History of “The Southern End”

Jump To Section:

A Brief History of the Solanco Community

Southern Lancaster County, from which the Solanco School District derives its name, was an uncharted wilderness that was part of Chester County.

The area now called the “Southern End” extends from a point just north of Christiana and west to Colemanville on the Susquehanna River. It is bordered on the east by Chester County, on the south by Maryland, and on the west by the Susquehanna River. 

The earliest Southern Lancaster County inhabitants were believed to be Quakers and Mennonites of Swiss and German origins, Englishmen, French Huguenots, and Welsh. But a military arm was needed, and the Quaker government recruited Scotch-Irish from Northern Ireland. These immigrants were primarily Scottish Presbyterians who had taken up residency in Ulster in Northern Ireland. The Quaker government arranged that most of these new Scotch-Irish immigrants were given land in the lower end of the District to fight off a Catholic takeover from Maryland. 

In the early eighteenth century, Pennsylvania and Maryland were involved in a dispute over the border. It was both a border battle and a religious skirmish. By importing the battle-tested Scotch-Irish, William Penn was acting mainly to protect the border, which Marylanders insisted extended as far north as three miles south of Lancaster. 

Education in the Southern End began in one-room schoolhouses in the early 1700s. Private academies soon began to develop. One of the better-known establishments, Chestnut Level Academy, opened in 1852. Higher schooling was also available for those who wished to continue beyond the eight grades offered in those one-room school houses. 

There was a four-year high school built in Quarryville in 1881 where students from all over the Southern End completed their twelfth year of education.  In 1915, the Quarryville Junior-Senior High School building was erected on South Hess Street. During this time period, there were other high schools in Southern Lancaster County. However, they were all three-year schools, or second-class high schools. On September 23, 1947, eight townships surrounding Quarryville joined the borough to form a jointure. This included Bart, Colerain, Drumore, East Drumore, Eden, Fulton, Little Britain, and Providence Townships, and official District status was achieved in 1966. During this time, the one-room schoolhouses were phased out, and new elementary schools were built. Solanco Junior-Senior High School was opened in 1962 on the same site where Solanco High School now stands. Two new middle schools and another new elementary school were built. There are now four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school serving the Southern End.

The Solanco Community extends from a point just north of Christiana and west to Colemanville on the Susquehanna River. It is bordered on the east by Chester County, on the south by Maryland, and on the west by the Susquehanna River. It includes Quarryville Borough and Bart, Colerain, Drumore, East Drumore, Eden, Fulton, Little Britain, and Providence Townships in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The District encompasses nearly 20 percent of Lancaster County’s total landmass; however, the District’s rural setting is inhabited by less than 5.5 percent of the county’s population.

The Solanco School District is a public-school district of the third class organized under state law comprising 188.85 square miles. The District is located in southern Lancaster County, from which the name “SoLancCo” originated. 

The District provides a comprehensive educational program for approximately 3200 age-qualified students from kindergarten through grade 12. The District’s mission is “Connecting. Inspiring. Empowering.” Instructional services are provided for regular education, special education, vocational education (which includes industrial arts, agriculture science, and technical programs), programs for the fine arts, advanced academic programs and gifted programs. Students are also encouraged to participate in the many school-sponsored co-curricular and extracurricular activities encompassing intramural and interscholastic athletics as well as a variety of student clubs, musical and theatrical activities available to both elementary and secondary students. 

District administrators, teachers, and support staff are provided a variety of opportunities for participation in professional development activities, seminars, conferences and online courses with the ultimate goal of improving the educational program. Professional development is a district-wide effort largely tied to curriculum alignment, state assessments, and legislative mandates.  The district is comprised of four elementary schools. Bart-Colerain Elementary School, Clermont Elementary School, Providence Elementary School and Quarryville Elementary School provide instruction to 1300kindergarten through fifth grade students. Two middle schools, George A Smith Middle School and Swift Middle School, house 850 students in grades six through eight. Solanco High School provides instruction to 1060 students in grades nine through twelve. The central administration building holds the offices of the superintendent, assistant superintendent, the business office, and the directors for pupil services, community relations, food service, plant operations/ maintenance and transportation. Near the central administration building, the District owns a warehouse, which is used as a central receiving, storage, and distribution facility.

Solanco School District serves eight townships and one borough on the southern end of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The County is located approximately 240 miles east of Pittsburgh and 60 miles west of Philadelphia in the south-central portion of the state. In addition to being only one-and one-half hours from Philadelphia, Lancaster County is within easy driving distance of the metropolitan areas of Harrisburg, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York. 

As one of the best agricultural areas in the nation, Lancaster County has ranked first among Pennsylvania counties, first among counties east of the Mississippi River, and first among non-irrigated counties nationwide in production. The County’s agricultural leadership can be attributed to the following factors: 

  • Lancaster County contains some of the richest farmland in the nation. 
  • There is relatively little slope within the County. 
  • The County enjoys a relatively moderate climate. 
  • An evenly distributed rainfall is experienced in the County. 
  • The Swiss-German farmers who originally settled the County had great farming ability and succeeded in passing on this legacy. 

Since the time of settlement, the County demonstrated its agricultural strength with the many diverse products grown in its fertile soil on approximately 5600 farms. Among the leading agricultural products today are milk, eggs, poultry, swine, corn, hay, tobacco, soybean, wheat, barley, and vegetables. Wine grapes are also a relatively new cash crop grown in Lancaster County soil. 

The dominance of the manufacturing industry has shifted during recent years. Currently, the service sector parallels manufacturing with continued growth of the retail sector evidenced throughout the County. Several favorable characteristics attract businesses to Lancaster County include the low cost of living, proximity to major East Coast markets, limited traffic congestion, and the balanced diversity of the business community. 

The County has experienced significant growth in the retirement community arena during recent years, making the retirement business a major component of the service sector. The District has directly benefited from the retirement service industry through one if its largest landowners, the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community.  A specific boon to the County’s economy has come from an increase in tourism. Tourism brings several billion dollars into the County each year while providing thousands of jobs for its residents. Continued expansions in the service sector along with continued growth of the retail sector has enabled the County to maintain a stable economy. The area’s economic stability and prosperity have endured for over two and one-half centuries. 


Administrative Office

121 South Hess St.
Quarryville, PA 17566





How We’re Responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

School during COVID was challenging, and we worked hard to ensure our schools were both safe and open. The link to the right accesses our Health and Safety Plan, which describes what measures we are taking regarding COVID.