One-room Schoolhouses in Alberta: where early public education began

The image of the one-room schoolhouse is recognizable to many communities across Alberta. Fortunately, there are a few of these structures still existing that help to illustrate the origins of public education in Alberta. In this article, we will look at the development and decline of the one-room schoolhouse and the building features that make this structure such a unique example of built heritage. The schoolhouses that will be discussed here are the Shilo School, Verdun School and Chailey School. These particular buildings have been restored, indicating the public interest and historical significance of these structures to their community.

A typical one-room schoolhouse was where one teacher would instruct boys and girls of all ages and grades. Attendance to the school could range from just a few to almost one hundred. This type of early public education was common across Canada from the late nineteenth century into the early twentieth century. In Alberta, the first one-room schoolhouse was built in Edmonton in 1881. Many more schoolhouses were erected throughout the province in the years that followed, the majority of which consisted of one room. By 1910, Alberta had 1,501 school districts operating 1,195 schools, the majority of which were located in rural areas.

Edmonton 1881 School (Erin Hoar).

In 1884, Education was governed by the Council of Public Instruction of the Northwest Territories. This changed to the Department of Education in 1905 when Alberta became its own province. By the 1910s, the provincial Department of Education had developed standards that schools had to meet. School districts were required to build a dedicated schoolhouse on well-drained land. The schoolhouses were required to have 15 square feet per student, and have 11 foot ceilings with porches and cloakrooms. Natural light and ventilation were deemed to be extremely important and every schoolhouse or classroom was required to have a large bank of windows to the students’ left. Blackboards, sixty square feet in size, were required at the front of the school and, optionally, on the wall facing the bank of windows. Frequent inadequacies in schoolhouse design and construction led the Department of Education to develop and acquire a series of standardized schoolhouse plans for school districts to use. Some of these plans were custom drawn by the office of the Provincial Architect, but other plans were acquired, notably those created by the Waterman-Waterbury Manufacturing Company. The Department of Education design requirements and the use of standardized plans gave one room schools across Alberta a very common look and feel.

Waterman-Waterbury Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Rural School Plan No. 999. The Waterman-Waterbury company created numerous standard plans for schoolhouses that would meet provincial design requirements. This plan, from the 1930s, is extremely similar to the Chailey School and is possibly an updated version of the plan used for the Chailey School (Provincial Archives of Alberta, GR1975.0455.0134a-f)

A completed schoolhouse still tended to vary by community, depending on the building materials and resources that were available. Schools were also usually constructed by members of the community, and a schoolhouse could be influenced by local preference. Design materials and features often reflected the time period or wealth of a community. For example, a primarily simple construction made of wood was more common in the 1930s, during the Great Depression. Structures that included brick or stone, and had separate entrances for girls and boys, were indicative of more prosperous communities.

Shilo School

Shilo School, east of Caroline (Historic Resources Management Branch).

Named after a location in Scotland, Shilo School was built by members of the community in 1910 at a cost of $800.00. Early settlers to the area recognized the importance of education and established a school district to accommodate the local children. One acre of land was purchased for the school at a price of $2.00 from Mr. Davidson, a Scottish pioneer.

The distinguishing features of this school are its exterior wood siding, shingle-clad gable over the front entrance and decorative trim along the top exterior walls. These design features give the schoolhouse the impression of Classical architectural influence. Interior features include one large open room, wood strip floor, historic blackboard and a cast iron wood stove.

By the late 1930s, one-room schoolhouses were in decline and 75 school districts, including Shilo School, were consolidated into Rocky Mountain School Division No. 15. Shilo School continued to be used by elementary and junior high school students until 1952, when the school closed and all students were bussed to a larger school in Caroline. The building remains intact and has since been repurposed as a community centre.

Verdun School

Verdun School, west of Duhamel (Historic Resources Management Branch, 2003).

