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Restoration efforts continue on 186-year-old schoolhouse

By WALTER DOERSCHUK The Press-News Published: July 8, 2016 10:00 AM
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PIKE TWP. -- Restoration efforts have come a long way at Melscheimer Schoolhouse since the building was acquired by Pike Township trustees in 2010.

But there is still work left to be done on the 186-year-old building that served as a one-room schoolhouse until it closed in 1948. The township has converted the building into a chapel for funeral services.

Outside of the building located on Melscheimer Road, not too far from Ridge Road, the building still has the look of a schoolhouse with a bell in a cupula on top of its roof.

Tuck pointing work has been underway on one side of the building. Workers last fall started to grind old cement bricks which were chipped and where the foundation of the building was deteriorating. The big project was completed while possible during the winter months and is projected to be finished mid-summer.

On the other side of the building, a new entrance has been constructed to spruce the building's look.

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The inside of the old schoolhouse though, has remained simple, explained Nancy Snyder, the chairperson of the restoration committee. The spacious room with rustic wood floors has had air conditioning and heat added to it.

Other projects that have been worked on include a grant to improve rest room facilities. Snyder also notes the interior will need another coat of paint.

Snyder emphasized community members have been supportive in helping with the restoration with their donations. Members of the public have bought memorial plaques in honor of lost loved ones which sit on chairs on the inside of the schoolhouse.

"It's just another example of how the community has responded," she said.

Officials would like to keep the focus of the schoolhouse to be used as a chapel, and are looking for the facility to be known as Melscheimer Chapel. However, groups have shown interest in using the building for their meetings. A wedding was one of the first events held inside of the building after restorations began.

Snyder also enjoyed attending a Melscheimer Reunion held recently at the school. She was a student who attended the schoolhouse.

Attendees enjoyed a meal and were able to ring the school bell among other activities. The alumni also had a chance to catch up with each other and reminisce.

"Each one had a story to tell," Snyder said. "Everybody participated...We all gained education, but we also learned to take care of one another."

Snyder also noted it had been suggested by the group to take a free will offering. She said the alumni still have their hearts attached to the schoolhouse.

Services were recently held for the late Mary Young, who served as a teacher at the schoolhouse.

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