Big party for small schools
Education: Red Deer Lake’s first schoolhouse still standing at Lloyd Park
Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 10:43 am
Red Deer Lake schools and area timeline supplied by the organizers of the 130th anniversary of education in the area:
1888 — RDL school takes place in Jane and Ben Lloyd’s one-room house.
1889 — First one-room schoolhouse built
1901 — Second one-room schoolhouse built
1904 — Community hall built
1909 — RDL United Church built
1910 — Third one-room schoolhouse built
1930 — Women’s Riding Club formed
1933/’34 — Red Deer Lake general store built
1938 February — One-room schoolhouse burned down
1938 Summer — Fourth one-room schoolhouse built
1949 — Curling rink is built
1955 — Multi-room RDL schoolhouse built
2008 — Present Red Deer Lake school built
There might have been a one-room schoolhouse at Red Deer Lake for more than 65 years, but discipline was always a priority.
“We had a teacher named Miss Lynn and she was a real tomboy,” said Mary (Bruketa) Kemle, who went to a one-room Red Deer Lake schoolhouse until Grade 8 in the 1930s and early ’40s. “At recess, the boys would jump out the windows and she would jump out right after them.”
Kemle was one of approximately 100 people who attended the celebration of the 130th anniversary of schools in the area, at Lloyd Park on Oct. 15.
The majority were Red Deer Lake schools alumni.
The first school started when Maggie McArthur taught at the Jeromes’ log house at Red Deer Lake (RDL) in 1887.
After a year, RDL school was held at Ben and Jane Lloyd’s in their one-room log home.
The first one-room schoolhouse was built in 1889 less than a kilometre northeast of the Lloyd Park entrance (it has since been moved to Lloyd Park).
Although there were other one-room schoolhouses built in the area, the original grand old lady is the last one standing.
A new school was built closer to Highway 22X in 1901.
A “modern” school was built in 1910 and was used until it burned down in 1938.
Classes were held in the Red Deer Lake church for the winter term, but another school — the fourth one-room schoolhouse — was ready by the summer of 1938.
It is no longer around and its last classes were in 1955, when the multi-room Ballyhamage School was built.
Ron Goodwin attended the third one-room schoolhouse for a brief period.
“I went to school there and it burned down in Grade 1 or something, so I was in the church for a year while they built a new school — and that school is gone now,” said Goodwin, while some old ragtime jazz played in the background at Lloyd Park.
Goodwin was in a classroom of about 25 students from Grade 1 to 9 at Red Deer Lake.
“It was fine, you didn’t know any better,” Goodwin said. “It was just normal.”
The original school was heated by an old woodstove, but by the time Goodwin got to the third installment of the Red Deer Lake schoolhouse, he received some added responsibility.
“The one I went to had a more modern one (heating system), it had coal,” Goodwin said. “I lived close by and I was old enough that I would go and light the fire and get the school warmed up for class. I think I was about 10.”
He also has fond memories of a certain teacher.
“Miss Lynn, she was a good teacher, I tell ya,” Goodwin said. “We had more fun. I remember we used to sweep the floor and do chores to raise money to buy a springboard and a box-horse… I think we got paid by the MD or the school division.”
It doesn’t matter what generation it is, a students’ favourite time is playtime.
“It was wonderful — just the camaraderie among the kids,” Kemle said of her Red Deer Lake school days.
“You couldn’t wait for recess, you couldn’t wait for lunch. Everybody just headed out the door to play baseball, tag or hid and seek.
“You had the barn there and the old church — you could hide anywhere… They were very good memories.”
The Bruketa family has been a mainstay at Red Deer Lake school for well over a half-a-century.
Mary was the first of four Bruketa generations that went through the Red Deer Lake school system.
The original schoolhouse at Lloyd Park is filled with memorabilia, including pictures of students who went through the one-room schoolhouses, desks and old books.
Lloyd Park is located off of Highway 22, south on 112 Street.
For further information call the Red Deer Lake Community Association at 403-256-4113.