Long Coulee School No. 1531

Long Coulee School - taken in 1919. Located 5 miles north and 1½ miles west of Champion - 1907-1941

On August 7, 1906, Long Coulee School District No. 1531 was established. The name of the school was a descriptive of the lone prairie. It was located on the SE quarter of 1-16-24-W4. Directions from Vulcan – South 6 miles on Highway 23, turn east onto Township Road 160 (Coalmine Road) for 1¾ miles; Champion – North 4 miles on Highway 23, turn east onto Township Road 160 for 1¾ miles. Latitude 50.31021, Longitude -113.17786

Frieda Maisey wrote the history for Long Coulee School in the Champion and Vulcan area history books. Long Coulee School was built and opened in the spring of 1907. Henry Schmeelke and his son Bill helped to build it. The first teacher was Charlie Galbraith. Some of the other early teachers were: Miss Chambers, Roy Patterson, Harry Hill, Miss McKenna, and Miss Page. Some of them boarded at Wards and T. Sissons.

Early pupils were: Bud Roberts; Ole, Martha, Henry, Gonda, Ed, and Louis Selland; Leone, Naomi, Clarence, Orville, and Lucille Galloway; Ermine (Sid) Sisson and Merle and Dale Galloway (children of Jess Galloway); Wesley and Minetta Sinclair; Wheelers; Elsie, Zella, Marguerite and Winnie Todd; and Reg Sansome. All rode horseback or walked.

Mr. Joseph Sansome was janitor up to 1930.

Various trustees were: T. Sisson, Bill Schmeelke, Guy Dow, S. Selland, and Jack Roebuck.

Later teachers were: Dorothy Jessup from Nanton, Katherine Thurston, Florence Woodhull, Muriel Archer, Mr. Poirier, Mrs. Ewald Matlock, Gertrude Roebuck, Elsie McLean, and Ivah Miller.

Some later students attending Long Coulee were: Galloways, Cliffords, Dows, Stones, Johnsons, Roberts, Roebucks, Hames, Dahl, Howerton, Everett and Barbara Todd, Lawrence Soper, Willmont Dodge, Mary Sisson, Edna Lock, Caufields, Sullivans and Matlocks.

Molly and Grace Sullivan started at Long Coulee school, which was a three and a half mile walk. In very cold weather, their father would heat bricks and wrap them in sacks to put in the buggy or sleigh and take the girls to school. The teacher at that time was Mrs. Bob Todd, who came to school on horseback. Other teachers were: Mrs. Law, Miss Thirst from Fernie, B.C., and Miss Dorothy Jessup from Nanton. Mr.. Joseph Sansome was the first caretaker.

The hills nearby provided a large playground. In the winter the children were on the hills with their sleds. Barbara Dow remembers a unique sport. The students had a wooden sleigh and they used it in spring and fall and slid down the hills on the grass. It must have been quite a large sleigh because groups of them piled on and down they would go. The coulee was an interesting spot too. The children played there when there was water, sometimes a huge spring flood, sometimes a trickle, but always of interest.

One night while a young teacher was boarding with Sissons, there was a heavy sleet storm and Mary Sisson and the teacher skated over the snowy roads to Champion. They had been snowbound for quite awhile so they really enjoyed seeing the bright lights of Champion.

People often had the teacher in for supper and sometimes the teacher stayed overnight. One night in early fall this teacher stayed at Ewald Matlock’s. The aurora borealis put on a beautiful display that night and the children and herself took their beds outside where they watched the glorious colors.

Some of the tricks Ted Hames remembers: snaring gophers at recess and letting them loose in class, lighting black powder (acquired at the coal mine) in the cloak room, aiming a spit ball so well that the addition of a curtain around the teacher’s desk became a necessity. He did not say who the marksman was.

The highlights of the year were the Christmas concert and the Sunday School picnic. The trip to the concert was often made in a cutter. To keep warm, they had straw blankets and heated stones. The trip was almost as exciting as the concert. It was wonderful to have Santa Claus give them the long awaited candy bag and a couple of gifts. These seemed so precious, for gifts were so few in those days.

Long Coulee Christmas Concert. Alice Blue Gown Drill presented by Ivah Miller's students. The older students made the dresses at school. L. to R.: Rita Chambers, Wilma Matlock, Barbara Todd, Mary Molnar, Shirley Chambers, Peggy Chambers.

Long Coulee closed in 1941 and sat empty for some time, then was moved into Champion to be used as the Masonic Lodge Hall.

More information about Long Coulee School may be found in “Cleverville Champion 1905 to 1970,” “Wheat Country – a history of Vulcan and District” and “Champion and District School Reunion 1906-1961”, at the Vulcan and District Archives and from school directories (maps and driving directions) which are available at the Village of Champion Office, the Champion Pioneer Club and the Vulcan & District Museum.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.