Friday, January 5, 2018

North Cottage School

One of my favourite things to find is old one room country schoolhouses. At the same time as these rural school districts were forming, larger communities needed larger schools. To quickly alleviate the need for schools, 'cottage schools' were built as temporary measures before more permanent brick schools could be built for the growing school aged population. These cottage schools were designed to fit into residential neighbourhoods with the intention of being converted to a home once it was no longer needed as a school.

I have known about a couple of these in Calgary, which I will have to get photos of, but I recently found one not far from where I work, north of downtown in Red Deer.  North Cottage School was one of 2 identical schools built to accommodate the rapidly growing population of Red Deer. Replacing earlier buildings that were torn town. North Cottage was constructed in 1911 and opened in January of 1912. The larger more permanent school was not built until 1954. The 2nd cottage school, that was on the south side of the river, no longer exists.

Interestingly it was never converted to a home as intended and operates today as an Alternative School. It received a renovation in 1989 to restore it to it's original condition and became a registered Alberta Heritage Building in 2009.

Today

I wanted to capture the same angle but there are huge trees blocking the way now, I guess that tends to happen over 106 years. I love how this building has retained its character.

1912 Courtesy of the Red Deer Archives


21 comments:

  1. The area was uninhabited at that time too. Great history lesson, Jenn. It is good to see it still used as a school!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marie!
      Yes looks so barren compared to now, that's why I love finding old photos to match my new ones. :)

      Delete
  2. I've never heard of "cottage schools" before -- interesting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debra, I was looking and if Edmonton has any cottage schools they aren't listed on the historic property list, but Edmonton has lots of cool heritage homes!

      Delete
  3. It's quite distinctive. I can think of one house near where I grew up that served as a country school up until the early 60s before other larger schools replaced it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi William, I find old schools fascinating. I graduated high school with like 400 people which is more than some of these one room schools saw in their entire lives!

      Delete
  4. That old school looks like it was well cared for and loved. It's nice to see the old photo of the school, some changes but still looks grand. Thanks for the history lesson, it's great to know some of the background story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bill! I had heard of cottage schools before but never really knew what it meant. Glad I could learn and also share!

      Delete
  5. Interesting! I'd never heard of them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gorges! I will have to keep my eye out for more, but I guess unless they’re marked...they just look like houses lol!

      Delete
  6. What a beauty! Do you think it was originally painted a dark red like the old train stations? (The new colour scheme is like the Empress Train Station.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michael! It probably was red.
      You’re right! I kinda like that colour scheme.

      Delete
    2. I read all about it, but nowhere mentioned the colour.

      Delete
  7. Nice research and info Jenn. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Frank! It was some new info for me too!

      Delete
  8. Mouth agape in amazement with eyes shaped like hearts <-- the emoji I'd use if you had them. Seriously, what a nice building. And as always I learned something which I love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Thanks Chris! Neat eh? In Calgary there is one in Hillhurst and one in Capital Hill.

      Delete
    2. Never knew! Thanks for bringing them to light. Looked up the Calgary ones - very cool. Might have to swing by and get a few pics.

      Delete
    3. Let me know if you go see them! I might have to do the same and do a follow up post lol! Always thinking about the next photo...

      Delete
  9. Great photos ....
    Started school in 1953 .... Millican Cottage School 1910.
    Community in Calgary ... south east.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Macarena Man, cool! Is that one still there? I know of 2 existing in Calgary. I was born and raised in Calgary but attended school in the 80's-90's.

      Delete