The Darrow School is dedicated to serving students with diverse backgrounds and abilities, building on each student’s individual talents and interests to inspire enduring confidence for success in college and life. This mission is accomplished through our active curriculum, which is rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, individually focused, and combines innovative classroom instruction with project-based learning, and environmental consciousness.
National Historic Landmark
Darrow is the only school in the United States located on the site of a historic Shaker village. The Mount Lebanon Shaker Society was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965. It’s a setting of unparalleled beauty and historical significance that has helped define the character of the School and touches the lives of everyone who lives and learns here.
The Shakers came to Mount Lebanon in 1781 and established a self-sufficient religious community that is remembered for its seed and medicinal enterprises, for respect and interdependence with the environment, for the quality and simplicity of its hand-crafted furniture, and for its reverential approach to living and learning. Though the community grew and thrived in the 19th century, by the early 20th century its membership had significantly declined.
The Darrow School opened in the Shaker Mount Lebanon community the fall of 1932 as the Lebanon School for Boys. Founded by a group of educational and community leaders who shared a set of values about education and community responsibility, it was renamed Darrow School in 1939 in honor of the local family who had first settled the land and provided support and leadership in the community’s early years. The School became coeducational in the early 1970s.
The Shakers’ inspired architectural and design sense is reflected in the craftsmanship, clean aesthetics, and modest design of the buildings in which we now live, work, play, and study. These include Wickersham (the main administrative building), Whittaker House (the home of our head of school), the Heyniger Memorial Library (the Shakers’ Second Meeting House), the Tannery (formerly a chapel, now a meeting and performance space), and student/faculty residences such as Ann Lee House, Meacham House, Brethern’s House, Ministry House, Sisters’ House, Neale House, and Hinckley House.
Defined by their guiding principle of “hands to work,” the Shakers were known for individual productivity, creative problem solving, and a synergic relationship to the natural environment. Centuries later, these values remain a part of the Darrow ethos. Character-building principles like self-sufficiency balanced with a shared responsibility to the larger community are at work on the Mountainside every day. An atmosphere of integrity, industry, and simplicity permeates life on campus.