In the 1890s, German immigrants from the eastern United States settled west of Duhamel, Alberta. The population grew, with more Norwegian, German, French and Metis settlers coming to the area, which required a schoolhouse to be built for the local children. In 1902, New Berlin School, now known as Verdun School, was constructed for approximately $700.00. The school offered classes for grades one to eight, with the occasional grade nine class. Classes at Verdun School continued up until 1952, when it was consolidated into the Camrose School Division.

By the end of the First World War, anti-German sentiment was strong in Canada. A local petition began to change the name of the school from New Berlin to Verdun and this prompted the School District to change its name in 1918. Although many settlers in the area were ethnic Germans, there was reportedly little opposition to the name change.

Verdun School is historically significant because it is one of the oldest surviving one-room schoolhouses in Alberta. The building’s notable features are the exterior wood siding, interior detailed millwork and two original wood-fired stoves. The schoolhouse layout is also of unique design, in that the classroom was enlarged to accommodate more students in 1915. It also contains teacher’s quarters that were added the same year.

Chailey School

Chailey School, north of Manville, in 1923 (Provincial Archives of Alberta, A17567).
Chailey School (Historic Resources Management Branch, 2014).

The early 1900s saw the expansion of railways throughout Alberta. Settlers came to establish homesteads, and small communities quickly appeared along the rail line. One development was the district of Chailey, which was primarily settled by British immigrants. Chailey established a post office and an Anglican church and, soon after, the population warranted the addition of a school. By the fall of 1910, the construction of a one-room schoolhouse was complete and ready to accept students from grades one to eight. Chailey school’s first teacher was Mr. H.C. Jackson from Fort Saskatchewan, and was paid a monthly salary of $50.00.

The Chailey School is an excellent representation of the standardized Department of Education’s schoolhouse plans. It has a simple, yet functional design, with a number of character defining elements. The most notable exterior features are the bank of tall, multi-paned windows as well as the cedar shingles, wooden eaves and wooden siding. The interior features include a brick chimney, moldings and rosettes around the doors and windows and maple wood floor with fir border, but most notable is the very high ceilings and a black board at the front, showing that the bank of windows would have been to the student’s left side.

The prevalence of the one-room schoolhouse declined after 1936. Alberta Premier and Social Credit party leader, William Aberhart, initiated educational reforms that saw the phasing-out of one-room schoolhouses in favour of multi-room institutions with multiple teachers. The goal of the reforms was to cut costs and standardize the education system for all students. By the 1950s, one-room schoolhouses were no longer used for public education purposes.

A handful of one-room schoolhouses have been designated as registered historic places in Alberta, including Shilo School, Verdun School and Chailey School. These sites represent an important aspect of Alberta’s early public education system. Although the one-room schoolhouse fell out of favour in the mid-twentieth century, its structural and historical integrity continues to be preserved.

Did you or someone you know attend a one-room school house? Share your story with us in the comments!

Written by: Erin Hoar and Ron Kelland


 Alberta Register of Historic Places. “Chailey School.” Accessed March 15, 2017.

Alberta Register of Historic Places. “Shilo School.” Accessed March 15, 2017.

Alberta Register of Historic Places. “Verdun School.” Accessed March 15, 2017.

Alberta Teachers’ Association. “History of Public Education.” Accessed March 16, 2017.

Buck, George H. “Alberta’s School Building Plans.” Archivaria 29 (Winter 1989-90): pp. 173-79.

Designation file #Des. 1334, in the custody of the Historic Resources Management Branch.

Designation file #Des. 1969, in the custody of the Historic Resources Management Branch.

Designation file #Des. 2044, in the custody of the Historic Resources Management Branch.

Prentice, Alison. Oxford Companion to Canadian History (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2006).

63 thoughts on “One-room Schoolhouses in Alberta: where early public education began

  • Erin (and Ron) : I am a 70 year old fanatic of one room schools. Thank you for the article.

