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CFES History

The author acknowledges with appreciation permission of James Wyeth to use the pen and ink sketch of the original school done by him when he was a student at the school, and for the materials and photographs contributed by teachers, former students and by parents of students.


On September 20, 1975, approximately seven hundred men and women, mostly onetime students at the Chadds Ford Elementary School, met to celebrate the Fiftieth year of the school. There was much reminiscing and many pleasant recollections; and out of this evening grew the idea that it would be a useful undertaking to set down in book form a history of schooling in this area, from the days of the one-room school house to present day. Because of my many years within the school system, I was entrusted with this task, and what follows then is, to the best of my ability, an account of the facts which I have been able to gather together.

Mary W. McMullan


Early Schools

Consolidation Planning

Chadds Ford Consolidated School

May Day

Chadds Ford Consolidated Fiftieth School Reunion

Early Schools

The Chadds Ford Consolidated School District is comprised of three townships; Birmingham, Chester County; Birmingham, Delaware County; and Pennsbury, Chester County. At the time consolidation took place, eight one-room rural schools, each containing eight grades, were brought together in one building.

Little has been recorded concerning these schools, but it is apparent that they were important institutions in the rural communities in which they were located.

One of the very early schools in Upper Birmingham, Chester County, was adjacent to Birmingham Meeting House. The ground for this school was secured from Charles Turner on May 20, 1756, and consisted of a half acre. It was near the stone horse block, sometimes called the "side-saddle steps"; and it was in this building that John Forsythe was conducting classes on the first day of the Battle of the Brandywine in 1777.

This property was leased for a period of 999 years, and the terms of the lease called for the "Yeilding & Paying therefore for the first year the sum of one pound lawful money of Pennsylvania on the sixteenth Day of November next Ensuing the date hereof & from thence Yeilding and Paying Yearly during the sd Term unto the sd Charles Turner, his Heirs and assigns, the Yearly Rent or Consideration of one Ear of Indian Corn, i.e. if Demanded, at or upon the Term of Payment aforesd."(Two Hundred Fifty Years of Quakerism at Birmingham, p.77.)

Its most outstanding teacher was John Forsythe who came from Ireland and later was the first principal at Westtown School. The average number of pupils in Forsythe's time was about twenty, nearly all whom were boys. It was not thought worthwhile to educate girls in those days except in household matters. The scholars often came from a distance of four or five miles, as there were no other schools within a convenient distance. The master lived on what has been since known as the Jesse Seal Farm where he worked mornings and evenings and often during the noon recess.

Ennion Cook taught in this school following John Forsythe in 1799. Besides teaching he had a few boarders, conducted a farm, was a sexton at the graveyard and was also a poet. Some historical facts are of note. For boarding the boys, Cook charged only one dollar and a half a week, and for schooling two dollars a quarter with extra charges for quills at two cents a half dozen and firewood at five cents a week.

In the case of one of his boarders, James Howell, who was a pupil for about eighteen weeks with a sad ending, a bill was presented to his father for fifty cents paid Dr. Jacob Ehrenzeler for consultation and visit, and cash paid Isaac Weaver for a coffin six dollars for medicine and attendance.

For John Bettle's son, Samuel, there was a charge of five dollars to the shoemaker, twenty-five cents for a slate, one dollar for a Bible, thirty-five cents for a knife, seventy-five cents for an English Reader and thirty cents for a pair of suspenders.

In 1817 the price of schooling was raised from ten dollars a year to twelve dollars. The enrollment at this time was very large; often sixty scholars were in attendance.

In 1819 the members built the present eight square school. The arguments in favor of this type of construction seem to have been that it was cheaper because not so much stone was needed, that it was easier to keep the whole room at a more even temperature, and that discipline was easier to maintain because the children had their backs to the teacher and so never knew when she was watching them. The desks were placed against the walls and benches, without backs for the smaller pupils, occupied the middle of the room.

Birmingham School, also known as Harmony Hall, was not in use as a school at the time of the consolidation, but it is still used for First Day School and as a township polling place.

In 1856 a school known at various times as Oak Hill, Mather School and Painter School was built on the Mather Farm just off Street Road. It was closed because of small enrollment before the consolidation.

Two schools were in operation in Birmingham township at the time of consolidation. They were Dilworthtown School, which was built in 1885 and was located near Dilworthtown on School House Lane; and Brinton's Bridge or Sunny Side School, which was built in 1903 and was located at the intersection of Brinton's Bridge Road and Route 100. Dilworthtown School was demolished, but Brinton's Bridge School is now in use as a dwelling.

Elizabeth Clark Tanguy, a teacher at Brinton's Bridge School in Birmingham Township, Chester County, for three years beginning September, 1920, describes Brinton's Bridge School:

The building was of brick construction, entered by way of a front porch on which a hand water pump supplied water for drinking, cleaning or whatever was needed.

On either side of the door were cloak rooms-one for girls and the other for boys. Beyond these was the main room where single desks were located. In the left corner was the heater, near the door which led to the cellar where coal and wood were stored.

