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Steubenville Pike once home to cluster of schools

The schools of the former Robinson School District. Information and identifying information as to the buildings can be found in the article.


By Janet Gonter

If you passed through Robinson Township on Steubenville Pike in the 1950s or earlier, you probably recognize the school buildings in this 1956 aerial photo, all facing Route 60 in the vicinity of today’s Propel Montour School.

The first of these schools (1) was known as the #7 Frame School and was built in 1893. (Juliano’s Restaurant occupies the lot today.) In 1908, due to the rapid population growth from the booming coal mines nearby, the school building was doubled in size by an addition of four classrooms at the back, two on each floor.

The addition can be seen in the photo. The school included grades 1—8 at that time; there was still no high school. It was known for its creaky wooden stairs, the cold classrooms in winter, bathrooms in the basement, and the iron fire escape that made fire drills in winter cold and slippery – and scary.

The Robinson High School (2) was built in 1914 at a total cost of $22,000, including luxuries like steam heat, tile roof, and running water. The graduating class of 1915 consisted of 11 students, and commencement was held at Union Presbyterian Church in the section of Robinson then known as Gayly. In 1924, a large addition helped to accommodate the ever-growing school population. Again, you can see the addition at the rear of the building.

In 1915, the Junior High (3) was built, along with a new elementary school annex (4). The building was named the J. W. Burkett School, after the much-beloved doctor who devoted 50 years of his life (1907-1957) to serving on the Robinson School Board, most of those years as president. The Junior High building was known for its basement cafeteria, long lines of school buses that waited for no one, and gymnasium that doubled as an auditorium.

The elementary annex (4) was known for clapping blackboard erasers, puppy love, Easter Parades, paddlings in the principal’s office (with no legal repercussions), favorite teachers, and “forever friendships.”

Not a trace of these once-bustling buildings remains today; all were demolished by the late 1970s. All that remains are the memories.

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