    I particularly was trying to build an architecture model by years picture.

    Shilo style looks like it should predate Chailey.
    Springwater and Bearspaw schools in Southern Alberta are designated heritage sites. Concur ?

    More to impart, but let’s try that. Thanks. – Warren

      • Yes, Jenn is correct, Bearspaw is run by the Bearspaw Historical Society. However, it is not a registered historic resource.

    • Jenn : You say you have photographed many rural schools. Does that archive exist somewhere.

      Also you likely know that Netherby School N of Hanna was used in the movie `Why Shoot the Teacher’. That involved a move off site and back

      Are the schools inside museum sites (RMH, Castor , Brooks .)…. in anyway registered or protected?

      Is Alberta Gen Web an active history preserver. The schools part of Sask Gen Web is amazing. Thanks. – Warren

      • Hi Warren, there is a book called Pioneering with a Piece of Chalk this lists every school. It doesn’t always say what became of each building though. Some counties have maps and have marked the sites. My photo record of them is just a personal one but maybe someday it could be more. I have put some on my blog.

        The ones at museums are just restored and cared for as far as I know. The ones that are registered historic sites, that I have seen anyway, are usually in their original locations.

        I am no expert but I have been able to see and learn a lot!!

      • Jenn :

        Further to Pioneering Chalk…., I was able to get Mr. Baergen to sign two copies of it for me before he died. One lives with me and one is in the Carstairs Museum library.

        There are some big accuracy issues. Glenbow’s on-line school finder is a copy of Baergen – including errors.

        Can the personal photos thing take flight somehow – a la Sask Gen Web.?- Warren

      • Hi Warren, yes I have noticed a few inaccuracies as well. I also use old jurisdiction maps of the school divisions to search an area if I am going to be there. I tried to get a copy of Pioneering for myself, even had someone offer to ask his wife if she still had copies, but she has since moved from Stettler I was told.

        Sorenson sounds like an interesting one, I would like to see it. Thanks for the info! Feel free to email me at

    • I am really looking for information on Education Point school that was north of irma, ab. Cannot find anything anywhere, any help would be appreciated,

      • Hi Arnie, here is what I found in my book:
        Education Point: Named by Mr. Johnstone, a trustee from
        Manitoba. The school was opened with a
        dance in late August 1914. The first teacher
        was Mr. Edward Costain. Friction developed
        at the annual meeting when a bachelor was
        nominated as trustee. Opponents said he was
        not eligible, because he had no children in the
        school district. The bachelor replied, “Now,
        Madam, can you prove that none of these
        children attending this school are mine?” He
        was, however, elected. The students were sent
        to Albert Centralized, and the building was
        sold to Bill Guy for use as a residence in

      • Arnie : Baergen says that Education Point (bldg.) was sold to Bill Guy in Irma for use as a residence.

        That seems often to have been a pattern. The buildings seem almost sacred. I think Black Diamond and Delia each have resurrected schools on residential streets.

      • Hi:: re education point school. I recently took a trip out to irma Alberta and found Education point school.

        It was bought by Bill Guy and had it moved to irma probably early 60’s. This school was located about a quarter of a mile south of Chester Brown’s farm on apiece of Louis Larsens quarter section of land. Bill guy recently died.

        I stopped and looked to it and is is a house now think the building would be close to 100 years old, at least it is still around, it seemed so small to me but guess is normal as I was a little kid then when I went there I graded 1 thru 4.

        I will send you photo.

        Sent from my iPhone


      • The only teachers I remembered are Jean Cockcroft who married Alan Larson later on, we had a teacher fir one year from Irma her name was Alma Enger I believe I went there from grade one thru 4. As you said school was sold to Bill Guy, recently passed. I found it in Irma looks great shape with addition did not see inside, but glad to know it. Survived as a building, if you need any more info please email me maybe I can help! Tristone80@me. Com. Thank you!