An aisle in the center led directly to the front of the room; there was also an aisle on each side. The Desks were of various sizes to suit the needs of different age groups from first to eighth grades, inclusive. All subjects were taught in each grade. A small ink well was in each desk and a groove along the top to hold a pen and pencil. In the front of the room was a long bench where the students were called and seated while reciting their lessons.

A platform about four inches high was across the front, and on the wall was a blackboard with a ledge to hold the chalk and erasers. The teacher's desk was in the center of the platform, and at each end were closets; one held study books and the other supplies such as paper, pencils, etc. A small folding organ was in the front near the platform. There was no electricity, but instead a kerosene lamp with a globe hung from the center of the ceiling and was used for evening affairs such as Hallowe'en parties or entertainments.

Three windows on each side of the building gave plenty of light and sunshine. Two outside toilets took care of personal needs. There was ground for a nice playground.

"At one time, I had forty-two students, took care of janitor work and one year also served hot lunches," quoted Mrs. Tanguy.

The first school house in Birmingham, Delaware County, was built on a lot conveyed by John Burgess, April 30, 1806, "for the use of a school, but for no other purpose whatever." (History of Delaware County) Burgess reserved the timber growing on the lot. A stone school house was built, the cost of which was defrayed by the neighboring residents. The building was located in the southeastern part of the township and was known for many years as Mount Racket.

In 1825 Eli Harvey gave the use of an old hipped roof house, supposedly built before the Revolution, for school purposes. In addition to the free use of this house, Mr. Harvey also furnished firewood grates.

About 1826 Joseph Russell lived at the Baptist Church and taught school in the shed adjoining his dwelling. He also taught in the Chad's Spring House, then owned by Haddock, at the village. This was used after the school law went into effect.

Records show that individuals conducted various schools during the early 1800's. Milcena Gilpin taught a subscripton school in a dwelling house near the old Butcher Mill, and then there is mention made of the Frame School near Squire Frame's, and the Bullock School House. These buildings, after the school law was accepted, became the property of the township which, at this time, was divided into three districts and employed three teachers. The teachers employed received salaries from forty to fifty dollars a month for the nine-month term.

At the time of consolidation there were three schools in operation: namely Gilpin or Harvey, Chadds Ford and Kaolin.

From a clipping dated May 14, 1894, we learn that the public schools in Pennsbury township, Chester County, will open the season at Birmingham Park on Saturday, when "all the directors, teachers, pupils and patrons who can will leave their toil and hie to the banks of the Brandywine for one day of solid enjoyment. (Historical Clipping) Four schools were embraced in the district; Parkersville, Miss Baily teacher; Central, Miss Smith teacher; Hickory Hill, Miss Miller teacher; and Brandywine, J. Slater teacher. The directors were John E. Huey, Milton Mendenhall, J. Walter Parker, Eli Seal, Nathan Lancaster and J. M. Shaffner.

The original Parkersville School which was built in 1820 or 1827 by John J. Parker on land belonging to him and by his own hands, for he was a mason, was an octagonal school. The school also served as a meeting house until the Parkersville Meeting House was built. We are told that while the teachers were appointed by the Friends, the township paid them, an arrangement which caused trouble. The township directors thought that if they had to pay the teachers, they should have some choice in their selection. The township built a school at Parkersville in 1860 across the road from the meeting house. It was a two-story building costing three hundred and fifty dollars. This school is being used as a dwelling and was in operation at the time of the consolidation.

Central School, No. 2, located on Route 1 near Chadds Ford, was built in 1848 and cost three hundred eighty-five dollars. It was built of brick and sold to be used for a dwelling after the consolidation.

One of the last teachers at Central School was Grace Harper Taylor. Mrs. Taylor was the mother of David, Fred, Walter, Ruth, Mary, and Richard, all of whom attended Chadds Ford School. David was a member of the first First Grade class at the school. Mrs. Taylor drove a horse to school and had to drive to Parkersville to the school directors to get her pay check. Many of her pupils enjoyed riding to school with her.

Hickory Hill School, No.3, near Fairville, was built in 1858. This school took the place of the Stone School House (so called) near Pennsville built before 1836 on the land of Elwood Mendenhall. Hickory Hill School was also sold for a dwelling after the consolidation.

Cossart or Brandywine School, No.4, was built in 1858. It was closed on February 2, 1920, and the children transported to Central School. Emma Eckberg Fell was also a teacher at this school. Her children later attended the Chadds Ford Consolidated School. Her oldest son, Edward, was a member of the first class at the school, and David served on the 50th Anniversary-Reunion Committee.

Consolidation Planning

The record books show that consolidation was considered as early as October 1916 when County Superintendent Thomas A. Bock presented to the Birmingham, Chester County, school board figures to show that a Consolidated Vocational School established by the townships of Pocopson, Pennsbury, Birmingham and part of East Bradford costing $27,000 could be run and the debt paid off in twenty years by a three-quarter mill advance in tax rate. A Consolidated Vocational School and High School costing $50,000 could be built and the debt paid off in twenty years by a mill and a half additional tax. The location of the school was to be either at Lenape or Chadds Ford. This board favored the Chadds Ford location.

