Officials from Kunkle Fire Department, Dallas Township and the Back Mountain Regional EMS struggled to secure a cupola attached to the top of the Old Dallas High School building Monday morning, hoping to save it.
“It could go either way; it could just collapse when we try to move it or tumble down the roof onto Church Street as it’s being lifted,” said Kunkle Fire Chief Jack Dodson. “There are no guarantees,” Dodson said, though crews working on the roof thought the structure, though looking very worn, was sound and could survive a move.
Dallas Township supervisors are interested in trying to preserve a bit of local history by saving the cupola and hope the school district will find a permanent site for the cupola.
Frank Galicki, Dallas school superintendent, said the cupola will be kept on Dallas School District property for now, worked on as a tech-ed project and that the final location for the monument is yet to be determined. “We will study it carefully,” Galicki said.
The original brick building built in 1926-1927, which served as the Dallas Township High School, elementary and middle school until 1984, will be torn down by the school district and the land turned into sports fields used jointly by the school district and the Back Mountain Little League Association.
Many have fond memories of the school and their time there.
Dodson tells about when he and Roy Martin rode a farm horse to school and tied the horse to the flagpole. Principal Ray Kooner was afraid the horse would pull the flagpole down and sent the boys home. “My mother even went to this school,” said Dodson.
Ninety-one year old Bill Morris, of Dallas, remembers playing basketball, baseball and football in the nearby cow field in the 1930s. “I didn’t like school so I quit in the tenth grade and went to work in the Valley but the girls were pretty and Miss Stevens was a good history teacher,” Morris remembers.
Shirley Thomas McDonald also attended the old Dallas High Schoolbut had to leave school in tenth grade to work in a cigar factory to help her family. She earned $50 a week and brought all her money home to the family.
“But when I was in schoo,l it was a lot of fun,” she said. “We were all tumblers in gym and there never were any days off from school. We brought our bagged lunches and were able to buy a carton of milk for 5 cents.” McDonald remembers Mr. Dolbear (a principal) and Miss Kozemchak before they were married. “He would spend much time talking to her as they changed classes,” she recalled.
The May pole was a common memory for most of the people who attended the school in the 1930s and 40s. The pole was beautifully decorated with streaming ribbons and younger elementary children would go to the school yard for ceremonies, singing and games.
The project to save part of the historic building was the initiative of Dallas Township supervisor Liz Martin, who attended the school. It was a collaborative effort between Dallas Township workers, Martin Barry, Bob Martin, Ray Miller, Bill Fredow and Bill Race, who all worked to prepare the cupola to move, the Kunkle Fire and Ambulance Dept. and the Back Mountain EMS which also contributed time and volunteers toward the project.