In early 1922 the school districts of Shenango and Taylor Townships and South New Castle Borough in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, began discussing a jointure of some sort. A main goal of the jointure would be to erect to consolidated schoolhouse to accommodate students in the Sheep Hill district. South New Castle Borough soon pulled out of the discussions but Shenango and Taylor Townships went ahead with the plan. The two townships formed a jointure with L. M. Reed, the reigning president of the Shenango Township School Board, overseeing the new organization as President. W. H. Heile, the president of the Taylor Township School Board, was designated as Secretary.
A seven-acre plot of land, located at the northeast intersection of Bryson Mill Road and what later became the Martha Street Extension, was purchased from B. F. Butler for $3,500. Bids were accepted in June 1922 and a contract was soon awarded to Ellwood City contractor E. P. Workley for just over $23,000. The six-room school would be built on the east side of the Martha Street Extension, and be situated just inside the border of Shenango Township. The total cost of the new school was split with Shenango Township paying a sizeable 75% and Taylor Township the remaining 25%. The nearby schoolhouses of Sheep Hill in Taylor Township and Gaston in Shenango Township were also slated for closure at this time.
The two-story schoolhouse, known as the Shenango-Taylor Joint School or the “new” Sheep Hill School, opened for classes in September 1922. Five classrooms were occupied by 200 total students in grades 1-8. The first principal was Ruth Shaffer Hill (later Gillium) who also taught the upper grades (7 and 8 possibly). The other staff members included teachers Mary Hasely, Jesse Gold Reed, Katharyn Hunter, and Edna Kelly. Due to growth of the student population the sixth classroom was soon put in use and an addition to the building was made in later years. In September 1931 an additional fifty students were transferred to the school from other nearby areas.
I believe the school was closed in the summer of 1958 as the jointure between Shenango and Taylor Townships had previously been dissolved. The students from Shenango Township were transferred to the Shenango Township Consolidated School – and also to the new Shenango High School when it opened in September 1959. In July 1964 the Shenango Area School District was formed by the merger of the school districts of Shenango Township and South New Castle Borough. Two years prior to this Taylor Township was merged to establish a new entity known as the New Castle Area School District.
The students from Taylor Township were stuck in limbo as the district’s main school building, the West Pittsburg School, was damaged by a fire in August 1955, rebuilt and remodeled, and completely lost to a devastating blaze in February 1957. The joint school was temporarily reopened that fall for students from West Pittsburg, who had been attending various schools throughout the area. On Friday, February 13, 1959, a young student from West Pittsburg set a fire in the basement of the Shenango-Taylor Joint School as classes let out for the day. The small fire was extinguished before any serious damage was done. When the new West Pittsburg School opened in March 1959 the old Shenango-Taylor Joint School was closed once again.
The school and the seven-acre property was advertised for sale in March 1959 and sold off sometime soon after. The school was razed sometime in the mid-1960’s and today the site is a grassy lot just north of Route 422.
The Shenango-Taylor Joint School was opened on a seven-acre lot along the Martha Street Extension in September 1922. The six-room school was situated just inside the border of Shenango Township. The total cost of the new school was split with Shenango Township paying 75% of the total cost, with Taylor Township paying the remaining 25%. (c1930) Full Size
The Shenango-Taylor Joint School was located at the intersection of the Martha Street Extension and Bryson Mill Road. (Jun 1958)