A special meeting of the townships interested in the proposed consolidation met a Lenape at the home of Mrs. Lloyd on March 28, 1917. No action was taken by the individual boards at this time as Pocopson township was considering joining a proposed consolidation at Unionville.

On June 30, 1917, a meeting of the School Boards of Birmingham township, Chester County; Birmingham township, Delaware County; and Pennsbury township, Chester County was held in Chadds Ford. The purpose of this meeting was to choose a committee of three who would be directed to select potential sites for the proposed Vocational High School. Dr. William W. Betts of Birmingham, Delaware County; Sellers Hoffman, Birmingham, Chester County; and Edward Darlington, Pennsbury township were the three men chosen.

July 28, 1917, the School Boards met in the Dilworthtown School. At this meeting Sellers Hoffman was elected president; Edward Darlington, secretary; Dr. William W. Betts, treasurer; and James A. Kirkpatrick, vice president.

The following Articles of Agreement were made and entered into on this 28th day of July, 1917.

"ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT made and entered into this 28th day of July in the year of our Lord, One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventeen, by and between the School District of the Township of Birmingham and the School District of the Township of Pennsbury in Chester Co., Pennsylvania

Witnesseth, That the School Directors of the aforesaid School Districts are desirous of establishing, constructing, equipping, and furnishing a Joint Consolidated and Vocational School Building, as is provided by the School Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and

"WHEREAS At a separate meeting of the Directors of the aforesaid School Districts, here-to-fore held, it was decided by an unanimous affirmative vote of a majority of the said Directors, to unite in establishing, and maintaining a Joint Consolidated and Vocational School for the purpose aforesaid, as is provided by the School Code of the State of Pennsylvania, and

"WHEREAS It is now deemed advisable by the School Directors of the aforesaid State Bureau of the Department of Public Instruction, under which State aid is granted School Districts, establishing Joint Consolidated and Vocational Schools and to maintain a Joint Consolidated and Vocational Schools; according to the laws of the State of Pennsylvania, and

"NOW THEREFORE IT IS MUTUALLY AGREED; by and between the aforesaid School Districts as follows:

That a Joint Consolidated and Vocational School, to be known as THE CHADDS FORD CONSOLIDATED AND VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL, be and the same is hereby established, and to be maintained by the aforesaid School Districts, in the manner and upon the following terms:

"Said school shall be maintained in a building hereafter to be erected in such location as shall be determined upon by the Joint Board of School Directors; provided however, it shall be located in Chester County,

"ALL COSTS attending the erection of the building and the land upon which it is erected, together with the expense of equipment, shall be borne by the aforsaid School Districts in proportion to the assessed valuation of the property in said Districts for the year 1917.

The title to any real estate acquired for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the above mentioned Joint Consolidated and Vocational School, shall be held in the name of the aforesaid School Districts, parties to this agreement.

"ALL COSTS of maintenance of said Joint Consolidated and Vocational School shall be divided between the aforesaid School Districts pro-rata, that is, in proportion to the number of pupils in attendance at the said Joint Consolidated and Vocational School from each of the said School Districts during the current year.

"That this agreement shall remain in force until terminated by mutual consent of the aforesaid School Districts.

"That the affairs of the said Joint Consolidated and Vocational School shall be administered by the Joint Board of School Directors, six members of the joint board constituting a quorum for the transaction of all business not specifically enumerated in section 403 of the school laws of Pennsylvania.

"That such items of detail of administration not covered specifically by this contract may be embodied in a supplementary agreement if desired by the parties thereto.

IN " WITNESS WHEREOF the parties hereto have caused these presents to be signed in the names of the respective Secretaries and Confirmed by the individual signatires of the remaining members of each of said Boards, the day and year first above written."

Signed as follows:

School District of BirminghamTwp.'

Chester Co.

By Sellers Hoffman, President


Walter J. Dilworth, Secretary

School District of Pennsbury Twp.

By Elmer E. McFadden, President pro.tem.


Alice T. Pyle, Secretary

School District of Birmingham Twp.,

Delaware Co.

By Jos. P. Rogers, President


Howard E. Seal, Secretary

M.L. Ross

Members of School Board

Birmingham Twp., Chester Co.

Edward Darlington

Members of School Board

Wm. H. Moore

Pennsbury Township

James A. Kirkpatrick

Members of School Board

H.P. Faucett

Birmingham Twp., Delaware Co.

Wm. W. Betts

The committee on purchasing a site for the school gave the following report on September 24, 1917, which was accepted. They selected a site on the property of Mr. S.C. Walker facing on the public highway known as Route 131, and extending back to Philadelphia and Reading railroad and to the property line of Samuel Forsythe. This site contained twelve acres of land.

