WEST ROCKHILL — Some things have changed since the Ridge Valley school building was built in 1883.
Today, following the restoration project completed last summer, robot vacuums have been cleaned, with new heating, cooling and dehumidifying systems, and storm windows added. Others, such as the original paint scheme and window shutters, have not changed. Although not the original of the building, a magnified framed photo hung on the wall shows what life was like when it was at school.
The dedication and open house service to celebrate the restoration will take place on Sunday, May 1st at the school building and Ridge Valley United Christian Church on the same grounds on 905 Allentown Road in Sellersville. Church worship begins at 9:30 am. The school’s open house is from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
The school was closed in the 1930s, after which the building became the home of the Genst family until 1986. The church bought it and used it for meetings and Sunday school first, and then for storage. Joyce Justice of West Rock Hill, a member of the Ridge Valley UCC, said. Program coordinator of the History Association.
She said the building had been devastated in recent years.
Anonymous donations helped fund the completed restoration with the help of many volunteers and donations of materials, she said.
“People really stepped up to help us,” she said.
“We tried to preserve as many buildings as possible,” Justice said. “We wanted to keep the taste of it. It was the school building.”
According to Justice, in addition to school photos, the school displays a 1900 diploma from Trent Yark’s grandmother, a member of the Ridge Valley UCC and West Rock Hill Historical Society. Yark will give a talk on the restoration project at the West Rock Hill Historical Society’s June 13 meeting, including a video of her work. The video will also be shown at the dedication ceremony on May 1.
According to Justice, one of the early photos at school shows that there was a detached house at the front door.
“It’s not very good to think, but it was the way it was at the time,” she said.
She said the Genst family provided the oil paintings that are currently displayed in the school.
Charlie Genst, who died in December 2020, brought his backloader to help move the stone and visited frequently during the restoration, she said.
“It made a lot of sense to him because it was the place where he grew up,” Justice said.
The Spring 2022 Westrock Hill Township Newsletter contains information from the West Rock Hill Historical Society on the restoration project. Discussions on this project began in 2018 and work began in August 2020.
“Volunteers began by removing the old floors and supporting beams, the 1930” suspended ceiling “and the original 1883 ceiling to expose the roof rafters. Then I removed and refurbished all the old windows, added new storm windows, removed the original shutters and repainted. Members of the church replaced the cupola, which had its original belfry since the 1930s. The entire exterior was painted in the original colors, including dark green accents, a robin egg blue pouch ceiling, and white plaster. ” “After returning the interior ceiling to the original height of the school building, it was also painted in the original color blue. The lighting of the school building in the beautiful era was sponsored by members of the church. The front door with a new door. Was turned to face the church parking lot. “
This work included adding a handicap toilet and two small meeting rooms in addition to the main meeting room.
According to historical association information, the West Rock Hill Historical Association will place a table in the school’s open house to raise funds for an application to register the Ridge Valley UCC as a National Register of Historic Places. The association is still in the early stages of considering an application, Justice said. If approved, it will be the second Westlock Hill property in the register.Initially Highland ParkApproved in 2017.
Justice said he wanted a way to plant flowers next to the building and repair the school building before the restoration plan came out.
“Our prayers were answered and we got the help we needed to get started, so we were able to save it, and it’s now a great little facility,” she said. rice field.
She said the church is using it and can be used in the community. She said Tai Chi classes are held there every week.
“We want you to use it,” Justice said. “It is intended to be used and appreciated.”
West Rock Hill’s 1883 Ridge Valley School Building Dedication and Open House Scheduled to Be Restored
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