  • Nice! I have always been fascinated by one room schoolhouses. There are a few of us who actively search them out and have dozens and dozens of photos of schools and school markers throughout Alberta (and Sask). The preserved ones are awesome, but there is a thrill finding them in their original locations as well.

    • Jenn, thanks for your comment! Your blog is so interesting – you have some great photos of one-room schoolhouses. So neat!

      • Thank you! My blog doesn’t have a fraction of the ones I have photographed, it’ll be an ongoing project for sure. Fertile Forest School is another Alberta Heritage Site and is a really nice looking one room schoolhouse.

  • Do you know of any rural schools where the horse barn in preserved ? The barn is a significant part of all the gathered stories I’ve read. Ahead of the outhouse, the pump and the baseball diamond. -Warren

    • I asked my friend who also finds old school sites in Alberta, neither of us have ever seen a horse barn on a school site. Teacherages are also rare…but there is almost always an outhouse hiding in the bushes,

      • Jenn : I agree about the biffy. The other architectural feature is a ball diamond.
        As well, when the crow flies NE from Hanna to Hemaruka he overflies Sorenson Lake. A school on that lakeshore should be called Sorenson – but it is not. The building stands (unmarked), reasonably well preserved, and with a horse barn in back

        On google maps, both can be discerned (barely) on the south side of Hwy. #586 and about 3/4 mile west of Hwy 872. (872 and 586 become one (586) at that location.

        I think Bay Coulee (Trochu) may also have one in kneeling pose.

        – Warren

  • Hi Warren, my dad R. W. McInnes, had his first teaching job in 1916, after 1 year of normal school, at Kings Lake near Foremost, Alberta. Foremost was established i 1913 and he came from Fort Langley, B.C. by steam engine train to teach in a one-room school at Kings Lake, I think there is a Hutterite community there now. Do you know any info on this school back then. Thanks, Rod McInnes

    • Rod ; Thanks for the note. I’m a tad stunned . i’m learning little by little how this internet stuff works. King’s Lake is in the Bill Baergen book – circa 1993 – `Pioneering with …..’ Baergen listed every Alberta school. I think he went to local histories to flesh out his raw lists (He sometimes knows if `x’ school became a granary). He says KL was opened in 1912 30 miles east of Warner by Anne Jannsen, He then skips to 1944. His sketches are brief.

      From the Nemiskam and district local history, I have a map that shows KL S.D. (#2496) straddling Twp. 4 & 5 in Rge 12 W4. KL is bordered by Pleasant Horse, Young Maiden and Four Eleven S.D.s. Nemiskam still has about 7 houses and 3 antelope. It is in 6-10 W4 The Nemiskam book likes Four Eleven but treats KL as an also ran – if I recall.
      No one down there seems to have markered anything history-wise. (That’s my passion.) There is an abandoned school bldg. drug into Foremost to be used for …… status pending. Not likely your Dad’s school, but …..

      Where are you in the world? I’d like to see a provincial d/b on One Rooms but that seems as tenuous as the photo archives of KL school.

      Keep it coming !
      – Warren

  • My father remembers the farm boys in southern Alberta being very big kids, even bigger than him at 6 ft, 1 in. Some would ride horses to school at Kings Lake and others would come with a parent on a horse and buggy or wagon.My dad was only 18 at the time of his first posting at Kings Lake in 1916 as he was born in 1898 in Langley, B.C.Some of the kids were almost as old as him.It sure tested his fortitude and perseverance. A kid teaching kids in the middle of nowhere on the cold windswept prairies of southern Alberta. He went on to teach until 1968 with many similar experiences in Alberta and B.C.He also taught in Burlington, Alberta from 1918- 1920.