The executive Committee reported at the meeting held on June 27, 1918, that they have employed an architect, Mr. Verus T. Ritter and that plans had been offered and endorsed by Mr. P.S. DuPont, who was interested in giving financial aid to this project. At a meeting held a month later, it was agreed to postpone the building of the school until conditions permitted. No further meetings were held until June 1919.

The public election held in September, 1919, to authorize the issue of bonds for the new school was favorable. During the next three years, many meeting were held and plans were made with Mr. DuPont to donate $50,000 through his Chester County Auxiliary Association provided the districts would contribute $42,000. Also during this period it was necessary to get a new deed as the original one had been lost. The deed recorded on December 2, 1922 by S.C. Walker contained ten acres of land. The boards agreed to have their share of school costs on deposit January 1, 1923. The plans for the proposed school were approved by the State Department of Education, The Delaware School Auxiliary Association and the School Board and dated March 17, 1923.

"Low Bids Received April 25, 1923, for the building of Chadds Ford Consolidated School were:

  • General Contract (Wm. J. Elliot) - $ 93,820.00
  • Pluming Contract (J.D. Scott) - 3,510.00
  • Heating Contract (Am. Heating & Ventlg. Co.) - 7,861.00
  • Electric Contract (Carl B. Shearer) - 1,151.60
  • Sewage Disposal - 918.13
  • Water System - 2,579.80
  • Drilling Water - 480.00
  • Lighting Fixtures - 500.00
  • Sub total - $110,820.53
  • 3 Busses - $7,500.00
  • Fees - 7,000.00
  • Driveway - 1,605.00
  • Bridge - 1,500.00
  • Pole Line - 300.00
  • Educational Equipment - 1,000.00
  • Sub total - 18,905.00

Total Expenditure Required - $129,725.53

(Minutes Book I,p.70)

These bids were in excess of the proposed expenditure of $92,000 but were finally accepted at a meeting held on March 24, 1924.

During the years of planning, meetings were held in Dilworthtown School, Gallagher's Hall, Chadds Ford School and the homes of Mr. T. L. Baldwin, Dr. William W. Betts and Mr. A.P. Irwin.

The following school directors served during these years:

Birmingham, Chester County

  • Sellers Hoffman
  • John Sager
  • Rev. M.S. Ross
  • Benjamin Hopkins
  • J. Percy Barnett
  • Mary Morris
  • Charles Tanguey
  • Sarah Sheffield
  • W.J. Dilworth
  • Emlen Faucett

Birmingham, Delaware County

  • Joseph P. Rodgers
  • James A. Kirkpatrick
  • Howard E. Seal
  • Harry P. Faucett
  • Dr. William W. Betts

Pennsbury, Chester County

  • Elmer E. McFadden
  • William H. Moore
  • Edward Darlington
  • Alice T. Pyle
  • Nelson W. Martin
  • Etta P. Carville
  • S.C. Walker
  • M. Emma Webb
  • Benjamin Showalter
  • Seth Rigby
  • Harold Tattersall

It was decided in February, 1925, to open the new school in September with a Junior High School. The school was to open with the six-three plan, and a suitable colored teacher was to be employed to teach the colored pupils of the first six grades. Consideration would be given at a later date to adding more high school grades. The first year only sewing was to be taught in Domestic Science, and it was agreed not to have an Agriculture teacher. At the suggestion of the County Superintendent, the board changed the name of the school to the Chadds Ford Consolidated School.


On April 2, 1925, Webster C. Herzog was employed as a supervising principal for the ensuing year at a salary of $2200 for the year of twelve months.

On June 27, 1925, the school board instructed the secretary to write to the State Board of Education and make application for permission to open the new consolidated school on Monday, August 31, 1925.

The following teachers were elected to serve on the first faculty:

  • First Grade - Miss Grace Mattson
  • Second Grade - Miss Dorothy Lumis
  • Third Grade - Miss Rose Donovan
  • Fourth & Fifth Grades - Miss Dorothy Barnett
  • Sixth Grade - Mrs. Lillie Wicks
  • Union Room - Miss Helen Lewis
  • Home Economics - Miss Esther Cherry
  • English and History - Miss Katharine E. Warren
  • Music Supervisor - J. Myron Jolls (for two days a week)
  • Latin and Mathematics - Miss Elizabeth Holloway

The Home and School League of Chadds Ford was organized October 29, 1925. Mrs. Milton Mendenhall presided at the first meeting, and the following officers were elected: Dr. William W. Betts, Vice President-Mr. W. C. Herzof, Secretary-Mrs. Norris E. Shaffner, Treasurer-Mr. Hugh E. Steel. The meeting date was set as the second Friday in each month.

The League immediately became a united working body and under the suggestions of the school principal, endeavored to provide some necessities for the school. One of the first projects was a library. Approximately one hundred volumes were given by patrons of the school, and money was secured to purchase one hundred fifty books including "The World Book", "The New Century Book of Facts" and "Junior Classics", The Dewey Decimal System was used in classifying and shelving the books. Much credit for the formation of this library was due to the untiring efforts of Katherine Warren Faucett who was a devoted teacher and friend of the students.

