Elementary School Being Demolished

KULPMONT — A piece of history is being demolished in Northumberland County.

Many people have connections with the former school in Kulpmont.

Heavy machinery is being used to demolish the former St. Mary’s Elementary School in Kulpmont.

The school opened in 1924 and once held 500 students.  But dwindling enrollment led the Diocese of Harrisburg to close the school 20 years ago.

Robert Balonis said the demolition was unavoidable.

“It’s a shame it came down but it did have its problems.  The weather took it, the side was blown out. My mom worked there since ’71. She was a cook there until it closed.”

Bob Hunter explained he lives four doors away from the former elementary school.

“Well, it’s better than somebody getting hurt in it and it’s cracking and everything. The best they could do is take it down,” Hunter said.

Everyone we talked to had a personal connection to the school.  Many including Paul Niglio, attended elementary classes there.

“I went to school there for eight years.  My son went to school there for four, until it merged with Holy Spirit in Mount Carmel. My father went to school there his grade school years,” Niglio explained.

Once the school is torn down, the space will be used as a parking lot for Holy Angels Church across the street.  Seeing the school being taken apart brings back memories for Mary Kay Bartol.

“Going down to the machine and buying a carton of milk for a nickel. When I was in seventh and eighth grade the sisters would have us cut out angels and mangers and we had to put them in every window,” Bartol said.

According to church officials the demolition of St. Mary’s school should be complete in about a week.

1 Comment

  • Pat Kemper Habowski

    Does anyone out there remember the strike in the 1970’s when people were chanting “Fire the aids and give us a raise”? My Mother was a reading aid at St. Mary’s and my kids still laugh about that one!

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