Manlius Pebble Hill School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Manlius Pebble Hill)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Manlius Pebble Hill School
5300 Jamesville Road

United States
Coordinates43°01′41″N 76°04′11″W / 43.0280°N 76.0698°W / 43.0280; -76.0698Coordinates: 43°01′41″N 76°04′11″W / 43.0280°N 76.0698°W / 43.0280; -76.0698
TypeIndependent primary & secondary
MottoManners Makyth Man
FounderBishop Frederic D. Huntington
Head of SchoolDavid J. McCusker, Jr.[1]
GradesPre-Kindergarten to 12
Color(s)Red and white          
AccreditationNew York State Association of Independent Schools

The Manlius Pebble Hill School (MPH) is a non-sectarian, coeducational, independent, pre-K through 12 school in DeWitt, New York. The school is the result of a merger in 1970 between The Manlius School, founded in 1869; and the Pebble Hill School, established in 1926. MPH is marking its 150th anniversary in 2019.[3] MPH is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools, of which it is a founding member; and is a member also of the National Association of Independent Schools.[4]


The Manlius School[edit]

The Manlius School was founded in Manlius, New York, in 1869, as St. John's Academy, a nonsectarian school, by the Episcopal Bishop of New York, in the former Manlius Academy (started in 1835) buildings.[5] However, by 1880 attendance had fallen to the point where the school became insolvent.[citation needed] In 1881, the school added some military training, which was added to the program in 1881.[5]

WWI memorial plaque, St. John's Academy, 1922.

By 1887 the reorganized St. John's again found itself with enrollment and financial problems, and the trustees looked for someone who could not only turn the school around, but also assume all financial risks. The school was renamed in 1888 to The Manlius School, while the Episcopal Bishop remained as chairman of the board of trustees.[5] This person was Colonel William Verbeck who served as school president until his appointment as New York State Adjutant General on June 1, 1910.[6] Starting with 18 returning students, he raised enrollment to 120 within five years.[citation needed] Effectively by 1914, the school was split into two internal school units, St. John's, the high school and Verbeck Hall, ages 10 to 14.[5] By the time of Verbeck's death in 1930,[5] The Manlius School had become one of the top military schools in the United States.[according to whom?] His son, Guido Fridolin Verbeck, succeeded him as commandant of the school.[6] By 1969, rumors had indicated that the school was in financial troubles.[5]

Pebble Hill School[edit]

The Pebble Hill School was founded in 1927 as a non-sectarian country day school for boys. A piece of property in the Pebble Hill area of Orville (now part of the Town of DeWitt) was purchased[by whom?], and the school opened on September 20, 1927, with an enrollment of 49 students.

Prior to 1929, all classes at Pebble Hill were held in what still is known as "the Farmhouse." This building is the basis for MPH's logo and now houses the school's administrative offices. Built in 1832, the MPH Farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in the Town of DeWitt.[citation needed]


"The Barn," MPH's performing arts building; St. John's Academy memorial (foreground).

Enrollment at military schools fell off in the late 1960s, as disenchantment grew with the Vietnam War. The Manlius School did not escape this trend, and financial difficulties again were on the school's horizon. At the same time, Pebble Hill was running out of room for the many students who were enrolled there. In 1970 the two schools merged to become Manlius Pebble Hill School.

At first the newly merged school used both campuses, with the DeWitt campus used for the Lower and Middle Schools, and the Manlius campus for the Upper School. However, by 1973 it became impractical to run two campuses. The Manlius campus was shut down beginning with the 1973-74 school year and all classes were moved to the DeWitt campus; the Class of 1974 was the last whose commencement was in Knox Hall, on the Manlius campus. The Manlius campus was sold in 1979 to a private developer.