A Minstrel Show was given under the auspices of the League, and the proceeds were used to purchase a sectional bookcase. Library supplies such as files, stamps, etc., were also provided.

The Mother's Club, an auxiliary to the Home and School League provided many things. It was interested in the hot lunch program and gave eight-six dollars toward expenses. It also sponsored plays, an Indoor Circus, and bakes to raise money for books, bookcases, mirrors, forks and congoleum.

The enrollment in the school in January, 1926, was recorded as follows: Pennsbury Township-104; Birmingham, Chester County-48; and Birmingham, Delaware County-112 pupils.

In April, 1927, the board approved the election of a shopwork, drawing and science teacher. The principal was instructed to receive estimates for temporary buildings in which to play basketball until such time when, in the near future, the school would build a gymnasium. The gymnasium was never built.

In June, 1928, serious thought and planning were given to enlarging the school. It was felt that because of the increased enrollment an addition of eight rooms at a cost of approximately $80,000 was advisable. The new addition would provide for the eleventh and twelfth grades and relieve the overcrowded conditions existing in the other rooms. The board tried, without success, to obtain financial aid from P.S. DuPont.


While Mr. Herzog was principal he coached the baseball and the basketball teams. The players in winter, shoveled the snow

off the basketball court in order to practice. This exercise was conducive to the development of team work.

During 1931, the board passed a motion that Mr. Herzog notify all single teachers that "their contracts would be continued for another term unless they contracted marriage during the coming year."

The school enrollment had increased to three hundred seventy-nine pupils by September, 1931. The board, at this time, considered the hiring of a school nurse for two days each week. The first nurse was not employed until 1942. This year the school purchased its first radio.

In April, 1933, as a result of the depression, the teachers' salaries were reduced to the minimum of ninety dollars a month for nine months for the elementary teachers and one hundred twenty-two dollars a month for the Junior High Teachers. The minimum rate of salary was in effect for eight years.

In August, 1934, the school district faced the problem of obtaining a new principal. Mr. Herzog had been appointed Assistant Superintendent of Schools of Chester County. The board was pleased with the advancement of position for Mr. Herzof, but was very sorry to lose him because of his valuable and faithful service to both the school and the community.

Mr. David A. Johnston was elected principal at a salary of $2000 a year.

The community was saddened on November 7, 1934, by the death of the senior member of the School Board, James A. Kirkpatrick. Mr. Kirkpatrick had been a most valuable leader in the years of planning for the school.

For many months, the line separating Mr. Walker's property from the school was a controversial item which was finally settled by the board authorizing the erection of a line fence.

The problem of enlarging the school was again given serious consideration in 1939 and 1940, because of the unsettled condition of our country's becoming involved in the European situation, the board deemed it inadvisable to take action in building. In 1941, again plans for an addition to the school were considered, this time as a W.P.A. Project and again action was delayed.

In June, 1943, the principal, Mr. David A. Johnston resigned. Again, Chadds Ford lost a valuable leader. Mr. Benjamin F. Pownall was elected principal but stayed only one year.

Mr. Edgar Haldeman was elected principal in July, 1944.

In May, 1944, the Board decided to have a school nurse three days a week instead of the original two days a week.

The Union Room teacher's resignation in November, 1945, emphasized to the board that there was increasing unrest concerning the segregation of the negro children from the white. In May, 1949, a formal request came from some of the negro parents to eliminate the Union Room. In March, 1950, the Board approved the discontinuance of this room.

The School Board on August 6, 1946, approved the appointment of Mary McMullan as assistant to the principal with the responsibility of serving as principal in the absence of the principal from the school.

The West Chester School Board notified the Chadds Ford School Board that they could not accept tuition pupils after September, 1949. This decision was necessitated by the increased enrollment in West Chester. Plans were made to send the high school students to Kennett High School. Kennett was very pleased with the academic records of the Chadds Ford pupils. Transportation was furnished by Kennett for these pupils until 1954 when the Chadds Ford District had to provide transportation.

The first of several Athletic Banquets was held in March, 1949. These banquets were enjoyable affairs. They were sponsored by the P.T.A. and served by a committee from the P.T.A. and the school faculty.

In April 1949, the Board, because of the increased pupil enrollment, decided to transfer the Tenth Grade, along with the Eleventh and Twelfth Grades, to Kennett and to revert to the original six-three plan. This decision to discontinue the Tenth Grade brought to a close a problem which had been discussed for many years.

The resignation of Mr. Haldeman was received in August, 1951, and accepted with regret.

Mr. C. Ralph Emery was elected principal.

In November, 1951, the first Director-Teacher buffet supper was held in the school auditorium. The teachers prepared and served the meal. It proved to be a mutually pleasant affair.

The gift of a T.V. set from the P.T. A. has been a helpful visual aid and enhanced the educational program of the school.

During the 1953-1954 year, a health education program was carried out with a special teacher in charge.


