Structure that once housed one of oldest OC schools to be razed

Crews will soon be demolishing a structure at 40 Pearl Ave. on Oil City’s North Side that at one time housed one of the first public schools in Oil City built in the early oil boom days right after the Civil War.

The school on Pearl Avenue was known as the Cottage Hill School and later the First Ward School or Pearl Avenue School.

The Cottage Hill School was built after a fire destroyed the first public school in Oil City, which was built around 1863 and burned in July 1866, the History of Venango County Pennsylvania Its Past and Present, by Herbert Bell published in 1890, notes.

The public school on Pearl Avenue was constructed in 1866 by Brinker & McIntire at a cost of $5,300, according to Bell’s 1890 history. It originally had six rooms in it.

In 1874, a “large annex” was added, the 1879 History of Venango County Pennsylvania edited by J.H. Newton records.

It was still listed as the Pearl Avenue School in the 1938 Oil City city directory.

By 1942, the school building was listed as vacant by the 1942 city directory. By 1956 it had been converted into apartments, the 1956-57 Oil City directory records.

After the school is demolished, the lot will be used as additional parking space for St. Joseph Church across the street, Kim Fornof the financial administrator of St. Joseph Parish, said Thursday.


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