1874-1893:  Smethport Academy
Destroyed by Fire 1893

Timeline of Smethport Schools


First Smethport School



First Smethport Academy



Second Smethport Academy



New Brick School



Second Brick School



Addition of the Elementary School



Additions put on the 1900 School



New High School built across town on Brennan Hill



The Family Medical Center, located in the area of the old school



McKean County Democrat
Smethport Pa. 1892
A generous offer by a generous man

Hon. B. D. Hamlin bus wrote the following letter to Smethport School Board, which will explain itself.

To the President and the Board of Directors of the School District of Smethport: -- Gentlemen: -- I propose to donate to the School District of Smethport, in the County of McKean, State of Pennsylvania, the sum of five thousand dollars, in trust for the establishment of a library for the use of the teachers and scholars in the school of said district.  The money to be paid over by me to such officer or persons as you may name by a resolution of your Board, when you shall have advised me by such resolution, that you have accepted of this, and made plans for the

The Smethport Graded School and Academy Destroyed by Fire.
McKean County Miner
February 3, 1893
page 3  column 1
Shortly before two o'clock Tuesday morning the people of Smethport were startled from their slumbers by the shrill tooting of the alarm whistle on the hose house, caused by fire having been discovered in the school building on King street.  Owing to the snow and ice some considerable difficulty was experienced in getting up the hill, and by the time the fire department reached the scene, the fire had gained considerable headway.  Added to this difficulty it was found that the pressure of water was inadequate to the occasion and soon the building was a seething sea of flames, which illuminated the entire town to the brilliancy of day.  The fire spread rapidly and its progress was only stayed when nothing was left to burn.  The ruin was complete, not one stick being left upon another.  Furniture, fixture and all the paraphernalia of the school, which was very valuable, together with the belongings, or nearly all, of the scholars shared in the general destruction.  The origin of the fire is attributed to an over pressure of gas.  The loss is estimated at $13,000, on which there is an insurance of 8,000, $7,000 on the building and $1,000 on the furniture and fixtures.

The destruction of this building brings vividly to mine the trouble experienced in its erection, it being claimed by a large number of the towns people at that time that the projected building was not a necessity, that the demands of the town would never require so large a building.  However in 1874 the building was erected at a cost of $8,000, which has since prayed the wisdom of the Board of Directors which at that time was composed of L. Rogers, President, Ira Gleason.  Secretary, J. C. Backus, M. A. Sprague and two others whose names we do not now recall.

In 1888, owing to the crowed condition of the school it was found necessary to erect a wing on the east side of the building which was done at a cost of $2,500, bonds being issued for that purpose.  Of this amount all has been paid but $500 which is provided for.  Recently an unused room was fitted up at a cost of $200 which was designed as a receptacle of a library, the donation of Hom.  Bryron D. Hamlin.  Undoubtedly the destruction of the building will be received in the light of a dread calamity, but if we mistake not a year hence but little regret will be manifested as we hope to sec erected, with a view to the future upon the old site a building which will be a credit to the town.  The school directors are now wrestling with the question of temporary quarters, having in view the hose house, the old St. Luke's church and other rooms, and to have thing arranged within ten days so that the regular session of the school may be held.

Since the foregoing was in type the directors have met and determined to reopen the schools on monday morning next.  The above mentioned buildings and probably the old M. E. Parsonage and rooms in the Backus building will be used.