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Erie County (PA) Genealogy  
Schools - Public & Private

100th Anniversary Historical Pageant - 1934

Contributed by Bill Klauk

A historical pageant commemorating the 100th anniversary of free public schools in Pennsylvania was held in the "Stadium" on Friday, June 1, 1934, with all schools in the City of Erie (Erie Public Schools) participating. The program shown below in scanned images has also been transcribed for easier reading. I have reduced the size of the scanned images; however, if you click on any of the images, a larger version will be shown. Use your browser back button to return to this page. If anyone has any further information on this pageant, or additional material to be included on this page, please contact Bill Klauk.


Historical Pageant













Friday, June 1, 1934


Music--The Star Spangled Banner--Key.


Dr. James N. Rule, Superintendent of Public Instruction,

Harrisburg, Pa.




Key Figures

The Cornerstones--Erie, Pennsylvania, Uncle Sam.

The Foundation--History.

The Builder--History.

The Apex--Progress.


Penn and Marshall Schools.

William Penn's Frame of Government, 1863 [sic], encouraged universal education. The Friends' Public School of Philadelphia, 1869 [sic], was the first public school in the state; in 1711 it became Penn Charter School.

Episode II--"FRENCH AND INDIAN WARFARE" - Longfellow and Emerson Schools.

The French and Indian struggle for northwestern Pennsylvania retarded settlement.


Washington School; Washington Minuet--Jones School.

In 1791, the United States adjusted the claims of Cornplanter and other Indians to the Triangle; in 1792, President Washington issued the Triangle to Pennsylvania to secure to her the beautiful harbor of Presque Isle.

Episode IV--"WAYNE'S TREATY"--Wayne School.

In 1795, General Anthony Wayne made the final conquest of the Indians in northwestern Pennsylvania, and signed a treaty with the Western tribes, thereby making possible the peaceful settlement of Erie. He died in Erie, 1796.

Episode V--"SCHOOL DAYS"---Garfield School

In 1806, the first Erie school, the Log School, was built at Seventh and Holland Streets.

Episode VI--"PERRY'S VICTORY"--Perry School.

The fleet of Commodore Oliver H. Perry was built in the harbor of Erie in 1813. It defeated the British fleet on Lake Erie.

Episode VII--"SECONDARY EDUCATION" -- Hamilton School.

The Act of 1799 set aside 500 acres for the use of schools and academies in Erie and Waterford. The Erie Academy, at Ninth and Peach Streets, opened in 1882; at its zenith it had 203 students.

Episode VIII--"LAFAYETTE'S VISIT"--Irving School.

Lafayette, visiting Erie in 1825, at a public dinner in his honor, gave this toast: "Erie---a name which has a great share in American glory; may this town ever enjoy a proportionate share in American prosperity and happiness."

Episode IX--"NEWSPAPERS AS EDUCATORS"--Franklin School.

Horace Greeley worked on the "Erie Gazette" during 1830 and 1831. Newspapers can be and should be great educational forces.

Episode X--"EDUCATION AND THE LAWMAKERS"-Roosevelt Junior High amd Columbus School.

The lawmakers of Pennsylvania became actively interested in public education about 1830. In 1829, Governor George Wolf made education one of the issues of his campaign. The Act of 1834, providing for the organization of a system of common schools in Pennsylvania, was framed by Senator Samuel Breck. It passed in the Senate with three negative votes and in the House with but one negative vote. It was approved by Governor Wolf on April 1, 1834. The Act met with severe political opposition. In the next legislative session a bill repealing it was passed by the Senate. A substitute bill was reported to the House which gave new strength to the Act of 1834. During the fierce stroggle over its passage, on April 11, 1835, the Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, member from Adams county, in the famous speech which saved to Pennsylvania her free schools, said:

"If an elective republic is to endure for any great length of time, every elector must have sufficient information, not only to accumulate wealth and take care of his pecuniary concerns, but to direct wisely the Legislature, the Ambassadors, and the Executive of the nation; for some part of all these things, some agency in approving or disapproving of them, falls to every freeman. If, then, the permanency of our government depends upon such knowledge, it is the duty of government to see that the means of information be diffused to every citizen. This is a sufficient answer to those who deem education a private and not a public duty--who argue that they are willing to educate their own children, but not their neighbor's children."

In 1849, free public education became obligatory. Thomas H. Burrowes, Secretary of State and head of education in Pennsylvania under Governor Ritner, built up the system of public education in the state.

Episode XI -- "HEROISM" -- Strong Vincent High and Gridley Junior High.

Brigadier General Strong Vincent, instrumental in turning the tide at the battle of Gettysburg, and Captain Gridley, of "Fire When You're Ready, Gridley" fame, gave Erie a claim to heroism.

Episode XII -- "LINCOLN'S LEGACY --- A TRUE DEMOCRACY" -- Lincoln School.

President Lincoln, in his "Gettysburg Address", made in 1864 on historic .Pennsylvania soil, reminded Americans that our nation "was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." The only equality possible is that of equality of opportunity through education, made available and appropriate for all. The resources of the nation must be administered to achieve such equality of educational opportunity, if, in Lincoln's words, "a nation so conceived and so dedicated" shall "long endure".


Erie's educational agencies have made a grand march of progress from 1806 to 1934. At present the public schools house 20,000 students in 32 buildings served by 706 teachers and principals.

Steps of Progress Portrayed By
Erie High School, 1866 Strong Vincent High
Teachers Training Class, 1883 Gridley Junior High
First Kindergarten, 1894 Jefferson School
Public Library and Museum, 1895 Glenwood School
Parent Teachers Association Gridley Junior High
Hi-Y Roosevelt Junior High
Girl Reserves Burton Junior High
Girl Scouts Perry School
Boy Scouts Gridley Junior High
School Health Work Cleveland School
Special Classes Special Class Pupils
Sciences Edison School
Art Burns School
Home Economics Wilson Junior High
Vocational Education Technical High School
Dramatics Harding School
Music Academy High School
Health Education Burton and McKinley Schools
Dance East High School



Education Frees the Wings of Progress.

Music--America (in which ail are requested to take part)--Smith.


Part II

(Chorus Numbers)

The Kerry Dance Molloy

Kye Song of St. Bride Clokey

O, Morn of Beauty .. Sibelius

Academy and Vincent High School Mixed Choruses.


Part III

Parade of the Athletes.


Part IV

50-yard .dash .(5 heats) junior high sehools

100-yard dash (4 heats) senior high schools

One-quarter lap relay senior high schools



Exit March--"Semper Fidelis"--Sousa

Massed Bands.

This page was last updated on  Sunday, April 14, 2002 .

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