The First Schools in and around Edgewood BC and the Grand Opening of the New Edgewood School in 1983
SPEECH: Written and delivered by Bernice Rutski, Board Chairperson, on behalf of the Board of School Trustees, on the occasion of the official opening of Edgewood Elementary School, December 2nd, 1983.
It is my great pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the Board of School Trustees, on this momentous occasion.
This evening we witness the culmination of long years of planning and consultation, designing and decisions, by a great number of people.
Now, I’d like to tell you a story – a true story, to take you back on a journey in time; to follow through, from the birth and growth of education, in Edgewood and Inonoaklin Valley – your Valley! I’d also like to name some of the people, and history, involved in this part of your past, some who are now long gone, and those who are with us yet.
Legend has it that the Indians named this Valley. It seems that long ago, before the arrival of the settlers, when the Indians visited the Valley, there was a fire burning, the whole area seemed to be one huge flame. Hence, the name “Fire Valley”.
The year was 1909, the place, Fire Valley School in Sleepy Hollow (which is now on the Gary Wood property). The proposed teacher was a Dr. George Heaton. There was, however, one big problem. The magic number of 6 year olds and up needed to start a school was then 7. There were but 6 youngsters, rumour says, all from one family. Nothing daunted, the elders searched the Valley far and wide, found one little 5-year-old boy named Frank Olds whose schooling began then and there.
That same year, 1909, another school was opened in old Edgewood town site (in what some of you may remember as the old Vroom home) . The teacher here was also a Heaton – named Leonard, and brother to Dr. George Heaton.
1918 saw a new Valley School built by Jack McLeod’s father, and known as the “old school-house”. A retired soldier named Ashmore was the first teacher in this school.
Edith Flick’s brother Harry Olds was Secretary-Treasurer of the local Valley School Board until some time in the mid or late 20’s. Edith Flick attended the Valley School at one time. Some of the teachers during these years were: Cole, Freeman, Don Burch, the late Wilfred Jowett, Dora Olsen and Mary Mills.
Much later in 1973, the old Fire Valley School was rented, and a library was opened by Joanne Shipman and Vivian Paseka, who kept it going for 2 years.
Late in 1979, Ambrose Laboucaine bought the place, is gradually renovating it, and plans to make it his permanent home.
The following year, 1919, old Edgewood had a new Grade 1-8 school.
The dividing line between the old Edgewood and Valley School attendance zones was Ferret Road. This is the road to Gerald Ferguson’s place. Each school had its own School Board at this time as well.
The 1920’s and 1930’s saw farmers come and go. Some farmers felt that the name “Fire Valley”, was a deterrent to gaining new settlers. They were instrumental in having that name changed to “Inonoaklin Valley”.
These years (30’s) were also the “Depression Years”. Scores of people, some young and some not so young, were on the move, looking for work. Due to the then limited access to this Valley, more people came here by design, than by chance. Some who came to teach were Edith Cummings, Mrs. Lees, Freddy Job and Vince Downing. With the advent of war in 1939 many of the young men left this Valley, some temporarily, others forever.
1940’s – Education in the 1940’s, as now, was important to the people, and to certain people that meant getting involved. For several years in the 40’s Minnie deGans, Mother of Margaret Bateman, was a school trustee for the Valley School.
During the years of the 1930’s and up to 1947, for those who wished to go beyond a Grade 8 education, there were 2 choices. One was to take the required courses by correspondence, and the other was to lodge in and attend school in a larger centre, such as Vernon, Nakusp, which was, to say the least, expensive.
Several, who ventured out, were Evelyn DeYeager, Winifred Ferguson and Hedwig Kline who went on to Trail and Vancouver.
1946-47 – Consolidation of schools took place in 1946 and into 1947. This meant that all local schools were incorporated into District No. 10. Local school boards were disbanded. Initially one person was appointed and one was elected to represent this area.
1947 – Changes made by consolidation by 1947 were:
- All Grades 1-4 students from Needles, Edgewood and the Valley went to the Edgewood school. (Elsie Sugden, the teacher)
- Grades 1-5 went to Fauquier School.
- All Grades 6 and 7′ attended the Valley School, Doris B. Gibbs the teacher.
- Grades 8-9-10 went to Needles School (with John Wood as teacher).
1949 – In 1949 a new 2 room Grades 1-6 School was built in Edgewood, while a new 2 room School with Grades 7-12, was built in Needles. This resulted in the closing of the Valley School.
1950 – From January to June of 1950, Hazel Haggart, still of Edgewood, replaced Elsie McBurnie nee Sugden, in the old Edgewood site school.
1950’s – A newcomer to the Valley in 1952 was a teacher named Yvonne Pattie, who taught 1 year here and 1 year in Nakusp, then she and Roy Donselaar were married in 1954 and Yvonne quit teaching. In 1957 Yvonne came back to teach and taught until 1966. Then in 1968-69 she was asked to teach High School students in Needles for its final year.
The year 1952 also saw electrical power made available to the Valley.