First row, L. to R.: William Hilton, Donald Smith, Charles Lyman, Jack Clouser, Larry Wood. Second row: Ira Kilmon, John Aaaron, Adrian Morrison, Fritz Petroll, Ira Chandler, John Emple. Third son, Robert Parrett, Howard Shipp, Coach Dondrea


First row, L. to R.: Philip Hoffman, John Empie, Donald Urban, Charles Lyman, Fritz Petroll. Second row: Charles Fanning, Larry Wood, Jack Clouser, Coach Dondrea.


First row, L. to R.: Adrian Morrison, Fritz Petroll, John D. Hipp, Charles Fanning, John Clouser, Charles Lyman, John Empie. Second row: Walter Messersmith, Larry Wood, Donald Urban, John Aaron, Lawrence Johnson, Rodman Russo, Ira Chandler, Jack Janney. Third row: William Tulloch, Jay Smith, Philip Hoffman, Donald Smith, David Kahler, Robert Lawrence, Raymond Hipp, Robert Parrett, Howard Shipp, Jesse Cook, Mr. Dondrea.


First row,L. to R.: Catherine Talley, Karen Aaron, Grace Mock, Stella Howarth, Pearl Brackbill, Elizabeth Sweede. Second row: Elaine Palmatary, Martha Getz, Barbara Churchman, Lois Rohlfing, Nancy Teate, Joan Hollingsworth, Lois Urban. Third row: Virginia Cook, Mary Lou Vittengl, Sheila Huddleston, Sarah Shipp, Janet Winning, Helen Taylor, Robin Johnson, Miss Oyler.


This was one of the first school busses owned by the school district. Jimmy Lynch has pictured Bill Boyd, the bus driver, reminding the first grader to retrieve his lunch box and tractor.

In February, 1954,the Board decided to purchase three sixty-passenger busses to transport all Chadds Ford Pupils. Up to this time, the school had been hiring all the transportation. This important decision was made at a time when the Board was again discussing adding four more classrooms and forming a jointure with Kennett Consolidated School. This proposed jointure did not materialize because Kennett felt that their increasing enrollment, plus the Chadds Ford enrollment, would make too large a school district.

With this decision, the Board was confronted with the problem of finding a high school for the pupils and initiated negotiations with the Unionville School District. A public meeting was held at Unionville on May 11 at which time the citizens discussed with the school authorities the possibility of consolidation with Chadds Ford. The Chadds Ford patrons held a meeting on May 11, 1954, for the purpose of explaining the proposed consolidation with Unionville. There was no opposition offered at this meeting, and the Board voted that consolidation become effective July 1, 1954.

The school year beginning in September, 1954, found Chadds Ford School an elementary school with grades one through six. Mr. Emery was now Administrative Assistant and Elementary Principal of the Chadds Ford and Unionville Schools. Chadds Ford now shared their music teacher three days a week with Unionville. The individual class enrollment was reduced by adding two extra teachers, one to teach a combined first and second grade and the second to teach a combined third and fourth grade. The following year, a teacher was employed to teach a combined fifth and sixth grade.

The year 1956 found a seventh grade being added to the Chadds Ford enrollment because of the crowded conditions existing in the Unionville-Chadds Ford High School.

At this time, it became necessary to consider building a new High School to meet the needs of the increased enrollment. Eighth Grade was added to the Chadds Ford School in 1955. In February, 1959, when the new High School opened, Chadds Ford again became an elementary school.

Fred A. Basehore was appointed principal of Chadds Ford School in 1963 and retired in 1974. He came from Sugartown School in Willistown Township. During this time, much growth occurred. Ten rooms and a multipurpose room were added in 1964; five grades were retained in the school. The sixth grade students became part of the Middle School at Unionville. A growing census necessitated the addition in 1970 of four more rooms to the school, and the district approved the formation of kindergarten in 1972.

Chadds Ford District School Directors during the addition to the school were:

Birmingham Township, Chester County

Alfred C. Webber

Frederick S. Wolter

Eleanor B. Steele

Robert E. Barnett

John T. Dodson

Pennsbury Township

John H. Haldeman

Alice L. Souders

William R. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Allen E. Lawrence

David J. Torrans

Birmingham Township, Delaware County

Mary Alice L. Deese

Harold F. Jones

S. Lewis Michener

Leslie S. Conley

J. Harlan Potts

LeVan P. Smith

1960-1968 Superintendent

During Mr. Basehore's time, a part-time school librarian was added to the staff. Sara Kipe Sharp and Jane Hukill gave freely of their time in organizing one of the best elementary school libraries in the county.

In 1969 Dr. Harold M. Wynn was elected superintendent to replace Mr. LeVan Smith whose untimely death brought a great loss to the community.

A Community Scholarship Fund, which he instituted, has continued in his memory and has helped many students.

To many students, the outstanding personality at Chadds Ford School is Mrs. Dorothy Cloud, the cafeteria manager. She is fondly known as "Mother Cloud" and is one of the persons who has made Chadds Ford so unique.

Mr. Fred A. Darling was appointed principal at the retirement of Fred A. Basehore in June 1974.