  • Burlington, Alberta is near Warner, Alberta and had a one-room school back in 1916 where my dad, R.W. McInnes, taught from 1918 – 1920. It was also near Kings Lake where he taught from 1916 – 1918. Would like information on these schools and areas for my family records. I know the superintendents of the school districts then were always concerned with how much wood was cut for the school stove and how much fresh water was available in the classroom. They were more concerned with the conditions of the school than what or how you taught , according to my dad. My dad attained his certification for his Third Class Certificate having complied with the conditions prescribed by the Department of Education of the province of Alberta until the 31 st of Dec. 1918. Dated at Edmonton the 28 th day of Feb. 1917. ( This is all on his very old document, Third Class Certificate – Department Education Alberta) He had a letter dated Feb. 28, 1917 from Edmonton which read: Sir: I beg to advise you I am enclosing here with your Third Class Certificate for Alberta, valid until Dec. 31, 1918. It is expected you will complete our Grade XI examination which may be taken in two parts and upon the successful completion of same, you will be granted an Interim Second Class Certificate for this province. This certificate will be made permanent after at least one year of successful teaching as shown by the reports our inspectors. Under separate cover I am sending you a copy of the School Ordinance, etc. Your obedient servant, R. A. Barrou, Registrar, Birdsholm, Alberta (File No. CB/ F-10655-17)

  • Rod:
    I just re-read this entire string. I have two comments:

    Lots of what you say,about kids bigger than teachers, is confirmed in the Braithwaite book (fiction ??)

    called `Why Shoot the Teacher’. A light enjoyable read. Make you laugh. Must have some basis in fact.

    Too many details to be accidental.

    The second is Burlington. My 1928 gazeteer calls Burlington a municipal district.. Schools often acquired, in the vernacular, the status of hamlets. `We’re going to play ball out at Burnside. ‘ Are you going to the dance Friday at Poplar Grove ?
    So Burlington was only ever an S.D. in my opinion. (S.D.s were an early tax collection vehicle.) I try additionally to track post offices and community halls as indicators of `towns’. I was recently at Talbot (on road maps) which had a store & p.o but it’s school was Junction Valley.

  • I am beginning my journey exploring one-room schools In Saskatchewan and blogging my findings! In this thread I see several comments about databases oh photos, do these extend to Sask. schools as well?
    Thank you!

    • Saskgenweb used to have a readily available catalogue of Saskatchewan schools. the site was maintained by an enthusiastic volunteer out of Saskatoon. (I even contributed photos like Merryfield.) Three years ago the site came under `reorganization’ and no longer seems operative.

  • My wifes grandmother taught in a school in the Bow City area. I believe it was called Mika [not sure of spelling] school. I have been trying to find out where the school was. But so far can find no record of it. Grandma is gone now and we would like to know where she taught as a young lady. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Jerry : The Wm. Baergen book lists Mica at 26-16-17W4. Opened in 1922. Was Zella Calvert your grannie ? Baergen says she taught there – 1930, The building may yet exist in Lomond as a residence. I know how to get a metal memorial sign erected at the school site, if that’s of interest. -Warren

      • Thankyou very much for the response
        Her name was laura Violet fitzgerald.
        She taught in the school for the school year 1926 – 1927

        We will drive out to the Legal land discription you gave me and have a look.

        You said the building may still exist in lomand. Is that the town of lomand or in the county of lomand.

      • WARREN. I had a chance to go to this LLD. Today.
        There is nothing in the area to depict where the school house was. No foundation or horse pen etc. I was wondering if there is a GPS coordinate for this site to get me close.. Not likely but I thought I would ask.
        I was hoping to find something but its all prarie pasture. If it could be nailed down it might be nice to put up some sort of historical plaque.

      • Jerry : I know the feeling. It turns out that a quarter section is a very big thing – on the ground.

        What can be relied on next is old photographs. Check with the local museum. May, in this case, be Lethbridge, e.g.

        That will give you orientation – esp. if there’s a tree or coulee or other landmark. Local history books are helpful. You can’t beat an old timer who went there. That’s a diminishing resource.

