Claussville School
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Education was valued by the Germans mainly to enable them to read the bible.  Therefore, education was first started within the homes and then by churches. Finally, In 1786 Lowhill Township built the first school to teach religion, reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Some of the first school structures in the 1800’s were log cabins with plank benches and wall desks; these cabins also served as community meeting areas.
The Pennsylvania school act was passed in 1834 however was not accepted by Lowhill Township until 1849.  At this time English became the standard language mainly for Pennsylvania Germans to communicate outside the community.   Some of the first teachers were poorly educated, had large classes with harsh discipline, and focused on reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic with some geography and history.  “The school day ran seven hours for four winter months, but students often missed school to help at home (Claussville School flyer, Lehigh County Historical Society)”.
In 1875 geography and history along with arithmetic were studied more seriously.  In 1867 a frame school replaced the Claussville log school, and in 1893 Claussville’s current one-room school was built.  Teachers now had to pass an annual exam and women became teachers.  “Maggie Musselman was Claussville’s first woman teacher (Claussville School Flyer, Lehigh County Historical Society)”.   During the twentieth century Lehigh County schools were going strong.
Some facts regarding the education in this time. The school term ran from April-October, however students were usually granted time off to assist at home. Teachers now had to have at least 2 years of college, their duties also included cleaning and tending fire.  Children often helped with the chores. Students would walk up to 2 miles for school. Children usually started around age 8 and attended until approximately 16 or until they finished 8 grade.
Courses included health, geography, history, writing, reading, language, spelling, and arithmetic.  Many first graders focused on learning English, while 8th graders focused on preparing for their annual exam.  Many lessons pertained to life skills. Some games common to lunch and recess time included nipsy (a batting game) and wacky (kickball with a section of a bike tire.)
During the 1950’s only grades 5-8 attended Claussville and grades 1-4 got bused to George’s one-room school.  Rural communities’ now got transportation via buses.  Larger towns had schools with separate classrooms for each grade and a large gymnasium.  Finally, in 1956 both one-room school-houses closed.  Claussville and George one-room school-houses were the last to close in Lehigh County.