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Ewing Park School - Ellwood City, PA

By 1917, the Shelby Tube Company of the powerful U.S. Steel Company, the parent corporation of the National Tube Company (simply known as the “Tube Mill”) in Ellwood City, had decided to build a new residential area for its Tube Mill employees to help alleviate a housing shortage problem. In June 1918 the Shelby Land Company formally purchased the Jordan Johnson farm across the Connoquenessing Creek from the Tube Mill along the Portersville Road (Route 488).

The farmland became known as the Shelby Land Company’s Plan, but was more popularly known as Wayne Park. Back in about 1909 the company had already built a popular baseball diamond in the area known as Shelby Field. To gain access to Wayne Park, which was located across the steep gorge of the Connoquenessing Creek, the company constructed a toll bridge that opened in early September 1919. The area was soon renamed as Ewing Park in honor of a National Tube Company executive and attorney (Thomas Ewing) who worked diligently on the founding of the new settlement.

Soon after the opening of the (Ewing Park) bridge the new homes, maybe numbering about seventy-five, were sold off to employees of the company. Before long a new two-room wooden schoolhouse, located at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Joffre Street, opened on August 30, 1920, with about 100 students up to the 8th grade. The school was then part of the Wayne Township School District, but in mid-1924 fell under the auspices of the newly-established independent Ewing Park School District. Ewing Park also became a borough of its own.

In 1924, as the student population of Ewing Park increased, the Shelby Land Company deeded a triangular lot of property along Wood Street (between Adams Avenue and Beatty Street) for the building of a new school. The new two-story brick structure, known as the Ewing Park School, was opened in late 1926. It contained a full basement and eight total classrooms. It served students up to the eighth grade, and those continuing their education did so at Lincoln High School in the Ellwood City School District.

On March 29, 1929, after a lengthy period of debate, the Borough of Ewing Park was annexed (from Wayne Township) and incorporated as the Fifth Ward of Ellwood City. The Ewing Park School District was also soon incorporated into the Ellwood City School District. The school house was later renamed as the Ewing Park Elementary School and served grades one through six. In August 1930, the Shelby Land Company also deeded forty-five acres of property in Ewing Park to the Borough of Ellwood City to form a community park – also known as Ewing Park – that now contains a swimming pool, baseball fields, football stadium, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, and nature trails.

After the annexation the Ewing Park Elementary School remained in operation for another four plus decades until it was closed in 1975. This was due to several factors, including a budget crisis and decreased enrollment. The closing of the nearby National Tube Company in January 1975, and the economic downturn it brought, also factored into the decision. Rumors had abounded for several months about the reorganization of the Ellwood City School District. On Monday, June 30, 1975, the school board voted to shutter the Ewing Park School and the nearby Ellport School in what was deemed a cost-cutting measure. The school board indicated that the closures were not necessarily permanent and both schools could possibly be reopened if conditions warranted such a move. In the fall of 1975 the majority of elementary level students from Ewing Park (numbering about sixty) started attending classes at Hartman Elementary School, while a few from the northern reaches of Ewing Park transferred to Walnut Ridge Elementary School.

The Ewing Park Elementary School was soon reopened as a necessity due to renovations at the Wampum Elementary School and later to provide classrooms during the construction of the new Hartman Elementary School. It closed for good in mid-1993 and afterwards was used as a storage facility by the school district. The large property surrounding the school continued to be used as practice fields by various sports teams over the years. In June 2011, after several years of debate regarding its future, it was decided to demolish the aging structure after a suitable buyer could not be found. The demolition began on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, and was completed about two months later. The borough will now try to sell the property without the school – whose existence came to a sad end.


The eight-room Ewing Park School was opened in late 1926 and served the local communty of Ewing Park until it was finally closed for good in 1993. The ivy-covered building is pictured here c1935.Full Size



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Comment

  1. This is where I went to kindergarden in 1958. My teacher we Miss Nest.

    Kathy Slater Whittington · 02/28/2014 12:29 PM · #

  2. I lived in Ewing Park until I was 5. I started out at Hartman School, moved to Ellport and went to school there for 3 years before moving back to Ewing Park. Ellport School is gone but at least the building still exists. Growing up, Ewing Park School was an important part of that neighborhood. It is so sad that it no longer exists. I attended the school for 2 years. I had Mr. Douds for 5th grade and Miss Loss for 6th grade. That would have been 1961 to 1963.

    Debbie Crawford Lordo · 10/08/2016 01:35 PM · #