1950’s – Two of the trustees who represented the Valley and Edgewood during the 1950’s were Roy Bateman and Roy Donselaar.
As well, old timers, who have left us, Scotty Delvin, Charlie Claridge, and Vance Taylor served on the School Board from other areas of the District during the 50’s.
In 1959, the Edgewood School received an addition of a third room to house the Grades 1-6 students from Fauquier, Needles, Edgewood and the Valley.
The early 1960’s saw the introduction of T.V. to Edgewood and surrounding area.
1962 – By 1962, unease was growing in the District, due to fear of ratification of the Columbia Treaty. This treaty, which could and eventually did, changed the lives and the whole world adversely for a great many people.
1962 and on – Teachers coming into the District from 1962 on, had great difficulty in securing accommodation, due to the influx of Hydro workers in the area.
1962 and 1963 saw two new teachers come to the area, Erick Walters, and a young lady, who soon became Mrs. Terry Ewings. Nina has remained a teacher on staff since that time. Very commendable, Nina!
Mid 1962-66 – During the next few years, mid 1962-66, numerous people – Board members, parents, B.C. Hydro officials and teachers all spent a great deal of time trying to decide on a logical location for a new school. The difficulty was to accurately gauge the potential growth areas.
1966 – The trustees of this time, 1966, some of whom were the late Bill Craft of Fauquier, Don Williams and E. Milne of Edgewood, Robazzo of Burton, Glen Weatherhead and Jotf Lee of Nakusp were striving for a realistic sum of monies to be realized from the sales of schools, garages, teacherages and much land, south of Nakusp, with an option to purchase given buildings from B.C. Hydro, should they so desire. Eventually, the sum of $251,000 was received.
The Superintendent of Schools during the negotiations with B.C. Hydro was Claude Bissell, and H. Miller was the Secretary-Treasurer, until July 1966, when Laura Beingessner took on the job in September 1966. All dealings with B.C. Hydro were done before July 1966.
In 1967 the School Board accepted B.C. Hydro’s offer of 4.1 acres of land on the edge of new Edgewood town site for $1,200. The cost of the ATCO’s (trailers) and set up on the new site was $50,050.
With the impending flooding of Arrow Lakes imminent, October 1968 saw a new 3 room (ATCO) School in New Edgewood town site for Grades 1-7. Grades 8 -12 were bused to Nakusp, with Bill Penner as the driver.
It’s interesting to note that the school populations down the lake, which include High School students, vary little from then to now: Then – 243; Now – 253.
The garage from the old Edgewood town site school and the Needles garage, which Roy Donselaar dismantled, were used to make the 2 bus garage recently demolished to accommodate this new 1983 School.
In 1978-79 a kindergarten room was added to the Edgewood school (due to population explosion a few years earlier). The cost to the School District was $25,000 for the ATCO building alone.
During the years, the School Board, some of whom are with us tonight, was aware that the ATCO’s needed more than band-aid treatment. The buildings were wearing out quickly. Major repairs were needed, and a decision had to be made.
Finally in 1981 definite steps were taken. Late that year (81) Ministry Officials visited the District and the necessity for a new building was concurred with.
1981-82 – Much red tape was dealt with by the Senior Administration, (Stewart Ladyman and Norm Kuhn),in the next two years. The file on obtaining a bit of Crown Land is one inch thick.
- 1981 The Board engaged the Architectural firm of Allen, Huggins, Thorburn in early 1982 to draw up plans for this school, estimated cost to be 1.2 million dollars. All staff, the community and various levels of government were involved in its design and services.
What was a dream in ink is now a reality in brick.
My thanks to all for the interest, co-operation and help shown me in my quest for historical information. A special thank you to Yvonne and Roy Donselaar and as well to my patient husband, who has been a brick (no pun intended).
On behalf of the Board of School Trustees I thank all those people, who in any way were involved in making this building a functional, educational environment for the students, and the adults of our Valley.
Awaking of Nature in and around Fauquier
Photos by Peter Klopp
To see more pictures click on the Fauquier page in the menu above.
Richard (Dick) Horace Andrew Hall
A Call for Help by Guest Contributor Paul Loseby
My name is Paul Loseby and I live with my wife here in the middle of England. My wife Penny’s heritage takes her through Kent and her she came across something which really saddened her until she heard about Fauquier, BC.
Penny’s grandmother married for a second time in 1946. Her new husband was a Richard Hall who had a son by a previous marriage. That son’s name was Richard (Dick) Horace Andrew Hall and he was born in 1914 in Folkestone in Kent. Throughout the early 1900’s, the Canadian government had been trying to get young men and women to migrate to work on farms or as domestic servants. Many youngsters went willingly but a great many, under the excuse of being unruly children or where their parents were suspected of being unable to bring them up properly, were just taken from their parents and put on a ship. This was contrary to the apparent aims of the people running the scheme – the British Immigration and Colonization Association. There were also many stores of the children being poorly treated and cared for in the new country. An uncertain future indeed.