        Look for a flat spot. Check for carraganas. There has to be a road for access – but 2021 roads and 1919 roads are not the same. I’ve never tried metal detecting but I think it has potential.

        In the end, I think the entire reason for you and I to do the legwork is to establish the location and a marker, so the facts don’t slip from sight. – Warren in Calgary

      • My mother was a country school teacher and I went to school at Loyalty just a little way from Trouchu; Grahamston school which was 7 miles East of Innisfail; Shady Nook near Burnt Lake West of Red Deer and Keephills which was just South of Lake Wabamum.

        I know they tore down Grahamston and I cant find any pictures of this extraordinary school. It was located on about 2 acres of a local farmers field and was constructed of 3 foot thick stone blocks that came from a local quarry. It had a ball field, a large barn, 2 outhouses and a teacherage all on the property and doubled as a community hall. It had a stick built kitchen on the North end and a large entrance, storage shed built on the South end.

        If anyone has any information about any of these schools I would appreciate seeing it.


        Larry Blachut

      • Larry : When Bill Baergen wrote his book in 2005, he believed Grahamston was still standing, so there must be `recent’ pictures of it. It sounds pretty marvelous. Baergen also has some notes on Keephills, Shady Nook, and Rose Briar His book has precious few photographs. His sources were largely the various local histories.


      • Larry : You don’t really want a copy of Baergen’s book. It’s a great big dictionary with 5 lines about each of 4,000 schools that once stood in the province. It’s not an exciting read – except for the three schools you have association with. Best borrowed from a library. I once donated a copy to the Carstairs Museum I imagine they would let you consult the 5 pages that interest you. It goes for $60 on-line and is called `Pioneering with a Piece of Chalk’. It was badly edited and therefore contains some big flaws. I’m thinking of the entry for Golden Grain school near Munson. – Warren

      • Thanks for the information Warren. I will see about checking one out. If you run across any other reference books that might contain information on these schools, I would appreciate hearing about them.

        Larry Blachut

      • Jerry : It occurs to me, after some thought, that the town of Lomond has a big stone map (in a park space behind the library) with all the local schools marked on it. I’m sure Mica is on that map. Have a look at it the next time you are down that way. Lomond district has a very good set of steel post markers.- Warren

      • I will try the lomand idea first. Thanks

        Sent from Jerry Terpstra’s I phone.


      • Jerry, just my two cents. The Baergen book is a fantastic resource, but the occasional conflict with other sources has been found. The Lomond, Armand, Travers district began a pioneer school marking project, that turned into a ‘Millennium’ project driven by the local clubs (I don’t remember if Lions, Elks, etc.). They have erected a school marker at the NW24-16-18-W4 (I have an image of the sign taken 2017), but don’t remember seeing any remnants in the immediate vicinity. I had found years ago a website (long since disappeared) on Vulcan County School History, and kept many write-ups about each school. I have one on Mica where Violet Fitzgerald is mentioned. If you provide a contact #,email, etc. I will share. 🙂 As an aside, the clubs have marked all the school sites, but one (Deep Water), and the Burdock sign had been removed/disappeared (as of my last trip out there 2018)

  • enjoyed reading .I attended Junction Valley in Talbot district and also taught in Tinchebray,a one room school.I wondered if the schoolyard was a standard size. One post said one acre but I wondered if this was the required amount of land allotted.

    • I think one acre is likely pretty accurate. A little bird is whispering 2 acres, I found nothing in Baergen’s book on `legal size’. I think topography may have played a part. The title for the school was often separate from the `title’ for the rest of the quarter, In the case of a farmer donating land for a school, I doubt he was forced to a certain amount of generousity.

      Practically it had to have a school, a horse barn, two outhouses, and a baseball diamond.

      If you keep a sharp eye, you will notice modern country acreages on the school portion of a quarter. The two concepts; one new, one old, meld nicely together. Remember the separate title bit.

