Darlington Road. I do not recall any children that has classes at the old synagogue since the Rabbi did not work there after the new building was built. So I would have to say, unless I see evidence to the contrary, that there was never any physical connection of the 5th Street school and the synagogue while a Jewish congregation existed.

    Randall Tenor · 03/19/2014 11:58 PM · #