Bowman Technical School
In May 2023 Brent Miller Jewelers purchased the historical Bowman Technical School building in the 100 block of North Duke Street in Lancaster.
History of the Bowman Technical School Building:
The Bowman Technical school is named after watchmaker Ezra Bowman, who first opened a shop in 1877* and began teaching. Following the death of Ezra in 1901, two of Ezras children inherited the school and building: John and Charles.
"Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the school remained relatively unaltered. This was by no means stasis or complacency—instructors came and went, courses were gradually expanded and adapted when required, and the fiftieth anniversary was celebrated."**
"However, the 1940s did see several key changes. During World War II, many students found employment in the defense industry, in some cases applying their skills to new and innovative technology. The creation of the G. I. Bill allowed millions of veterans to seek educational opportunities, with many choosing to attend trade and technical schools. Unlike some other schools, Bowman Technical School did not expand or over-extend itself to meet increasing demand in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Yet, the sheer number of applicants caused the school’s wait list to balloon."**
By 1964, both John and Charles passed away. There were no members of the Bowman family in a position to take on ownership of the building. The"Bowman Technical School was purchased by Edwin H. Parkhurst, Jr. A resident of Ohio, Parkhurst was the president of Park Manufacturing, Inc. and an active member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors... After Charles’ death, Edwin purchased the school to ensure its survival and the preservation of its original mission."**
"A small crisis developed in the latter months of 1978. Due to the condition and use of the Bowman building, a Pennsylvania government agency issued a number of code citations...Another building [was located] which could satisfy government standards and be renovated to meet the school’s requirements. A move to this structure, located at 220 West King Street, was approved that autumn and completed by early 1979. Bowman Technical School remained at this location for the remainder of its existence."**
"The new location had a maximum capacity of over 100 students, which was met for several years. However, enrollment was in decline by the mid-1980s."**
"On 12 April 1991, Edwin Parkhurst died. Now the full owner of both Bowman Technical School and Ezra F. Bowman’s Sons, Melanie(second wife of Edwin) continued to oversee their operations for several months. However, by September, she made the decision to retire, closing both the school and business. In order to allow students to graduate, the school remained open through early 1992. On 12 April, the last group of students received their diplomas and certificates. In the years following the school’s closure, much of its equipment was sold and auctioned off. The Bowman building was sold to a Lancaster resident in 1998 and remains in private hands. Over two decades after closing, Bowman Technical School’s legacy remains impressive. In its more than a century of existence, it trained thousands of students in a number of trades. Not merely a local institution, the school and individuals connected to it achieved national renown. Throughout the country, graduates of Bowman Technical School continue to apply their skills in a wide variety of industries."**
During its existence, the school trained thousands of students in a number of trades. The school and individuals connected to it achieved national renown.
History of Brent Miller and the Bowman Technical School Building:
In 1974 Brent Miller moved to Lancaster, Pa. He came to Lancaster to attend the Bowman Technical School. Following in his mother Jeanne Miller's footsteps in the watch and jewelry industry, Brent graduated from both the watchmaking and jewelry making programs. In 1980 Brent L. Miller Jewelers and Goldsmiths was founded on North Queen Street, not far from the Bowman building on Duke Street.
"We are interested in preserving the history of the Bowman Technical School and sharing the story and space in ways that generate interest in watchmaking and local history," Brent Miller sales and marketing director Ryan Miller said.
Click here to check out the Bowman Technical School Instagram page
*The exact date of the schools founding is unclear. Most records state the founding in 1887. But, the 100th anniversary of the school was celebrated in 1977, 100 years after Ezra began teaching.*
**Quotes come from: https://www.lancasterhistory.org/finding-aids/bowman-technical-school-history/**