I usually have Mondays off and since I was done my errands early enough, I decided to go look for Wood Lake School. It was not too far away and it looked like it was still there from what I could find (top secret research, remember?). I would normally take some back roads but wanted to make sure I had enough time so I took the most direct route, however with the hoar frost that has been hanging around the last couple of days, it was like an entirely different drive. Also I saw some interesting things that I hadn't seen before so today it paid off to take the road often travelled. After a couple of stops, I arrived at my destination and wouldn't you know...no school. I did a couple of drive-bys...to no avail. Resigned, I gave up and headed back.
|Wood Lake School |
Time allowed for me to take a more leisurely way home, so I did. Occasionally while out exploring back roads I'll see a sign for a community centre, I always try to follow these. More often than not they are old schools that were sold to the community. Today I followed a hand made sign, nothing official (the best kind) and I found myself at the Great Bend Community Centre. It was formerly a consolidated school built in 1918 and housed grades 1-9 until it closed in 1966. Part of Wood Lake School District was included in the Great Bend consolidation. Further up the road I came across the Great Bend Cemetery. I don't typically enter cemeteries, nothing superstitious or anything, I just take a moment and then go. I also followed a sign for Cumberland Community Centre and found another former school, it was fenced off so I couldn't get a good look.
|Great Bend Community Centre|
|Great Bend Cemetery Est.1904|
|In Memory of the Pioneers - Settlers of the |
Great Bend District 1905-2000
All in all it was a pretty good day, lost a school and then found it, saw some cool buildings and abandoned places (all made more interesting by the hoar frost), and even saw some deer, a couple coyotes and a llama. I also made it home with time to spare before school let out. My work here is done. For today.
Sources: Pioneering With a Piece of Chalk and Schools of the Parkland: NWT 1886 - Alberta 1967