Lower Saucon Township was chartered in 1743, when it was still a part of Bucks County. It was established in the rich farmland along the Saucon Creek The name is of Native American origin, from sakunk meaning "at the mouth of the creek." The township also included South Bethlehem until 1865 and Hellertown until 1872. German immigrants convinced by Penn's favorable description of the New World, settled Lower Saucon Township in large numbers, beginning in the 1730. There were numerous mills built to provide sawed wood, flour, textiles, paper, and gunpowder.
The first church, Lower Saucon Church, was established in 1734 and was built by a German Reformed congregation on what is now Easton Road. There were 10 schools in place in the township even before the legislature of Pennsylvania adopted the public school system in 1834.
On a deed, dated January 25, 1783, Benedict and Anna Mariah Lutz granted to Anthony Lerch, George Henry Ohnangst, George Lawbach and Edward Shimer, a certain lot of ground, containing about an acre, situated in Lower Saucon Township, for the use of a school. It is believed that this document was prepared prior to the Revolutionary War, in 1768.
These residents of this rural farming community demonstrated a strong commitment to education by deeding this property for the sole use of providing a school for their children and the many generations of children to come. One-room schoolhouses in the 18th and 19th centuries served as a homes, meeting places, churches and schools. A schoolhouse existed on the property in 1768, that being the year Benedict Lutz deeded it to the Trustees.
There is documentation that a second school house was built in 1826. The Lutz-Franklin Schoolhouse that exists today displays a marker indicating the year 1880. The schoolhouse may have received an addition or was entirely rebuilt that year. A schoolhouse was in use on this property from 1768 to 1958. That long span of years makes this site a significant part of Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township history.
The schoolhouse is a good example of early educational architecture in the United States. The porch and cupola appear to be later Victorian additions. It is a stone 32-foot by 38 foot, one and a half story building with a basement. The stone is called Ashlar stone, which is obtained, from the local riverbeds. The pattern of the stones is indicative of fine artisan work.
There is a large collection of artifacts from the Lutz-Franklin school collected by the Lower Saucon Township Historical Society. Desks, quill pens, books, early maps of the United States, photographs and many more items have been cataloged. The schoolhouse and its property are owned and maintained through a partnership between Lower Saucon Township and the Lower Saucon Historical Society.
The property was entered on the National Register of Historic Places on December 30, 2008.
View the nomination form here.
To find out more information on the Lutz-Franklin Schoolhouse or The Lower Saucon Township Historical Society, please visit their website at www.lutzfranklin.com.