Exeter High School

Exeter High School Jacksonwald
The first Exeter High School building, built in 1938 in Jacksonwald

Education in Exeter Township began with the erection of a Friends’ Meeting House in 1726. A few years later influential Friends, including the ancestors of President Lincoln and Daniel Boone established a more formal school which all children might attend on payment of a fee. This strictly English school was maintained until 1860.

Exeter High School Jacksonwald
Old Exeter High Library 1952

About this time the first one room public school was erected at Jacksonwald. A series of one room buildings followed as the population increased. These schools were gradually abandoned with the construction of a four room building in St. Lawrence in 1889, another in Baumstown in 1915, a third in Reiffton in 1928 and finally the 14 room building in Jacksonwald in 1938. It was located along Route 562 / Boyertown Pike just past the Oley Turnpike Road. This completed the consolidation program but those who wanted to complete grades 11 and 12 had to secure a high school education outside Exeter Township. Many chose to attend close schools like Mt. Penn or Birdsboro High for those final two years.

Exeter High School Jacksonwald

Sports at Exeter included Soccer, Field Hockey, Basketball, and Cheerleading. Other activities included Hi-Y Club, Y-Teens Club, Drama Club, Debate Team, Hobby Club, Band, and Chorus.

Exeter High School Jacksonwald

It was at the May meeting of the School Directors in 1950 that a study of present and future growth of school population, plus an outline of building needs to provide for the increase, was presented by the Supervising Principal, M. Luther Lausch.

Shop class in old Exeter High

Due to the old Exeter High School building containing no high school facilities besides classrooms, the site was limited for long term planning. Since the advantages of a separate plant for secondary and elementary pupils was readily recognizable, it was agreed by all authorities that a new site should be obtained. The general area for the site was determined by charting the home of every Township pupil and then determining the center of the population. State approval of the current Exeter High site in Reiffton was received May 10, 1952.

Exeter High School
New Exeter Township High School opened in 1955

In May of 1953 construction bids were received for the new Exeter Township High school building. It opened its doors on September 7th, 1955, with 553 youth to become its first student body. So began the four-year complete high school program in Exeter Township.

Jacksonwald Elementary – old Exeter High building in 2020

Today the old Exeter High building is still in use by the district and it serves as Jacksonwald Elementary School. Many additions and upgrades have been made since it was abandoned by the oldest students in the district in 1955.

Source: 1955 Exeter Township High Yearbook

Born and raised in Berks, I am fascinated by the style, design & culture of the mid-late 20th century. I started this website to research and build a collection of the places, things and stories I have heard about my entire life. Read more here.

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