The History of the New Hope Solebury School District

Image of Graduating High School class of 1934, in front of New Hope High School. Courtesy of the New Hope Solebury School District.

At the time that the townships of Solebury and New Hope were established, educating children was the responsibility of families and religious groups, which established schools on their properties and hired teachers for their children and their neighbors. There were a total of twenty-one one-room schoolhouses in Solebury and New Hope, the first of which opened as early as 1756. It was not until 1834 that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began the formalization of the school system and establishment of public schools in each township and borough.

By the 1920s, the school boards from each township met regularly as a consolidated school board. In 1929, plans began for a new consolidated school to accommodate the increasing amount of middle and high school age students. Until then, students pursuing a high school education commuted to neighboring towns including Doylestown and Lambertville. In 1931, the New Hope High School opened on West Bridge Street in New Hope, and in 1940 the high school published its first yearbook, fittingly dubbed the “Colony” by yearbook advisor and art teacher June Pfeiffer to specifically recognize the history of the region.

A consolidated elementary school followed in 1938, on what is now on North Sugan Road, known today as New Hope-Solebury Elementary. Nineteen of the original schoolhouse buildings remain today, and many have been turned into private residences. The oldest schoolhouse, the one-room Center Hill School, is now home to the Solebury Historical Society. It is believed to be the oldest building in continual use for educational purposes in Bucks County, and possibly in Pennsylvania. 

On July 1, 1957 the school districts of Solebury and New Hope were fully integrated, creating one of the first joint school districts in Bucks County.