The enrollment of Chadds Ford School increased from 465 to 510 during the years 1974-1980. This was part of an overall increase in the entire school district enrollment, going against the trend of declining numbers in most of the surrounding districts. The effect of this increase on the school during this time has been the addition of one third, fourth, and fifth grade class. Also, the physical education teacher's time was increased to four days (as well as one day at the Middle School), and the art teacher to four days in order to accommodate the extra classes.

Even though the school increased in enrollment, the kindergarten declined in size and, therefore, was reduced from four sessions to three sessions. A part-time kindergarten teacher was hired for the one morning session.

During this time, the library clerk position was made full time in order to make the library more accessible to students and teachers.

The band director was relieved of some of his duties and now has time to handle the increased number of students in the two elementary schools and some Middle School students.

In 1975, two part-time teacher aides were approved by the school board for employment at Chadds Ford School. Their main duties are twofold: to help supervise children at lunch recess and to assist the classroom teacher with a variety of clerical tasks. Typically, the teacher aide, or paraprofessional, does such things as duplicating materials, correcting papers, constructing bulletin boards, updating records, etc. They are not permitted to supervise a class without the teacher being present, to assign grades, nor to read certain confidential student records. Teachers have found that having the aides enables them to devote more time to working with children and for planning.

The Academically Talented program was added in 1977. This is a state-mandated program which provides enrichment activities for children deemed to be gifted, academically. To qualify, a child must score 130 or higher on an individual intelligence test and also must have scored two years or more above grade level on their achievement tests. Presently there are about 30 children in this program.


On May Day, one of the important and beautiful events is the winding of the May Pole by the third grade girls. This event has received recognition over a wide area.

During the first May Days, the third and fourth grade girls each wound a May Pole and were instructed by Catherine Diver andMary McMullan. In recent years, Mary Helen Owens, Marian D. Hall and Dolores B. Truitt, third grade teachers, have been instrumental in teaching the intricacies of the dance.

Mrs. W.M.D. Bryant helped the faculty by being the choreographer for the children's part of the entertainment, also for the May Queen. Mrs. Bryant did this for many years, which greatly enhanced the program.

The late Everett B. Hollingsworth greatly helped through his generosity in donating original paintings to be chanced off.

The Art Show is one of many events held the same day as May Fair in the school. Many noted local artists have acted as judges for the Art Show, which has grown in size and reputation. Each year, the P.T.A. purchases a painting for the school.

The school is fortunate in having a small but valuable collection of paintings by such noted artist as N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, John McCoy, Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, Carolyn Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth, Howard Pyle, and George A. Weymouth and by many local artist. The interest in art in the community has been motivated by the Wyeth family. Jimmy Lynch and Bill Omwake, former students, have benefited greatly by the Wyeth influence.

School Activities

Grade 3 participated in our Bicentennial, 1976, "Year of Trees."

This Linden Tree was planted in 1932 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birthday. The children named this tree George and the other Linden tree planted at the same time Martha.


These youngsters are the winners of a Kite Flying Contest held during a noon recess at the Chadds Ford Elementary School. Kneeling left to right are Larry Thynge, Charles Folks, Ned Hughes and Brett Darrel. Standing left to right, Jamie Jacobson, Janet Armitage, Rick, Rickey Armitage, Susan Cassel and Lucille Cotter. Mrs. Andrew Wyeth and her two sons, Nicholas and Jamie, and Bruce Manning of Chadds Ford, Judged the contest.

Mrs. Cloud teaches the use of a recipe in preparing meals for the many students-1979.

Mr. Pardue explains school energy production-1979.

LOCAL HISTORY-Cooking and serving a meal as done by our forefathers. Barnes Brinton House-Grade 3, 1979.

Chadds Ford Consolidated School Reunion-Anniversary


September 20, 1975

By Mary Ann Roddy Fell

Saturday, September 20, 1975, was not just another beautiful FALL day! It was a very "special" day for former students who attended or graduated from the Chadds Ford Consolidated School, located along the famous Brandywine River at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. On this date, we celebrated the school's very first Reunion; not "class" reunion, but "school" reunion. How many tears ago did the school bell first ring at dear old Chadds Ford Consolidated School? Yes, it was a Golden celebration; 50 years had flown by, and many members of the first graduating class were fortunately able to be in attendance on our big 50TH YEAR CELEBRATION-SEPTEMBER 20, 1975.

The Reunion started officially at 4:30 P.M., with George Steele as "Master of Ceremony". A concert under the direction of Mr. Richard Denmon was held at 5:00 P.M.

Starting at 7:30 P.M., the Anniversary Program was opened by Invocation given by The Reverend Oliver C. Nixon (former student).

Our babies-the "1975" First Grade Class, gave a Medley of Songs under the direction of Diane Beeson and Beverly McCausland.

To get us in the mood to reminisce, Thelda Walker Darlington (Class of 1931) told us about our school's early years.

Remarks then followed by Mr. Webster C. Herzog, Principal from 1925-1934.

Next, Jack Marshall and Dennis Herzof entertained us with arrangements of traditional songs on their guitar and fiddle.

