The High Street or Common School - Gettysburg, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 49.718 W 077° 13.783
18S E 309188 N 4411116
Quick Description: Yet another public building on High Street which turned hospital during July 1, 1863. The Battle of Gettysburg pushed many building into service during that horrible three day blood bath. A beautiful interpretive out front tells the tale.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 10/27/2010 7:29:10 PM
Waymark Code: WMA0VM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Turtle3863
Views: 5

Long Description:

This school has an interesting tie to the Civil War, specifically, during the Battle of Gettysburg. During the battle, the school building served as a hospital while its bell shared the cupola (now gone) with a fugitive Union soldier who successfully hid from the occupying Confederate forces. The building is a contributing structure to the historic district as well. The building is made of brick, two stories and what appears to be an attic making it two and half stories in all. The front features a large pediment, intermittent bracketing and some fancy, protruding brick work just below which one might confuse for a frieze, but it's not.

There are two entrances on each side with none in the front and it just occurred to me these must have be gender separated entrances. To the rear is a large smokestack, rectangular with a four cornered parapet up top, great for repelling enemy forces. There is a large white stone in the center of the pediment. It reads Public School 1857. There is also a really nice interpretive out front, part of a much larger series around the historic district. There are several on this road alone. The sign reads:

The High Street or "Common School" was Gettysburg first consolidated public school building. Prior to its erection in 1857 classes were held in individual buildings, often the home of the teacher.

Like the rest of the town's public facilities the school became a hospital on July 1, 1863, when Union wounded began arriving from the battlefield. By evening it housed Union and Confederate causalities, separated by floors.

The school building was well suited for the task but the location was exposed to the constant fighting between skirmish lines in front of Cemetery Hill. The result was unnerving, but not threatening. Pvt. Justus Silliman of the 17th Connecticut Infantry recalled, "bullets...rattling against our hospital, making a great racket."

At the battle's end a Union soldier, hiding in the school's bell cupola since being cut off during the retreat on July 1st, emerged to enjoy his first meat in three days.

From my previous waymark

In 1834 Gettysburg established a "common school" to provide its children with a free elementary education, which over the years evolved into the current Gettysburg Area School System. Following 23 years of classes being held in multiple private dwellings, the first consolidated public school building was erected on E. High Street in 1857, and began a 100-year tenure of classroom service. Each teacher in this 1860 Gettysburg school had over 70 students on their rolls, and an average attendance of approximately 50 students each day.

Related Website: [Web Link]

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