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Shenango Twnp Consolidated School -Shenango Twnp PA

In the late 1800’s the children of Shenango Township, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, were served by a host of small schoolhouses. It was not until the early 1920’s that the decision was made by the Shenango Township school board to build a large consolidated school to centralize many of the children.

In May 1926 plans were finalized for the new school, designed by architect Albert L. Thayer, to be located on Old Pittsburgh Road near where it meets Savannah Road. Construction got underway later that summer. The three-story school would feature nineteen classrooms, multiple administrative offices, and a combined gymnasium-auditorium that could seat 750 students. A brief delay in construction was encountered in October 1926 as the carpenters and steel workers got into a dispute about the direction of the work.

The large brick building, known as the Shenango Township Consolidated School, opened for classes on Monday, August 29, 1927. At the time it was one of largest consolidated schools in the entire country, housing 654 pupils (in grades one through ten) drawn from nine different schoolhouses in the area. The Clifton Flats and East New Castle Schools each contributed over 120 students each, while the McCaslin, Zehner, Warnock, McKee, Brown, Savannah, and Cunningham Schools provided the reminder of the student body. Another 210 pupils continued to attend other schools in the township at the Shenango-Taylor Township Consolidated School or the smaller Hill, Orville, Boyd, or Connor schoolhouses.

The new school, like all others in the township, was under the overall direction of Prof. Clare B. Book, the Supervising Principal of all Shenango Township schools who previously served as a teacher in nearby West Pittsburg. Glenn W. “Pop” Johnston served as the first principal of the Shenango High School, which at the time consisted of grades nine and ten. Book left the school in 1932 to become the Assistant Superintendent of Lawrence County Schools and later served as the longtime principal of New Castle High School until he retired in 1960. Johnston succeeded Book as Supervising Principal of Shenango Township schools in 1932 and served in that position until 1958.

The consolidated school underwent periodic remodeling over the years to keep it as modern as possible. In 1957 the school board authorized construction of a new Shenango Junior-Senior High School, to be built on Route 65 and directly behind the consolidated school. In the fall of 1959, when the new high school opened, the consolidated school was renamed as the Shenango Elementary School and now housed grades one through six.

In November 1970 the Shenango Elementary School underwent a $1.7 million upgrade that saw a new section (including ten classrooms and a gymnasium) added to the building and a complete renovation of the old section. During the renovation the kids in grades one through five stayed in place while the sixth graders attended J. P. Byers Elementary School in South New Castle Boro until the “new” school was completely opened for classes in August 1972.

With the closing of J. P. Byers Elementary School in June 1972 the Shenango Elementary and Shenango Junior-Senior High buildings were the only remaining schools within the Shenango Area School District. The Shenango Elementary School, led by head principal Joseph McCormick, is still in use as of 2011 and home to about 700 students in grades one through six.

Among the most distinquished alumni of the Shenango Township Consolidated School is 1946 high school graduate Charles “Chuck” Tanner, who played major league baseball from 1955-1962 and is most known for managing the Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series Championship in 1979. In 2004 the baseball field at the new Shenango Junior-Senior High School was dedicated as Chuck Tanner Field in his honor. A four-sided, five-foot-tall pillar, detailing different aspects of Tanner’s sporting achievements, was also erected nearby. Tanner passed away on February 11, 2011 and was remembered as one of New Castle’s most beloved residents.

The Shenango Township Consolidated School served all grades (one through ten at the time) when it opened in August 1927. When the new Shenango Junior-Senior High School opened in 1959 this school was renamed as Shenango Elementary School and housed students up to the sixth grade. It’s still in use today. (c1928)

An overhead view of the Shenango Twnp Consolidated School from c1938.

The junior class photo from the 1934-35 school year – the future graduates of 1936. Margaret Shaffer is listed as class president, while Harvey Ketzel is vice president. (1934) Full Size

A group of seniors from the Class of 1935. From top left its Olga Roman, Jack Shaffer, and Alec Sroczynski – from bottom left its Harold Styers, Lillie Tindall, and Andy Zak. Sroczynski, an aspiring aviator, was killed in a plane crash just a few years later. Click here to read about it: CASTLEWOOD PLANE CRASH. (1934) Full Size

The staff of the “Shenango Weekly” – the school newspaper. The student group was supervised by Margaret Cowmeadow, the English teacher and librarian, and Vera Barker, the Latin teacher. (1934) Full Size

The boys basketball squad of 1934-35, coached by science teacher Ed Raney. The team finished with a record of 13-2 against teams from Wampum, Union Twnp, Evans City, Eastbrook, Mt. Jackson, New Wilmington, and Bessemer. The team ended up in second place in the County League, with a late season loss to New Wilmington (score of 28-27) preventing a first place finish. (1935) Full Size

The junior class photo from the 1937-38 school year. Included among the student surnames are Booher, Kennedy, Mooney, McConahy, Pavlich, Pitzer, Stolitca, and Woloszyn.

The high school band from 1940-41, led by Mr. Edward Roncone (back row on right end), played at football games and other school activities.

The school orchestra from 1937-38, led by music director and Oberlin College graduate Ms. Margaretta Hess (second row in black dress).