To add to the glee, Mary and Tyler Griffin (Mary Barili, a former student) sang a medley of songs.

Recognition of Awards was presented by Debbie Bouman and Scott Newborn.

The evening would not have been complete if our school Alma Mata was not sung. "HAIL CHADDS FORD HIGH" was echoed thru all the school halls as everyone sang with their hearts filled with love and happy memories of their young school years. Composer of our Alma Mater was a former Chadds Ford Music Teacher, Mr. Ray L. Ott. Mrs. Heyburn Wylie, former student, was the accompanist.

The entire event was thoroughly enjoyed by the nearly 1000 students who formerly spent part and many, all of the elementary school years.

Much hard work and many hours were spent to accomplish the big job of getting the whold program together smoothly and effectively. A group of hard-working alumni, under the capable direction of Mary McMullan and George Steele, contributed to the fact that a good job was done by all.

Committee members were Robert Earl Barnett, Sara Kipe Sharp, David J. Fell, Mary Ann Roddy Fell, Laura Mc Cardle, Lydia Keurner Netsch, Fred Darling Barbara Wurth, Mary Ella Sharpless Grace and Philip Grace.

Special thanks were given to Rebecca Mowrey and Stephen Kuter for the design of Wooden 50 cent pieces which were sold as "keepsakes" of the reunion.

James Lynch did the beautiful art work on the 50TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATORY PLATES which sold for $8.00 each.

Brandywine Youth Club took care of the handling of snacks.

Boy Scouts (Chadds Ford Troop) parked the cars.

Southeast National Bank of West Chester furnished the advertisements.

Clean-up Committee was under the capable supervision of Ulyses Pardue, Custodian of the school.

Needless to say, the entire planning and actual celebration was a total success.

It was a beautiful experience for everyone who helped on the committee to get the 50TH ANNIVERSARY-REUNION organized. However, the compliments and warm messages of love and dedication to a small but superior school will forever remain in the hearts of all who were present and took part in this wonderful Golden Anniversary-Reunion of dear old Chadds Ford Consolidated School.

6th Grade Class-1931

8th. Grade Class-1931

8th Grade Class-1949

Chadds Ford School has been fortunate to have had during the years many outstanding teachers who have greatly influened the lives of many children.

The following teachers have retired:

Lydia B. Betts-1957
Remember the Latin Classes

Marion S. Pennoyer-1964
Several years prior to retiring, she and her Fifth Grade Class sponsored the planting of a hundred white pine trees on the school grounds.

Addie M. Brugler-1966
Do you remember the rabbit that always made muddy tracks and left Easter eggs at Easter for the First Graders?

Mary W. McMullan-1972
TheKite Contest was an annual event.

Lavinia Talley-1978
Miss Talley always shared her Doll Collection.

Mary Helen Owens-1979
Why was Dixie so important a song in Mrs. Owen's class?

Marion D. Hall-1979
Benjamin Franklin was very important in her social studies class.

These Chadds Ford teachers retired from Unionville School:

Mariam McFadden Paul-1971
One of Chadds Ford School's graduates.

Adeline Cresci-1967
Those wonderful Athletic Banquets.

Minerva Singer-1967
Music was necessary for all programs

Raymond Kegg-1980
The boys did enjoy Shop Classes.

Junior High Chorus conducted by Mrs. Singer

Alma Mater


Ray L. Ott

As in most schools all across America, the challenges and changes continue to present themselves, Enrollment at Chadds Ford has risen from 364 in 1925 to 512 in 1980. From an initial faculty of 10, it is now 28, and from 100 volumes given by patrons of the school and one hundred fifty books purchased by the Parents' Association the first year, it now offers a library of 8826 volumes.

But mere growth alone would be meaningless. It is the atmosphere within the school which really matters. And of this, one parent wrote recently:

"I shall always be grateful that our three children started their education at Chadds Ford. There is something very special about the school. It is hard to define, an air of old-fashioned decency and gentleness most closely sums it up. To face new demands and yet still retain those old virtues is no easy task. But somehow they manage it. Our children remember the years there, and the teachers they knew, with genuine affection, and I am positive they could not have found a better education elsewhere. As parents we were always made to feel welcome, useful, and needed and the teachers knew and cared individually for each of their students. The cafeteria workers and janitorial staff all seemed part of a big, extended school family.... and I think these things really matter to a small child leaving home for the first time. Yes, I value the years our children spent at Chadds Ford, and I am grateful for them!"


I Birmingham"Friends, Two Hundred Fifty Years of Quakerism at Birmingham. West Chester; 1940

II Futhey and Cope, History of Chester County, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1881

III Historical Clippings-Chester County Historical Society

IV Minute Books

Birmingham Township, Chester County

Birmingham Township, Delaware County

Chadds Ford Consolidated School

Pennsbury Township, Chester County

V Smith, M.D., George, History of Delaware County, Philadelphia: Henry Graham Ashmead, 1862

Also, The late J. Percy Barnett was most helpful to the author.