Our school is the only one in the Central Dauphin School District named for a person. Ever wonder who E. H. Phillips was? Here is some information about the man after which our school was named.
Elias was born on May 27, 1885, in Berks County and was raised on a farm near Reading, PA. As a young man he worked for the Gruber Wagon Works, doing fancy scroll work on covered wagons. Woodworking and refinishing of furniture were lifelong hobbies of his.
Elias attended Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster to become a minister. Later he earned his doctorate in theology from F & M. In 1920, he became the pastor of Shoop's Reformed Church, which was located along Route 22 near Shoop's Cemetery. In 1961, that building was torn down to make way for the clover leaf for Interstate 83. The congregation built a new church on Devonshire Road near K-Mart, now called the Colonial Park United Church of Christ. Rev. Phillips was pastor of this congregation until 1961, having served there for forty-one years. Then he was pastor of the Salem Walmers Church in Indiantown Gap from 1963 until his death in 1970.
Dr. Phillips was a writer and poet. He wrote a book of prayers called "In touch with God", a religious poem set to music as a communion hymn, a marriage poem used in wedding ceremonies, and a patriotic poem titled "God rest you, Mr. President", which he presented to President Dwight Eisenhower personally. Dr. Phillips was chaplain for the State Senate at the Capitol in 1955. He opened and closed the Senate sessions with prayer.
Rev. Phillips was on the Lower Paxton School Board for thirty-seven years, serving as the board's secretary for about twenty-five years. From 1950 to 1966, he was a member of the Central Dauphin Joint School Board. As a member of the L.P. Board, he helped to choose the sites for new schools being built, including ours.
For many years Dr. Phillips served as president of the Dauphin County School Board as well as the Pennsylvania School Board Association. He was the only school director sited by the State Superintendents of Public Instruction for outstanding service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 1965, he told the Dauphin County School Directors that one way to prevent school drop-outs was to offer vocational and technical opportunities for students not academically inclined.
Because of the work Elias Phillips did for education in his community as well as his involvement on the county and state levels, the Lower Paxton School Board felt it was very appropriate that the new school located at 100 Oakmont Road should be named for him. One of Rev. Phillips favorite trees was the pin oak, and many of these trees were planted around E.H. Phillips School.
The first part of our building, including fourteen classrooms, cafeteria-gym, office, and dental room, were completed in 1955. In 1957, thirteen more classrooms, a library, and teachers' room were added. Another addition was added in 1997.
Rev. Phillips had two sons and a daughter of his own, and he worked on behalf of children throughout his lifetime. He died on July 17, 1970, at the age of 85. He was buried in Shoop's Cemetery not far from E.H. Phillips School which was named in his honor.