1907 – 1958
In 2021 my wife and I travelled to southeast Saskatchewan. Our main goal for the trip was to photograph some of the rural fieldstone structures such as churches, schools and farm houses and it was very successful. Our quest for stone structures didn’t mean that we would pass up the opportunity to photograph a standing one room schoolhouse made of wood, especially given that most of the old schoolhouses on the prairies are made of lumber or logs. On this day we were heading to the stone Hearts of Oak School and our route would take us very close to Edenvaile School so that school became a destination as well. In fact the two schools are only 23 km apart (less as the crows fly). I’m glad we took the time to photograph this school because it has some unique features that I’ll describe in this blog.
I always avoid giving out locations on social media because I don’t want to be responsible for any theft or damage caused by someone who might be scanning blogs and social media for their malevolent purposes. However, I also believe that to read about a place or event it’s important to know approximately where it’s located because that gives context to a story or photograph. I’ll try to find a balance between these two mutually exclusive goals by providing you with an approximate location. The map below shows where this school is still standing.
It came as no surprise that the people who settled in this district were largely Danish. When I wrote the blog post about Hearts of Oak School, I learned that the locals were Danish and that school is just south of Edenvaile. Of course not everyone was Danish. Their first meeting to plan for the school was held in the home of W.C. Webster (a very English name). Originally I thought that they should have named the school after him because Webster was said to have donated the land for the school. However another source said that Webster was paid $25.00 for one acre of land where the school sits. Perhaps that was a good price back then? There is a small ravine or dip near the school and that’s the border of the property.
This little corner of land was separated by the rest of the farm by a little slough or ravine. Former students will remember the ball games when the ball rolled down into the water.Dorothy (Tudhope) Tasker
The planning of this school started none too soon as there were already 29 children between the ages of five and sixteen and another 10 that were under five. Fortunately in April 1907 tenders for construction were issued and they accepted one for $1,170.00.
Alice MacMillan was the first teacher hired for the school and for this she was paid $55.00 per month. The term ran from August to December and then from March to the end of June. It was just too cold to keep the school open in January and February. Ms MacMillan’s salary was pretty good considering that she didn’t have to shovel the snow or clean out the stables. A man was hired for those and similar tasks including plowing a fireguard around the school. They didn’t have a handy source of water until 1910 when Walter Morris was hired to dig a well for 75 cents a foot.
Water for drinking purposes at the school was always a problem. In 1910 Walter Morris was hired to dig a well, put in cribbing and bank it up. For his labor Mr. Morris received $12 and the cribbing cost $9.60. Six months later Elmer Frisk received $3 for filling in a well. Could it have been the same well?Dorothy (Tudhope) Tasker
In January 1919 the school was closed due to the Spanish Flu epidemic. It reopened again in August 1919. A lot of people died during that epidemic, especially children. In that way it was quite the opposite of the modern Covid-19 pandemic as Covid-19 was of particular concern to older people while the Spanish Flu was most deadly to children (although many adults also died from the flu).
Those chains that you can see on the image above were used to strengthen to the walls. In 1965 the school was sold for $300.00 to Alfred Peterson who likely used it for a granary.
Here’s a puzzle. There is no mention of a teacherage until 1948 when a building was moved across the road so that the teachers “would not have to search for a place to room and board.” However the image below shows a small add-on that looks like a teacherage and there was a stove inside it. Did the writers of the local history book forget about the old teacherage? Perhaps it was considered unfit for use by teachers after the first few years. Did it serve some other purpose? I don’t know.
The “new” teacherage appears to be an old school moved here from somewhere else. It might have originally been the Oxbow School as they merged with Edenvaile School in 1946. The teacherage looked to my eyes like it was larger than Edenvaile School and might even have had an upstairs. You would think that I would remember an upstairs from my visit and going inside but unfortunately I don’t recall or maybe I just couldn’t see it in the dark. It was very dark in this building because the windows were boarded up.
According to Beth (Peterson) George, Edenvaile school was the centre for social events including dances, box and pie socials, ball games, Christmas concerts and picnics. In the 1920s the Dannevirke Lutheran congregation used the school for their Sunday services until they built their own church.
I don’t know what year that the old black and white image above left was taken but it’s at least older than 2010 as that is the date of the publication of the local history book, cited below. The image on the right must have been taken to commemorate the last year of the school because Helen Swayze was the final teacher at Edenvaile School.
The above quotes from Dorothy (Tudhope) Tasker, were obtained from Precious Memories of Time : A Salute to the Pioneers of Wauchope and Parkman. In November of 1952, Walter Tasker married Dorothy Edith Tudhope, who was born at Wordsworth, Sask., daughter of William Tudhope and Caroline (Lena) Solomons of Wordsworth (SW of Arcola). Walter Tasker went to school at Middleburg and Edenvaile, worked on farms at Souris, Forrest and Redvers and spent some time in the army in the winter of 1942-43. Dorothy went to school at Wordsworth and Carlyle and to Normal School in Regina, starting on the day that WW2 was declared. After graduation she taught at Enniskillen, Browning, Edenvaile and Yale Schools.
Portrait of Change, The Journey Forward: Memories of Redvers and District, published in 2010 by the Redvers and District History Book Committee and Redvers Centennial Committee in Redvers, Saskatchewan.
Precious Memories of Time : A Salute to the Pioneers of Wauchope and Parkman, published in 1989 by the Wauchope and Parkman Historical Society. Focus Publishing, Regina, Saskatchewan.
The Rise and Fall of a Prairie Town, A History of Lauder, Manitoba and the Surrounding District. Volume 6. June 1991, Gordon Phillips. This was used solely for the biography of Dorothy (Tudhope) Tasker.
Frank Korvenmaker has a number of copies of the book Legacy of Worship for sale. They retail at $40 (plus tax) in bookstores, if available. He is selling them at $25 (no tax), plus shipping, usually in the $15-$20 range. For any person or group wanting to buy books in bulk, he is selling them for $10 per book on orders of 10 copies or more. Pick-up of bulk orders may be arranged between the the buyer and Frank in Regina for those who may be passing through. Email Frank Korvenmaker at email@example.com for details and to discuss shipping. I receive no commission or other remuneration for assisting Frank to sell this book.
If you visit the structures shown in this blog, or any other old and potentially abandoned structure, please respect the landowners” rights and obtain their permission to access and photograph their structures. Always exercise caution when visiting abandoned buildings as there are potential dangers such as crumbling structures, deep wells hidden by grass, and even spores of mould in the air.