We don’t know whether Dick went willingly or not but on the 18th October 1928 with the equivalent of a couple of Canadian dollars in his pocket and the clothes he stood up in, he boarded the SS Montcalm in Liverpool. How could this be – a 14 year old child taken from his parents to start a new life alone? Dick was with a group of other minors under a scheme by the BICA whose headquarters were at 87, Osborne Street in Montreal. These premises were also a hostel for the boys where they waited to be distributed throughout Canada. They landed in Quebec on the 20th October.
Sadly not everyone fared well – some boys had committed suicide; not all were found homes and there had been a high failure rate. This led to the BICA being temporarily closed in 1925 so that their affairs could be put in shape.
Dick it seems was one of the lucky ones who not only survived but thrived in his new country. Shortly after arriving, Dick was sent to Stouffville in Ontario. Here he began his work as a farmer’s hand. He was obviously paid well as within three years, he had earned enough money to return to England to see his parents and spend the 1931 Christmas with them. It was obviously his wish to return though as at the beginning of April 1932, he set sail, again on the SS Montcalm, for Halifax.
Dick went straight back to Stouffville and then went to work on another farm owned by a William Hewlett. The following year, still working on the farms, he moved up to Winnipeg in Manitoba. There he worked for a Mr. Lindsay and was earning what would have been a lot of money in those days, $25 CA with his food and accommodation thrown in.
He then had the opportunity to move across to Lander, initially staying with relatives but within a few months, had moved up to the Bralorne mine where he worked for a couple of years. When Canada entered the war, Dick tried to enlist but was rejected on medical grounds. Not deterred and still wanting to help the war effort, Dick moved to the Vancouver Shipyards where he worked during the war.
In 1943, he met and married Alice Gledhill of Aldergrove. He eventually left the shipyards and went to work for BC Electric for eight years before moving to Summerland. In 1951, he was in partnership with his brother in law Morely Austin, running a garage and grocery store in Needles. He stayed running the garage until just before Needles was flooded. In 1966, he moved to Trout Creek where he owned Trout Creek Shell but in September the following year, he died during heart surgery in Vancouver.
My wife and I met and married in 1968 and Penny’s granddad, Dick’s father used to tell us of how proud he was of his son and that he was living in Canada. He obviously never knew that Dick had died the previous year. We wouldn’t normally have pursued the family history of someone who was not a direct blood relative but we did know Dick’s father well and have many memories and photographs of him in his later years. As soon as Penny realized what had happened to ‘Canadian’ Dick, she was heartbroken and in tears. At that time, all we knew was that he had been put on a ship with just the clothes he stood up in and enough money for a drink on the way. How could they do that to him? We just didn’t know. Since then we have tried to find out more about Dick, not just for ourselves but in the hope that we could find Dick’s children, Gordon, Lois or Carol and give them some insight into their grandfather who they would have never known.
Canadian family history can be difficult with no records of births and marriages being readily available online so we have no idea whether ‘the children’ got married and had children of their own. It would appear that after Dick’s passing, Mary his wife, married someone called Jackson as Dick is buried with her in the beautiful Peach Orchard Cemetery.
Now, looking on the internet at the absolutely beautiful place you live in, perhaps we should have moved too. If anyone does have any information or photographs of Dick and his family, we would really love to hear from them. We can be contacted on our email firstname.lastname@example.org
Note by Peter Klopp: An alternative way of sending information via Paul’s email would be the comment section of this post. Thank you, Paul, for writing this touching story on a former resident of Needles, BC. I am confident that the Arrow Lakes Historical Society will add your report to their archives.
… with Limited Storage Room?
This year we had a very large apple crop. The Gravenstein trees were especially fruitful and produced so many baskets full of apples, we now find it hard to store them all. Besides they are not keepers. Three months after the harvest they become all mushy and pulpy. So we decided to dry them and turn them into delicious apple rings, which have a flavor ten times more intense and keep for a very long time without refrigeration.
Boxes and baskets full of Gravenstein apples are waiting to be dried.
To process the apples you need only two things: an old-fashioned apple peeler and a good quality dehydrator. The former is truly a technical marvel going back at least a hundred years and in conjunction with its built-in slicer needs no further improvement.In less than 10 seconds you can peel and slice an apple. The dehydrator (we are using is The American Harvest model) comes with four trays. To fill them all up you need about a dozen mid-sized apples. After 7 to 8 hours of drying in the dehydrator the apple rings have shrunk, so all fit into a small freezer bag. During this time a tantalizing aroma is permeates our entire home. In the end the apples rings turn out to be a gourmet’s delight, full of vitamins and nutritional value. And they are also greatly reduced in weight and size. The photo story below shows how easy it is to do it .
Collect twelve to fifteen mid-sized apples.
This machine can peel and slice the apples in less than 10 seconds.
The apple sits firmly attached to the prongs. Now turn the crank.
With just a few turns we are half way through the apple.
Now take the sliced and pealed apple off the prongs and …
… gently place the apple rings on the tray. All four trays are now filled.
Then put the lid on the trays and set the correct temperature and duration.
Twelve apples or more fit into a small freezer bag. It is easy. Even children can do it.