School History

  • Benjamin Tyson

    Benjamin Tyson was born of Quaker descent in Trappe, Montgomery County, in 1804. His first business venture was to operate a hotel in New Jerusalem, Berks County. Later he bought a farm near Lyon's Station and became a farmer.

    When he was appointed prothonotary of Berks County, he moved to Reading. He was a leader of the Democratic Party in his community. He was also a proponent of the "common school" bill. He served in the State Legislature from 1848 to 1856.

    While in the House, he bought coal for the United States government. After his term, he went to Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Eight years later he opened the Gilberton Mines in Schuylkill County and operated them for eight years. He also ran a stage from Reading to Lancaster, Reading to Schuylkill County, and Reading to Harrisburg.

    Adam Schoener

    Adam Schoener was born on November 23, 1798, in Womelsdorf, PA. When he was very young, he and his parents moved to Myerstown (Lebanon County), where he went to school. After school, he entered the office of a Dr. Bower and during the years of 1819 and 1820 attended lectures given by Drs. Morton and Jenness at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated. He began practicing medicine in Rehresburg and practiced there until a few years before his death on January 11, 1882.

    Dr. Schoener had a large general practice and spent a lot of time in Lebanon and Berks Counties. He treated bronchitis and pulmonary infections. He maintained an office in Reading and, on certain days, went there to treat patients. Dr. Adam Schoener was a Justice of the Peace for nearly twenty years. So, in addition to his medical practice, he served as a legal advisor and dispenser of justice. 

    In 1838 he was elected to the State House of Representatives as a Democrat, and he served there until 1840. He was a member of the House when the controversial bill establishing the "common schools" was passed. He was the only representative from Berks County to encourage support for this bill and to vote for its passage.

    After the election of President Buchanon, he became a member of the Republican Party and remained a Republican until his death. His last visit to Reading was in November 1881. Because of illness he was transported back to Rehresburg, where he died. He is buried in the cemetery adjoining Union Church in Rehresburg.

    (It is a fact that because these men supported the Common School Act, the people in their communities did not see fit to reelect them to their respective congressional seats.)

    The School Building 

    Charles Muhlenberg was the architect for the building and he was looking for some decorative work for the front of the new building he was designing–the Tyson-Schoener school. His sister, Virginia Brooke, was an artist, and he asked her to design something for him. Mrs. Brooke was a former student at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, Since it was 1928 and a year after the historic flight of Lindbergh, Mrs. Brooke thought that she would begin by designing pictures of modes of transportation. However, she quickly found out that there were not that many modes of transportation, so she went to something else. She drew Lindbergh and the tile about Columbus, and from there she went to fairy tales, fables, and nursery rhymes.

    There are 21 tiles in all. If you stand in front of the building and face it, the tiles from left to right are:

    • Jack Be Nimble
    • Jack Sprat
    • The Fox and The Grapes
    • Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
    • The Witch's House: Hansel and Gretel
    • Columbus' Three Ships
    • Lindbergh: The Spirit of St. Louis
    • Robinson Crusoe
    • Gulliver's Travels
    • Jack and the Beanstalk
    • Miss Muffet
    • The Three Bears
    • Henny Penny
    • Little Red Riding Hood
    • Babes in the Woods
    • Cinderella
    • Wynken, Blynken and Nod
    • Hiawatha
    • Sir Gallahad
    • William Tell's Son
    • William Tell