Who was Hannah Penn of York City middle school fame?

Hannah Penn Middle School closed early this school year because of confirmed or prospective swine flu cases. Background posts: York community leader: ‘We didn’t have equal opportunity to achieve’ and People mag features York native as a ‘Hero Among Us’ and 1967 William Penn senior class scored firsts.

Hannah Penn Middle School’s place among those York City schools closed by swine flu may cause some to ask about the woman’s name on the southeastern school’s facade.
Hannah Penn (1671-1726) was the second wife of William Penn, who loaned his name to our state.
Actually, the middle school is the second such building to bear the name of this capable woman, who handled affairs of state for her husband after illness incapacitated him.
Here’s a brief summary of York City’s middle and high school buildings, according to Jim Rudisill’s “York since 1741″ and Jim Hubley’s “Off The Record:”

No. 1 – This 1870 structure was used as a high school for just a few years. The 220 S. Duke St. structure is still used as a schools – alternative education.
No. 2 – This 134 W. Philadelphia St. structure is unknown to many because it burned down. “Old High,” as it became known, burned down in 1942.
No. 3 – This structure at College Avenue and Beaver Street, sited at what is now St. Patrick’s parking lot, opened in 1899. It was replaced by the current William Penn Senior High School, operated as Hannah Penn Junior High School for years and was later demolished.
No. 4 – William Penn opened in 1927, the same year its predecessor became Hannah Penn Junior High. Interesting York Catholic opened that same year.
Edgar Fahs Smith Junior High School joined Hannah Penn as a junior high a few years later.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in Archives, all posts, Explanations/controversy, For photo fans, Local journalism & Web, School days, Women's history. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Who was Hannah Penn of York City middle school fame?

  1. Jim Fahringer says:

    I think it is important to note that Hannah Penn was the first and only female governor of the state of Pennsylvania having succeeded her husband William.
    When I was a little boy about 55 to 50 years ago, I lived in the 300 block of East Poplar Street. We often walked to the city dump and played there. We even discovered that a cast iron bath tub could float in the water in the middle of one of the huge holes in the piles of garbage at this dump. I am amazed that the current Hannah Penn Middle School campus is sitting on top of the former city dump–perhaps on top of the hole where we discovered that even a cast iron bath tub could float!

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