Mica School No. 2728

Mica school with bars at the window, 1926. Emil Koepke, Katherine K., Mary Harris, Henry K., Nina H., Clifford H., and Evaline McCoubery. (Eyremore P.O.)

Mica School was established on April 25, 1912. It was located on the NW quarter of 24-16-18-W4. Directions from Lomond – North 5 miles on Highway 845, turn east on Highway 539 for 12 miles, turn south on Range Road 181 for 4 miles, turn east on Township Road 164 for ½ mile. Latitude 50.36823, Longitude -112.35282

Mica School opened in the summer of 1922 with 17 pupils. The school was located in a resident’s field (Mr. Harris). Mark Harris gave three acres of the N.E. corner of N.E. 24-16-18. Zella Calvert, who had been at Bow City, taught there in 1930 and 1931 and later she taught in Vauxhall.

Mark and Mary (Mollie) Harris were the fourth family in the Eyremore district. Mark served as chairman for the newly formed school district of Mica. Mrs. Harris was secretary-treasurer for a number of years. There were as many as seventeen pupils attending the school at one time, but in the last few years there were only the three Harris children.

In 1926, one young teacher, Violet Fitzgerald, arrived by train in Brooks and travelled with the mail carrier to Bow City. This was a trip by car over what seemed like thirty miles, across prairie, much of it with no sign of habitation. She was met there by Mark Harris, who had his horse and buggy to take her the seven miles to his house, which was her boarding place.

The school stood in the corner of Harris’s wheat field and because the horses were turned into the field after harvest each fall, it was necessary to nail boards across the windows to keep them from being broken by the animals, thus giving the building an odd prison-like appearance.

She reports: “Those were lean years in the district and Mica suffered lack of equipment. All but the teacher’s desk were homemade, sturdy but very straight and not too comfortable for the children, I’m sure, though I heard no complaints. The front blackboard was regulation type, but all others were just wide boards painted black, very hard to write on and at best the chalk made only a faint impression. We had one map, a map of the world. I was grateful for the maps we were required to make on large sheets of brown paper during teacher training course at the Calgary Normal School, and used them extensively. There was an organ, but unfortunately I had no musical ability. As the weeks and months went by, I found that my pupils made up for any lack in the building itself.

I remained at Mica until June, 1927 and continued my teaching career elsewhere until the time of my marriage to Pat Cragg of Bow City.

Other teachers at the Mica School were: Mrs. Myron Findley of Wheat Centre – 1922-23 and 23-24; Miss Laura Little of Delburne 1924-25; Mrs. Pat Cragg (Violet Fitzgerald) of Calgary 1925-26 and 26-27; Miss Vada Haddigan of Oyen 1927-28 and 28-leaving at Christmas; Miss Edith Hardy of Victoria, B.C. the first part of 1929; Mrs. Anita Alexander (Bublick) of Coalhurst 1929-30; and Miss Zella Calvert of Bow City 1930-31.

Pupils attending the school were: Albert Johnstone, James, Tommy, and Dorothy Burton, Evelyn McCoubrey, Catherine, Henry and Emil Koepke, Nina, Mary and Clifford Harris, Lily and John Chambers, the Weslie Shaw family, James Williams, Clara, Dora, and Lydia Le Blanc.”

About noon one midwinter day in 1928, a terrible blizzard started and lasted well into the night. Thanks to the presence of mind of the teacher, no one was the worse for the ordeal, but the students were glad to get home where a hot breakfast awaited them.

Christmas concerts always highlighted the year. When there were not enough pupils, neighboring talent, young and old, took part. Dances and card parties were held in the homes. Sunday school was also held in various homes until Mica School was built. The collection taken went towards helping pay the ministers’ transportation from Bow City. They were Rev. Whitmore and Rev. Brundage. The organ, donated by Mrs. George Kingsbury, was played by Mollie Harris until Mrs. Brundage was able to come. The congregation dwindled and several of the neighbors took the service for a number of years. The Harris children then attended the Bow City Sunday School.

The school was closed June 30, 1931. Later it was reopened from 1936 to 1941.

Phyllis (Degenstein) Huff started school at Gold Ridge School. The family moved to Lomond district. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter John Degenstein, and 11 children moved to the “Lust” farm. There were 2 large white houses on the farm. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Degenstein and 7 children also moved their family to this site.

Fred Metcalf, school trustee, reopened Mica School in 1936 with Edna Tronnes as teacher. She boarded at the Joe Degenstein home. Attending were seven Degensteins, two Holoboffs and one Williamson. The students attended Mica School from 1936 until it closed in 1941.

The building was purchased by the late Charlie Adams and used as a dwelling until it was destroyed by fire.

More information about Mica School may be found in “History of Lomond and District” and “Settlers along the Bow – a history of Rainier, Bow City”, at the Vulcan and District Archives and from school directories (maps and driving directions) which are available at the Lomond Village Office, Lomond Grainland Hardware and the Vulcan & District Museum.

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