Photo: Goodbye, Johnston School House

Cranberry dismantles the decaying 162-year-old school house on Mars-Criders Road.

On a cold snowy Monday, Cranberry fulfilled its promise to demolish the 162-year-old Johnston School House.  

The township had been planning to dismantle the one-room building, which has fallen into disrepair, since December unless a better solution was found.

After a detailed engineering study, as well as discussions with residents and members of the Cranberry Historical Society, the township found restoring the schoolhouse was not a practical option, officials said.

Located on Mars-Criders Road behind the Target, the Johnston School House has serious structural issues, including sinking floors. Cranberry considered it a safety hazard.

Some of the school’s brickwork will be retrieved for use in the township's new Kids Castle playground to be built in Community Park later this year, officials said.

Roy Wagner, president of the historical society, said his group had examined ways to save the schoolhouse, but was unable to afford the more than $100,000 price tag to restore the building.

“Our vision was to turn it into a museum,” he said. “But it was roughly estimated to be six figures just to get the building straightened out.”

Wagner said he and the other historical society members were disappointed, but understanding, about the decision to tear down the school house. The group has given the township their reluctant support on the demolition.

To learn more about the history behind the Johnston School House, click here.

Do you have a memory of the Johnston School House you’d like to share? Tell us in the comment section below.

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Roy Wagner January 23, 2013 at 03:59 AM
Having watched the major part of the demolition on Monday morning, and seeing how easily the building fell apart, it is hard to imagine that the building could have survived an attempt to move it. Each section of brick wall that fell, fell in a thick cloud of mortar dust, as if only gravity had been holding everything together all these years.


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