Blind Creek School No. 1881

Blind Creek School was established on September 10, 1908. It was located on the SW quarter of 14-21-25-W4. Directions today are: From Mossleigh – West on Hwy 24 for 3 1/2 miles, follow curve North for 3 1/2 miles, turn East on Twp Rd 212 for 2 miles, turn North on Rge Rd 252 for 1/2 mile. Latitude 50.78294, Longitude -113.37511

There are two theories about the origin of the interesting name. One is that it refers to the creek that wanders aimlessly through the district. The other theory has it that early range riders found a small herd of McHugh’s cattle sheltered from a storm in the creek bottom, their eyes frozen shut by the wet freezing snow, making them hard to handle.

The first school was built in 1909 on SW 14-21-25-W4. Mr. Frank Fair, Mr. Clyde Fair and Mr. Loblaw were responsible for the organizing of the school. They had been trying for some time, but there weren’t enough school age children. Finally there were enough. Frank Fair, being a carpenter by trade, built the school. The school board had borrowed “the sum of one thousand dollars for the purpose of purchasing and fencing school site, building and furnishing a school house and erecting out-buildings.”

The first teacher was Miss Wady and the first students were Lelia (Mrs. Wilson), Earl and Lloyd Fair, Emerald Fair, Ruth, Bill and Hunter Loblaw. The Wallace, Charles and MacCormack children were some of the next ones on the school roll. Some of the early teachers were Miss Kidd, Miss Margaret Betz, Miss MacPherson, Miss Wilcox, Miss Campbell, Miss Lena Dick, Mr. Tom Fritz, Miss Tinney, Miss Smith, Miss Garbeson, Miss Gladys Eckstrom, Miss Evelyn Larson and Miss Pearl Liversidge.

In earlier years the school opened in March or at Easter time and closed in December or at Christmas time. Not many teachers came back for a second term. They moved quite frequently or married.

The school was used for dances and was the community centre in its time until larger schools and halls were built in nearby towns. Church services were held there, starting in 1915, when Mr. Piper, the Methodist minister, came from Carseland to organize a church. In 1915, the Blind Creek Ladies Aid was formed to assist with expenses incidental to a church and to serve as a source for social activity. At their 1917 Community Day held in July, as the crops had been good, there were several new “Tin Lizzies” making their appearance. Also visible were several spruce young bachelors escorting the current schoolteachers, although the war had greatly thinned the ranks of bachelors.

About this time, the school population was increasing, and meetings were held proposing the division of the district and the building of another school. The school district was larger than average, but it was still too small to be split in two. The need for a high school resulted in a compromise. In 1929, a new school was built, Blind Creek II. The first Blind Creek School was moved into Mossleigh and became the Rex Cafe. This building burned December 26, 1943. The only thing saved from the Rex Cafe was Quon Kay’s turkey.

In 1929 a new stucco two-roomed school was opened 2 miles west of the old school site to meet the increased population of the district. It was located on the NE quarter of 9-21-25-W4. Directions from Mossleigh – West on Hwy 24 for 3 1/2 miles, follow curve North for 3 1/2 miles, turn East on Twp Rd 212 for 1 mile. Latitude 50.77609, Longitude -113.39829

It was built at a cost of $4,000.00 and was contracted to George Leith of Arrowwood. Mr. Wilfred Hagedorn helped with the building of this two-room school. His violin helped provide music for school house dances. The school opened on January 30, 1930, with grades one to twelve being taught. Mr. George Garnett and Miss Dorothy Ruzalski were the first teachers. Two long-time members of the school board were Carl Thacker, board member and secretary-treasurer for over twenty years, and George Mace with many years of service to the community as chairman. From 1930, the teachers were: Marjorie Gibson, Miss Johnson, Adelaide Brocklebank, Hazel Six, Marguerite (Dawson) Eaton, Julia (Short) Hagedorn, Doris Standly and May Smith.

The larger school led to more sports activities, a girls’ outdoor basketball team was active for a time, though the popular recreation, especially in the wintertime, was dancing and parties. The annual Christmas concert was quite an elaborate affair about this time, with planning and practices starting early in the fall.

The enrollment in the new school went to about fifty-six pupils. Quite a few local pupils and some from nearby districts came to take advantage of the high school facilities. With the coming of centralization, the children were taken by school vans to larger centers. In 1939, Blind Creek S.D. became part of Foothills School Division No. 38 with a centralized school at Mossleigh.

The school building was used for grain storage in the 40’s and 50’s and remained standing until November 16, 2001 when a fire consumed the building. This was the third fire at the school in less than a year. Firefighters from Arrowwood and Carseland fought the flames. Since it was a structure fire, an ambulance from the Vulcan and District EMS was also called. A sad end.

More information about Blind Creek School may be found in “Furrows of Time-a history of Arrowwood and Shouldice, Mossleigh and Farrow” and “Trails to the Bow, Carseland and Cheadle Chronicles” at the Vulcan and District Archives and from school directories (maps and driving directions) which are available at Aspen Crossing, Mossleigh, the Arrowwood Museum, the Arrowwood Post Office and the Vulcan & District Museum.

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