The California School

Submitted by Randy Litzinger August, 2009

In 1834 the Pennsylvania legislature passed an act which established a system of education by common schools.  In 1838 the Common School System was adopted in Stoyestown, PA (It was spelled with an ‘e’ until around 1933 or 34).  On March 7, 1839 Daniel Zimmerman released 45 ‘perches’ of land and the ‘publik’ school house to Quemahoning Township for 6 cents.

There were ten districts and each district had a one room schoolhouse:

  • Texas – District No. 1
  • Noah Shaffer – District No. 2
  • Walnut Hill – District No. 3
  • Muller – District No. 4
  • ? – District No. 5
  • Shaffer – District No. 6
  • Bowman – District No. 7
  • Ober – District No. 8
  • Mongs – District No. 9
  • California – District No. 10

It seems that the California Schoolhouse #10 was built 1838 and was located on the south side of Bicycle Rd. and Goldsmith Rd. intersection on the Shaffer/Henninger Farm side of the road near a large oak tree.  The schoolhouse was moved across Bicycle Rd. to the intersection of Bicycle Rd. and Goldsmith Rd. at some point.  Then it was moved further away from the intersection around 1934 to allow for road work at the intersection and make more room for a playground.

We know that at least John through Verna of the Shaffer brothers and sisters attended school there.

They would sometimes have competitions, both academic and athletic, with the Texas School which was about two miles farther out Bicycle Rd. from Stoyestown from the California School.

The 1937-38 school year was the last class to use the California schoolhouse.

The Shaffer Farm was sold to the Henninger’s November 1946.  The old barn was built in 1863 by E.B. Enock.  The farm was sold by Homer Shaffer to a real estate agent with the last name of Custer in October of 1945 or November of 1946 for around $10,000.  Homer and Jennie moved to Hooversville in June the following year.

It was remodeled to be a house and from 1969-1984 the caretakers of the Henninger Farm lived there for fifteen years.  At some point after 1984, the schoolhouse was moved to the very top of the hill above Bicycle Rd. that overlooks the Shaffer/Henninger Farm and is now used as a summer cottage.


  • 1882 – Daniel Burnside Zimmerman
  • 1929 – D.C. Rininger
  • 1930 – D.C. Rininger
  • 1931 – Dave Barnhart
  • 1932 –  ?
  • 1933 – Clyde O. Long
  • 1934 – Clyde O. Long
  • 1935 – E. Lucille Schmucker
  • 1936 –  Lucille (Schmucker) Shaver
  • 1937 – Lucille (Schmucker) Shaver