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Harford Historical Society

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Soldiers’ Orphans School
Before 1865. Orphans School St. near Fairhill Rd.

The Soldiers’ Orphans School accommodated children of deceased or disabled Civil War veterans. Beginning in 1865, Pennsylvania created nearly fifty such schools across the state, most of them in buildings adapted to their new use. Harford's school operated between 1865 and 1902 and included the farm-house and perhaps an earlier barn standing to the west of the site. Before 1865 the present adjoining clapboarded timber-frame buildings were part of Franklin Academy, which became Harford University in 1850 but discontinued classes in 1865, only months before becoming the Soldiers’ Orphans School. All of the approximately twelve school buildings and chapel that stood on the north side of the road are now gone, leaving only this pair of two-story buildings on the road's south side. The smaller of the two was moved from across the road to serve in part as a washroom. Since 1987 the buildings have been the headquarters of the Harford Historical Society, which displays a diorama of the Orphans School at its height of activity.


Scott, Linda. "Harford Historical Society Preserves the Soldier’s Orphan School." Happenings (Clarks Summit, PA), October 3, 2016. 

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas



  • 1860


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Harford Historical Society", [Kingsley, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 540-540.

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