    • Wilma : Does 47-27 W3 mean anything to you ?

      Near Lone Rock Saskatchewan ?

      That’s what Sask Gen Web has to say about a Strathmore School in Saskatchewan.

      – Warren in Calgary

      P.S. Apparently there is a written text listing all the schools. The Alberta equivalent is called

      `Pionnering with a Piece of Chalk’ – by Baergen

  • Enjoyed reading your write up. At 75, it brought lots of memories about being educated in a one-room school house. Just one item I wanted to clarify. You mentioned one-room schools were no longer used in the 1950’s for education purposes. I grew up just outside of Longview, Alberta and attended school there until the end of the 1956 school year. The school was part of the Foothills School Division, and the school yard had 3 separate traditional one-room school buildings – Grade 1 and 2 in one, Grades 3 to 5 in one, and Grades 6 and 7 in one. I started Grade 1 there, moving away in the fall of 1956 after Grade 7, and the school rooms will still being utilized when I left. Not sure for how much longer though, as eventually a new modern up-to-date school was built on a different site. I have searched the internet in vain for a photo of the Longview School to no avail, but hope springs eternal, as they say, and I continue to search on.

  • I’ve just come across this site and find it quite interesting, thank you for making it possible to ask questions! My knowledge of one room schools isn’t much, but my older siblings attended one in Saskatchewan and the idea fascinates me.

    I’m researching family history and have come across a book given to an uncle of mine, a school teacher, by his students in 1924. He taught in Saskatchewan and, it appears, also Alberta. The students’ names are listed in beautiful penmanship and include most of the grades between one and eight. So I’m guessing a one room school. The inscription says, in part, “.. from the pupils of Strathmorr -(distinctly not “Strathmore”) – School, Sept. 1924″. After digging through some Saskatchewan records I’ve found no place or school named Strathmorr. So now I’m thinking Strathmore, Alberta is the place. I’m stumped, though, by the previous spelling. The name popped up in a couple of google searches but led nowhere helpful. Then I found this site, and am hoping that someone can direct me where to go from here.

    I’d love to find out if the school my uncle taught at is still standing, the location, and any history or other information. As well, there may be someone out there whose name, or ancestor’s name, is written in the book (which is, for interest’s sake, “The Works of Shakespeare”,1923 edition, well worn and without its front cover).

    Thanks for reading this! Any information or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

  • My Mother (Catherine Blachut) was a rural school teacher in Northern and Central Alberta and was my teacher in rural schools in Trouchu, Grahamston (A wonderful 3 foot thick stone block school 7 miles East of Innisfail), Shady Nook (a one room school in the 7-day Adventist settlement about 5 miles West of Red Deer).
    She taught in Heart River in 1935 and Driftpile in 1936.
    I have only a few pictures of the old areas but would love to see more. I also went to some of the first bussed schools like Rosebriar near New Norway (grades 1 through 8) and Keephills, just South of Lake Wabamun (grades 1 through 11).

  • I very much appreciate this site, and I hope it is still active.
    I went to one of the last one room school houses in Alberta, in the Village of Buffalo.
    Surprisingly enough, this was in the 1970s. We had two rooms, with grades 1 , 2 and 3 in one room, and grades 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 and 9 in the other. The total enrolment was 23 children .
    For a time, we had a husband and wife teaching, Mr. And Mrs. Kitt, who were originally from England.
    It was a marvellous school to attend, and when we did have to get room and board in the big city of Medicine Hat, to complete our education, we found that we were doing very well academically. I hope someone finds this information interesting, and thank you again for all the work done on this site.

  • I have just made contact with a person who was able to give me information about Side Hill School near Vilna, Alberta. My parents taught there in 1932 so I have been anxious to learn more about its location. That question has now been satisfied but I have another that perhaps someone here may be able to answer.

