Department of Education - Rural Schools (Shuswap)

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Department of Education - Rural Schools (Shuswap)

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Dates of existence

1908 - 1948

History

Tappen Valley School
When Charles Henry (Charlie) Brooke donated the land for Tappen Valley School he also ensured his children’s education. He had recently moved to Cardinal Ranch in Tappen October 31, 1914. His diaries document a list of activities. He started getting to know the community by personally circulating a petition for a school and, after a Mr. McArthur rescinded his offer of a site for the school, Brooke donated an acre of land himself. It was located on the Tappen Valley Road.

It is believed that, until the Tappen Valley School opened, Brooke took his children to the Tappen School on Bolton Road. On December 15, 1914 Brooke calculated an estimate for the cost of building a new school. A meeting was called and initially, one of the parents, a Mr. Fox, opted out of the project, wanting to send his children to Kault (Kualt) school.

An election of school trustees was held December 28, 1914. Three candidates are recorded in C.H. Brooke’s diaries. Fowler received 15 votes, Brooke 17 and Sweeten 12. It was agreed that all present were entitled to vote, including the women. When it was decided to include the votes of the women present, the meeting had to be quickly adjourned until Brooke could consult the Act. It appeared that women had the right to vote for School Trustees.

Local residents built the one–room school from hand–hewn logs and it was completed in 1915. Neighbours who helped build the school were listed in Charlie Brooke’s diaries: Moseley, Lee, T. Sweeten, G. Sweeten, Fowler, McDonald, S. Elliott, Blair, Gardiner, W. Rogers, C. Laingslow, Woolett, Eggleshaw, and Charlie Brooke.

Acting for the Trustees, Brooke negotiated with and hired Mrs. Eveleen Parker. In an exchange of telegraphs Mrs. Parker responded that she would come January 3rd.

The early teachers were:
• Mrs. Eveleen B. Parker from Revelstoke (~January to June 1915)
• Miss Stirling (August 1915 – December 1916)
• Miss Preston (January 1917 – December 1917). Miss Preston boarded with the Brooke family. Miss Preston may have taught at the Tappen Valley School until June 1918 but there is no surviving register for this year. She asked for a recommendation February 5, 1918.
• Miss E.A. Coles, September 1918 to 1921 (only a partial record has survived for 1921).

When, some years later, the Carlin School Parent Teachers’ Association compiled a cookbook as a fundraiser, Norma Surtees supplied information about the years she taught at the Tappen Valley School (1933–1935). She wrote that it was the teacher’s job to keep the school clean, light the fire, and carry water. The students under her charge were very co–operative and helpful. Older students would arrive at the school before her to get the fire going, and all the students did their share in keeping the school clean. Douglas Miller, a neighbour across the road, used to bring a bucket of water daily for the school children.

According to Allan Wilson, the school served the community of students until 1951, when Carlin Elementary School opened.

After the school was decommissioned the land it sat on was eventually purchased by the owners of a fuse plant in 1969. The old school log building was not required by the new owner, so arrangements were made for Keven Julian (Julian) Codd to move it across the road to his property, formerly Douglas Miller’s farm. The building was used for storage until it was accidently burned in a grass fire in 2010.

Carlin Siding School
The first location for Carlin Siding School was in a log building on land owned by (Thomas Alfred) Saintabin on Tappen–Notch Hill Road, east of the railway crossing where the trestle came across.

When the new school was opened in 1908, Josephine Bledsoe (nee Saintabin) was five. She was sent to school because there were not enough students to open the school. She remembers her first teacher was Miss Greenwood, followed by Carrie Peterson, May Johnson and then Miss Langlow (sic Langslow).

Miss Hilda Hutton was the next teacher, but resigned in December. The School Trustees hired a new teacher, Miss May Cecelia Rath and she and the students moved into a new building on Robert Gardiner’s farm. The old school remained on site and was used by Saintabin for storage.

The new school was also log and is well photographed. Moving the school operation closer to White Lake allowed the Finish children from that area to attend as well. It was only a four mile walk! By September 1913 attendance had jumped to 24 students from 17 in the previous year.

There are conflicting reports of when this move happened, but according to the Observer it was nearing completion in December 1912. In the 1913 register the teacher notes the attendance record on January 7th because the “School was not finished” the previous day. Three students transferred to Balmoral School – Dolf, Louise and Frank Oulette (Ouillette)– resulting in only a net increase of 6 new students. New students were Ernest and Minnie Maki, Vilju (Viljo) Mikkelson, Victor Robinson, Annie and Aile Harju.

The second location was below the present day Carlin Elementary Middle School, on the same side of the highway.

At some point the Gardiner property changed ownership and came into the hands of Joseph Rabie. When Rabie died in 1936, the property was divided amongst family members. Work on the highway further divided the Rabie property.

According to Allan Wilson, the log building served the community of students until 1951 when Carlin Elementary School was opened.
The Carlin Siding School was moved to Three Valley Gap, west of Revelstoke, in 1965.

Lee Creek School
Historically school children in Lee Creek had to leave the community for their education according to the North Shuswap Historical Society publication Shuswap Chronicles. They boarded nearby in Blind Bay and Sorrento for instruction but by 1918 there were enough school–aged children to form a school. Residents of Lee Creek lobbied the Department of Education and in May 1919 the School Inspector visited Lee Creek. He recommended that the catchment area for students be extended from the Adams River to Scotch Creek Indian Reserve to help the area qualify for a subsidy. $150 was granted to help with building expenses and Oliver Freeman, a bachelor, donated an acre of land by the lake for a site.

At a meeting of ratepayers on July 12, 1919 school trustees Mrs. Alex McKay, Bill Dempster, Ray Corning, and Bill McKay were elected.

A five hundred square foot school was built with lumber donated by Freeman. Carpenter Alex McKay designed and supervised the project with help from Ray Corning, Bill McKay, and James Lockerby. Emil De Portier and James Freeman helped cut a road to improve access to the site.

The school was opened in September and Winnifred Smythe of Revelstoke was hired to teach 12 students. The school also served as a community hall for political meetings, dances, parties, and church services.

The school closed for lack of students in 1928 when Barbara Wood and others moved to Kamloops for high school education. It opened again in 1934 for three years and Mrs. Spears was hired to teach. It was closed again until 1950, when it opened until 1954. Eventually school buses were used to take students to Celista and beyond for school.

According to author Jim Cooperman, the building became a garage for a time and fell into disrepair. It was torn down in the 1990s.

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