Mr. Glenn W. Johnston (1902-1982), a Geneva College graduate and the first principal of the high school after the consolidated school opened in 1927. He later served as a Supervising Principal of the entire school district until he resigned in July 1958. (1941)

Dr. Edwin E. Canan (1904-2000) served as the High School Principal and then Supervising Principal of the school district, before leaving in the late 1950’s to take up a position in the Laurel School District. He retired in 1965 but continued teaching part-time at Geneva College. (1949)

The beloved Miss Margaret M. Cowmeadow, who served as the high school English teacher and school librarian at Shenango High from 1927-1960. She resigned to take a position at her alma mater of Geneva College. She passed away in Beaver Falls at the age of eighty-seven in September 1993. (1941)

The 1937 Shenango High football squad led by senior captain Jack Thomas. Head coach (and science teacher) Mr. Frank Nocera is standing to left, while high school principal Glenn Johnston is standing on right. This team finished 4-4, scoring 42 total points while giving up 93 points.

A few members of 1940-41 boys high school basketball team with head coach Mr. Frank Nocera (far right). From left its Andy Semansky, Earl Covert, and Elmer Houk. The boys b-ball squad opened the season with sixth straight wins and finished 10-6. They played teams from Wampum, East Brook, Evans City, Bessemer, New Wilmington, Mars, and a few other high schools.

The girls’ high school basketball team from 1937-38, led by senior captain Anne Stolitca and head coach Ms. Frances Boozer (black dress). This team finished with a record of
9-5 while competing against teams from Princeton, Mt. Jackson, Bessemer, and Enon Valley to name a few. They took second place in county-wide league for the second straight year.

The tenth grade class of Shenango High School during the 1937-38 school year.

The Shen-Hi football team of the 1940-41 school year was led by senior co-captains Bob Denny and John Dudash. Head coach Frank Nocera is pictured at the far right top.

The Shenango Township Consolidated School in 1949, ten years before the new Shenango High School was built on property right behind it. (1949) Full Size

The seventh graders from the 1948-49 school year. These eighty or so kids formerly attended sixth grade at either this same school or the Castlewood School. (1948) Full Size

The Shenango High School, under the direction of faculty member Miss Leola Rowe, from the 1948-49 school year. (1948)

I believe this photo depicts the varsity and junior varsity basketball squads from the 1948-49 school year. The varsity team finished the season at 7-13 overall, but managed to pull off a mid-season upset (by a score of 53-50) against powerhouse Wampum High. (1948)

This photo, which depicts a group of seniors, was taken from page 17 of the 1949 Tomahawk yearbook. Full Size

A junior class photo from the 1950-51 school year. Full Size

The high school band from 1950-51. Full Size

The Squad Leaders Club, a girl’s group under the supervision of Mrs. Ann Earl, sponsored a Mardi Gras dance during early 1951.

I believe this is a group shot of the entire Shenango High senior class from the 1950-51 school year.

A bus parked alongside the school c1950.

The starting lineup of the 1950-51 varsity basketball team. From left its Champ, senior Johnny Allen, Feil, Badger, and senior Charles “Angie” Morrone. This team finished with a total record of 7-11.

The footballers that represented Shen-Hi in late 1950. The teamed led by head coach Ed Nahas (top left) and assistants Thomas Sovensky and John Susko (top right). The team was led by offensive stars in quarterback Angie Morrone (#93), halfback Johnny Allen (#94), and fullback Fritz Duckworth (#90). The undersized team played with heart but finished with a record of 1-5. Full Size

A collage of photos from the 1950 football season. The Shen-Hi varsity boys defeated New Bethlehem to kick off the gridiron season, but lost the next five games to Leetsdale, Bessemer, Zelienople, Union, and Evans City. Full Size

A modern view of the school, which underwent a major modification in the early 1970s. (Jul 2011)

A view of a walkway addition built onto front of the school. (Jul 2011)

The modern Shenango Elementary School on Old Pittsburgh Road. (Mar 2013) Full Size

The side of the school, which shows some of the additions made to the rear. (Jul 2011)

A distant view of the rear of the old school. (Jul 2011)

(Jul 2011)


  1. Thanks for the memories. I graduated in 1942

  2. I was looking for a list of the teachers that taught at Shenango Taylor Elementary School in 1955. I remember Mrs Rung, Mrs Cornelius and Mrs Pitzer. I was hoping to find an article similar to this one. I did not attend Shenango Elementary but I did attend Shenango High School 7-10 th grade. Thank you for a very interesting article, Christine Mayberry Marrangoni

  3. Chris, I believe I know your younger sisters, Charlotte and Betsy. Betsy was my best friend for a number of years, and I remember that you had a Boxer dog or two. I “graduated” from J.P. Byers Elementary School in June of 1966. The teachers I had were 1st – Mrs. Clara Bunney; 2nd – Mrs Rung; 3rd – Mrs. Cornelius; 4th – Mrs. Warry (who was the only left-handed teacher there at the time); 5th Grade may have been Mrs. Pitzer; and 6th grade was Miss. Daugherty, who also served as the Principal. Please give my regards to Betsy.

  4. Yes, you got my sibling right. You don’t happen to have older sibling that would remember Shenango Taylor Elementary School? Most of the teachers you mentioned taught at Shenango Taylor also. Is there any way to see old photos of Shenango Taylor? I google and only come up with Shenango Township Elementary. Thank you, Chris

  5. Shocked to see my 7th grade class 1947-48. I don’t even remember it taken. Remember Mr. Braden Houk as a great teacher.

  6. My mother, Jean Paton, and her younger siblings, Ann and John, graduated from Shenango. I knew Peg Cowmeadow well in her older years when she lived in Beaver Falls. She never married and therefore was ‘Miss’ Cowmeadow. She taught at Geneva College for several years. However, that was not her college alma mater. Her undergraduate degree was from Slippery Rock.


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