"A derelict 'one-room' schoolhouse" Old Wives Lake Things to Do Tip by Bwana_Brown
Old Wives Lake Things to Do: 6 reviews and 21 photos
Just down the highway past the Rosso Ranch, I came across this desolate building sitting alone atop one of the many knolls. It looked like it had endured a hard life, so I had to get out and take a few photos - wondering what its history had been.
The brick chimney at its rear had begun to give way to the elements, as had the windows, siding and even the front steps. The weather-beaten sign above its front door (3rd photo) revealed a bit of information: this was once "Bay Island School District No. 4362" a legacy of the days when one-room school houses dotted Saskatchwan in their thousands. Mind you, the winter weather conditions were so severe and dangerous, that many of these schools did not operate during those months (just take a look at my final photo and imagine sending your children walking a few miles to reach it in freezing temperature while hoping a blizzard did not hit before they return!).
The sudden and large influx of immigrants to western Canada in the early 1900s resulted in families scattered across the Prairies as they began their new life as farmers on the generous plots of land handed out by the Canadian government. This thinly spread population combined with difficult transportation problems meant that the need for schools located close-by was paramount. It was all very hit-and-miss due to ethnic language and other problems of small and isolated settlements until the wealth of the boom years of the 'Roaring 1920s' provided more cash for the provincial government. It was then that attendance at school became compulsory and an effort was made to have a one-room school located within a few miles of every significant group of settlers. This system worked well over the years, but began to decline in the late 1940s as a result of the 'Dirty Thirties' of the Great Depression followed by the lack of manpower and cash stemming from the demands of World War II (1939-45). By the early 1950s, the era of the one-room schoolhouse was just about over as more people moved into towns and cities and transportation of students to centralized locations became easier.
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