East Arrowwood School No. 3201

East Arrowwood School marker

East Arrowwood School was often referred to as the little school two miles east and one and a half miles south of where the town of Arrowwood is now. It was established on November 25, 1914 and built in 1915. Directions from Arrowwood are – East on Township Rd 205A (follows north side of railway) for 2 miles, turn south on Range Rd 232 for 1 mile Latitude 50.71804, Longitude -113.09777

“The Arrowwood (Mistsa-Katpiskoo) Story: In the Shadow of the Buffalo Hills,”  a local history book written in 1964 tells:

In the early years a need for a school was quite apparent so the first building was erected on the farm now owned by Leigh Williams southeast of Arrowwood. This location was chosen as a central place for families with children of school age at this time. On the first School Board were Dr. G.A. Shamberger, Herb Bennett, John Allstot and later Ira Miller, with John Brubaker as Secretary-treasurer.

(Absalom Morrison built Arrowwood School – from A Century of Memories: Okotoks and district 1883-1983.)

Mr. Burr was the first teacher and pupils drove or walked from miles around to attend. Some of the early teachers were Miss Viola Giberson, now Mrs. Steve Williams, Miss Schessler and Miss Bennett.

The overflow was moved into the basement of the Brethren Church and high school classes started. The teachers carried on in spite of difficulties and many an Arrowwood farmer had his first schooling at the little school on the hill. Mr. Young and Miss Fanny Lyle conducted classes in those far-off days, also Mr. Louden and Mr. Mack Lyle.

That original school building was moved into Arrowwood and used as a store by J. S. Culp and later as a teacherage.

This arrangement carried on until the Consolidated School was built in 1918. This was a forward step and was to set the pattern for many other districts in Alberta. Schools have always been of paramount importance in our area and we were loath to see our high school students shunted hither and yon after the big unit came into being. First they were sent to Cluny, then to Milo, over to Mossleigh and finally down to Vulcan.

In the second history book, “Furrows of Time-a history of Arrowwood and Shouldice, Mossleigh and Farrow,” there is more information.

Miss Grace Bennett was the first teacher. John Burr finished the term and taught part of the second term. Other teachers were Mrs. Shesler, Mack Lyle and Miss Giberson (Mrs. Steve Williams). Pupils walked, rode horseback or went to school in a buggy. By 1918 there were 29 students attending and the little one-room school was overcrowded. Some classes were moved to the basement of the Brethren Church on the hill southeast of the present village, and a new school was planned. It was decided to consolidate several districts into one large one and build a school to serve the whole area. East Arrowwood School was established in 1914 and closed in 1919, when the small schools in the area consolidated into one larger district with one big school, Arrowwood Consolidated 59.

All the children of Frank and Nellie Armey, except the youngest, Irma, drove four miles by horse and buggy to the one room school two miles east and one mile south of Arrrowwood until the consolidated school was built. Then they went in a motor van for a short while until it was replaced by a horse-drawn van. They were picked up around 7 A.M. and got home around 5 P.M. The route for them was eight or nine miles each way and it was a long trip for six or seven year olds. Frank served as the secretary-treasurer on the school board at that time and had a part in making the arrangements for the new school to be built. He continued as trustee for 10 or more years following.

Mildred (Bennett) Robison tells of a one-room school built about 1916. Their land was four miles east and one mile south of Arrowwood. The school was two miles west of them. The first teacher was her aunt, Grace Bennett. They walked or rode horse back to school. In 1919, when the Arrowwood Consolidated School was built, they rode in the school van to school.

Some family names were Pobst, Brubaker, Cottrell, Miller, Shatto, Lehman, Irwin, Bennett, McCann, Beagle, Miller, Bagley.

More information about East Arrowwood School may be found in “Furrows of Time-a history of Arrowwood and Shouldice, Mossleigh and Farrow,” at the Vulcan Archives and from school directories available at Aspen Crossing, Mossleigh, the Arrowwood Museum, the Arrowwood Post Office and the Vulcan & District Museum.

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