The Academy on Bridge Street (Old York Road) in New Hope, west of the intersection with W. Ferry Street, was a private boarding and day school as early as 1820. From 1837 to 1851 a class for young girls and possibly one for Black students were both held on the second floor of the building. The building is now a private residence.
Roy Ziegler is a former president of the New Hope Historical Society and a member of its board of directors. He is an expert on the history of New Hope and in 2008 wrote a book about this beloved river town. This passage tells of The Academy.
An Original Old School House Makes a Comfortable Home Today
Thousands of vehicles including jammed school buses ride by the house on 129 West Bridge Street regularly. But the unassuming, sand plaster over fieldstone structure discreetly hides the story of its great role in the history of New Hope’s educational system. It was one of the original schools in New Hope and most probably the first school for girls.
Later known as “The Academy,” the home was built around 1843 by William Umpleby. He was the owner of the Lepanto Mills, currently known as the Old Mill Apartments located on Old Mill Road in New Hope. The mills were located just about a block from Umpleby’s home. At that time Umpleby resided just two houses east of the structure. His home is now a fashionable Bed and Breakfast Inn.
The Academy served as a public school for young ladies until around 1851 when the “new” school on the hill above West Mechanic Street was completed. It had also been used for Sunday school sessions for a few years.
Excerpted from New Hope, Pennsylvania River Town Passages by Roy Ziegler, Chapter 8, Pages 73-75.