The 5th Street School, located near the intersection of 5th Street and Sixth Avenue, was built in 1882 to serve the primary school children of what is now the southern end of Beaver Falls, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. It was a solid brick two-story structure containing a total of eight classrooms. Attendance at the school dwindled over the next few decades as the local population slowly crept northward into the upper reaches of Beaver Falls.
In early 1936 four rooms of the school were provided to the sewing project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA – later renamed as Works Projects Administration), a nationwide New Deal program that provided sewing jobs to unemployed woman during the Great Depression. A host of local women were taught sewing techniques and manufactured clothes and other vital items for local hospitals and orphanages.
The school was closed by 1959. I have been told it was purchased – or at least utilized – as a Hebrew school by the neighboring Agudath Achim Synagogue. The synagogue was built back in 1912-1913 and was home to the Jewish Orthodox (and possibly Conservative) congregation in the area. The congregation relocated to Chippewa Township in 1960, but a small portion remained behind at the synagogue in Beaver Falls for a few years. Anyway, in late 1961, the former school was home to Duncan’s Trading Post, which sold kitchen remodeling supplies among other items. The synagogue was sold at some point and physically connected to the former school by an small addition.
Today, the school and synagogue, which are joined together, serve as the home of the Atlas Supply Company. With one look you can easily see the historic value of the former schoolhouse.
The old 5th Street School is pictured here. (c1972)
The school first opened in 1882 to serve the children of what is now the southern end of Beaver Falls. (2010)
The neighboring Agudath Achim Synagogue, now physically connected to the old school. (2010)
A closeup of the front of the old school, whose windows have long since been bricked over. (2010)