    My mother also taught in other one-room schools in Alberta. I have a sense about some but cannot find anything about one called “Elk Head (Elkhead?)” It was located on a high bank right on the Pembina River near Rocky Rapids. I think the years she was there were 1938-1939. I was a child of about 4 and stayed with her. We lived about 1/4 mile away from the school in a log cabin built by a homesteader. She taught in another school in the area…Entwhistle area. I know that many thought highly of her. If her name will help someone to recollect anything about the school she was Sophia Wasylyshyn.

    I hope I am lucky and someone will know of this school! Thanks!

    • Page 191 of Baergen says : Elk Head S.D.#4747 12-50-9W5 22 Sep 1936 Div 23 (38)
      Dissolved and transferred to Rocky Rapids S.D. #4125

      Baergen says Rocky Rapids location was 3-50-7W5. It apparently later changed names to Drayton Valley Rural.

      D.V.R. has a 22 June 12 date.(the incorporation date for R.R.)

      Hope this helps. – Warren

      Baergen says nothing about teachers, events, trustees, etc. for any of the above.locations.

    • Elk Head School #4747 was dissolved and became part of Rocky Rapids School #4125, which then became Drayton Valley Rural. That’s all I could find.

  • I found some photos from my father’s first teaching position in 1926. They are of a one-room school house and teacherage, labelled Ruryk School and Ruryk S.D. I believe they were located in Alberta, but I have not been able to find any information. My father’s last name was Newlove. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    • E.Downs : The Baergen book has Ruryk school at Section 27-54-7 W4. He has no other commentary.

      That location puts it quite near Derwent Alberta. If you can locate a Derwent local history book, it will likely have more on the school. Other schools nearby. Teachers, etc. – Warren

    • Thank you for the question. You can trace some information about school districts from Alberta Gazette. The Ruryk School District No. 2714 was established on April 10, 1912 for the area covering Sections 13-15, 21-28, 33-36 in Township 54-7-W4. S. Jacula was the senior trustee. Based on Baergen’s book Pioneering with a Piece of Chalk, the schoolhouse appears to have been located in Section 27 of Township 54-7-W4 (27-54-7-W4). There are no structures currently located on this section.

      The Ruryk School District No. 2714 was included as part of Subdivision 5 when the Two Hills School Division No. 21 was created on November 2, 1937. In 1995, The Two Hills School Division became part of the St. Paul Education Division No. 1.

      The Provincial Archives of Alberta has some archival materials in the St. Paul Education Regional Division No. 1 fonds. You may wish to contact the Provincial Archives of Alberta for more information –

      • Thank you, again, for the information. Would you like a copy of the pictures I have of the Ruryk school house and teacherage for the website?

        Emiline Downs

    • Supplement to the other answers. According to the 1923 directory & 1928 map, the schoolhouse was located in the SE corner of SE quarter section of the site previously given. The 1923 directory shows the surrounding quarter section in 1923 was owned by “Young & Draper”. The “Two Hills” library has some locally written history of the county. Contact to see if they have any regarding your query. Also as Derwent is closer to the schools location, you might ask if they have any locally written history Just an FYI, Note: surrounding landowners in 1923 received their mail via “Angle Lake PO (post office)”, more so than the “Monkman PO”.

  • Thank you, both, for taking the time to look up that information for me! I must I admit, I was rather surprised to strike out completely when I did a search, and I will follow up with your suggestions.

  • I too am a product of a one room school, specifically the Trails End School. On a recent trip to visit to that area my brother and I were discussing the subject of ancestry and lo and behold he produced the minute book of the Trails End School district # 4292 located on a 5 acre piece of NW 11-58 27 W4. The first meeting was held on 10 May 1927 and the last meeting was held on 11 February 1950. The last meeting was held to discuss the moving of the school building. The school building was sold to a local farmer to use as his family farm home, and is still being used today for that purpose. I attended that school from 1946 to 1950 at which time my brother and I were bussed to a larger 4 room school in Busby Alberta.

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