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The Yorklyn Schools

First Yorklyn School, ca. 1905

Students gathered in front of the first Yorklyn School, with an estimated total attendance of about 50 students from all grades. Photo, ca. 1905, Hagley Museum & Library, Thomas C. Marshall Photograph Collection.

In 1869, the first school in the village of Auburn opened on what is now Yorklyn Road; a similar school (dubbed the “Crossroads Shool”) had opened that same year in Hockessin at the junction of Valley Road and Lancas­ter Pike. The Yorklyn School was called District #91, while the Hockessin School was referred to as District #29. Soon eight grades were offered at each facility, with two or three teachers tackling all classes. When the railroad came through Auburn in 1872, the village and the school both adopted the new name of Yorklyn.

As enrollment increased, the 1869 schools at both Yorklyn and Hockessin expanded, but by 1925–26, overcrowding at Yorklyn forced the move of 6th, 7th and 8th grades to the clubhouse building near the snuff mills. In 1932, construction began in Yorklyn and Hockessin on single-floor, brick schools with basements, auditoriums and playing fields. These “modern” schools served their respective communities until the early 1970s, when students from both were funneled into the new Henry B. du Pont School on Meeting House Road.

Yorklyn's new school, 1933

Yorklyn's new school, opened in 1933. Photo, courtesy Delaware Public Archives, Board of Education Photograph Collection.

Yorklyn’s “new” school opened in September 1933, and with it emerged an active Parent Teachers Association (PTA). The PTA raised funds for key activities, including a dental clinic that provided care at minimal cost to students. Extractions cost 10¢, and fillings were 25¢. 

Yorklyn School May Festival, 1952

May pole at the Yorklyn School May Festival, 1952. Photo, courtesy Delaware Public Archives, Board of Education Photograph Collection.

In addition to supper fundraisers, the Yorklyn PTA hosted an annual May Day festival that included a May queen pageant, games and an evening dance. About 95% of Yorklyn’s adult population served as PTA members during these formative years.