MPH's new gymnasium, arts, and administration building, 2018

Today Manlius Pebble Hill School has an enrollment of 314 students[2] and counts members of both predecessor schools as well as those who attended MPH among its more than 4,600 alumni.[citation needed] It is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools,[2] of which MPH is a founding institutional member. In 2019, the school is ranked by as the #1 private school in the Syracuse, New York, area.[7]


Notable people[edit]

Heads of school[edit]

  • Bishop Frederic D. Huntington, founder and president, St. John's Academy (1869–1904)
  • William Verbeck, Adjutant General of New York State, head of school, The Manlius School (1877–1930)
  • Charles W. Bradlee, head of school, Pebble Hill School (1932-1952)[8]
  • Maj. Gen. Ray Barker, head of school, The Manlius School (1946–1960)
  • John G. Hodgdon, Headmaster, Pebble Hill School (1953-1962)[9]
  • James K. Wilson, Jr., Superintendent, The Manlius School (1960-1969)
  • Hugh J. Irish, President, The Manlius School (1970)
  • Richard Barter, Headmaster, Manlius Pebble Hill School (1971-1972)
  • Leibert Sedgwick, Headmaster, Manlius Pebble Hill School (1973-1975)
  • James E. Crosby, Jr., Headmaster, Manlius Pebble Hill School (1976-1978)
  • Raymond Nelson, Headmaster, Manlius Pebble Hill School (1979-1981)
  • James W. Songster, Headmaster, Manlius Pebble Hill School (1982-1990)
  • Baxter F. Ball, Jr., head of school, Manlius Pebble Hill School (1990–2011)
  • D. Scott Wiggins, head of school, Manlius Pebble Hill School (2012-2015)[10]
  • James Dunaway, head of school, Manlius Pebble Hill School (2015–June 30, 2019)[11][12]
  • David J. McCusker, Jr., head of school, Manlius Pebble Hill School (July 1, 2019–present)[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Doran, Elizabeth. (2019, April 7). "Manlius Pebble Hill names new school leader," Accessed: 1 July 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "School Profile 2018/19." MPH website. Accessed: September 12, 2015.
  3. ^ "History," MPH website. Accessed: 5 March 2019.
  4. ^ "About", MPH website. Accessed: 9 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Rogal, Samuel J. (March 24, 2009). The American Pre-College Military School: A History and Comprehensive Catalog of Institutions. McFarland. p. 178. ISBN 9780786453290. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Hills, Frederick Simon (1910). New York state men : biographic studies and character portraits. Argus Company. p. 110. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  7. ^ "Manlius Pebble Hill School," Accessed: 5 March 2019.
  8. ^ "The Handbook of Private Schools" (1958). Accessed: 9 April 2019.
  9. ^ "John G. Hodgdon" (obituary), Syracuse Herald Journal, May 1, 1992, p. B4. Accessed: 9 April 2019.
  10. ^ Doran, Elizabeth. (2015, January 9). "Manlius Pebble Hill headmaster resigns amid financial troubles at school," Accessed: February 10, 2015.
  11. ^ Doran, Elizabeth. (2015, February 26). "Manlius Pebble Hill appoints new interim leader," Accessed: March 12, 2015.
  12. ^ Doran, Elizabeth. (2015, October 19). "Manlius Pebble Hill appoints its top leader," Accessed: October 19, 2015.
  13. ^ Manlius 'Old Boy' in New Keith Show, Syracuse Herald, June 12, 1931, p. 25
  14. ^ "Hall of Valor", Military Times
  15. ^ "LIEUT. DENNIS, D.S.C., IS KILLED IN ACTION; Marine Corps Officer, Slain at Bouresches, Had Won Honors at Military School. LED PLATOON UNDER FIRE..." The New York Times, July 17, 1918. Accessed: November 10, 2015.
  16. ^ "Vic Hanson". Syracuse University. 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  17. ^ "Distinguished Service Cross recipients", Home of Heroes
  18. ^ "Harris Charles Dashiell", American War Memorials Overseas. Accessed: November 10, 2015.
  19. ^ Case, Dick. (2011, November 8). "Man pens history of Salina's Galeville community along Onondaga Lake," Archived 2015-09-10 at the Wayback Machine The Post-Standard
  20. ^ Croyle, Jonathan. (2018, August 4). "Face it: You'll never be as interesting as Charles Mason Mitchell of Syracuse," Accessed: 29 November 2018.

External links[edit]