Milo School No. 4251

Milo School 1927·28: Teachers Thelma Ferngren, grades 1 to 8 and Bea Buckley, grades 9 to 11. Back row; Lloyd Peterson, Dean Haggins, Marguerite Jackson, Winnie Manner, Marjorie Shore, Emma Jean Severns, Hjerdis Johnson, Ragna Thompson, Christina Johnson, Kathleen Shore. Second row: Harry Mclntyre, Alma Vennesland, Loretta Gilbourne, Hilda Page, Pat Coleman, Eileen Brinker, Iva Jones, Lucy Mclntyre, ?, Nelsie Robertson, Danny Gilborne. Front row: Clarence Lahd?, Howard St. Peter, Pat Mclntyre, Gerald Haggins, Tom Severns, Llewellyn Hughes, Mike Mcintyre, Donald Brinker.

When Milo was moved in 1924 to its new location, the need for a school became urgent. Classes were held in the United Church basement and also in a building later used as the school barn. Milo School District was established on May 19, 1926.

A two-room school was built on SW 5-19-21-W4, with the school marker being located along Highway 542 in front of the Milo Seed Cleaning Elevator. Latitude 50.57235, Longitude -112.88540

The contractors were Alex Soderling and Jergen Jacobson. Alexander Soderling played a role in the erecting of most of the buildings in Milo, including the first Milo School. Elaine, Bud and Ruth Soderling attended Milo School.

The first school board of the new Milo School District No. 4251 was Earl A. Jones; W. Frank Harvey and M. L. (Roy) Haggins. Dick Shore may have been a member. We read in the board minutes of their first meeting that they would make an offer to J. J. Aasgard for four acres of land at $50 per acre, to be used as the school site. $8,000 was borrowed to cover the land payment and construction of the building. It was finished and ready for use in December 1926.

Salaries noted at this time were $1200 per annum for the primary teacher and $1500 for the principal. Grades one to eleven were being taught in 1927. The first principal was Bea Buckley (Parlby) fresh from Normal school, aided by Thelma Ferngren (Oneil) in the primary room. There was a total enrollment of 26 pupils.

The town of Milo was only a little way past its beginning stage. Houses were few, and to find a home with room for the teacher was difficult. Mrs. Haggins, out of the kindness of her heart, took her into her home in the basement of the barbershop and poolroom. The houses were being built on what had recently been summer-fallowed field. The school was newer still, only in the building stage, with no hope of occupancy until close to Christmas. Thelma Ferngren was to teach public school in the church basement. Beatrice had her classes in the school barn, a recently built building, floored for the occasion. Beatrice and Thelma traded teaching assignments, since the very wet fall made the church basement too damp for Thelma, who was recuperating from rheumatic fever.

Beatrice remembers the tragedy of the spinal meningitis epidemic in the fall of 1926 and early winter of 1927. Helen Burk had been her star student and her sudden passing left a great gap in the school life.

The term 1928-29 boasted three principals: Nimmons, Sanger and Rodie. This “lost term” was soon made up for when Ernest Cully came to the helm. During his reign from 1929-34, the girls’ basketball team became famous. In its two years’ existence, they defeated Arrowwood, Brant, etc., as well as the Crescent Heights team at Calgary.

In 1934, Henry Allergoth became principal, while Rachel Robertson took over the Junior room. Mr. Allergoth was principal of Milo High School from 1934 to 1943, and at no time was his life confined to being “just a teacher.” From dawn to long past dark, he worked with people and for people, especially the young people.

The school years were not too eventful.  There was a whooping cough and a chickenpox epidemic. The school was closed for a couple of weeks for the former. Several of the high school pupils wrote their final exams all “poxie” in the cloak rooms.

Those were the dusty years, and to Rachel Robertson the song, “Tumbling Tumble Weed,” revives memories of Milo. One day the dust was so bad, the group from the high school room had to move into the elementary room to write exams, as the dust and ink from fountain pens just didn’t combine properly.

In 1939, the Milo Dormitory was organized to accommodate the rural pupils coming in to high school. There continued to be a dormitory until the closing of the high school in 1945.

Clifford Webber and first school bus, 1943-44.

The rural schools were gradually closed and vanned into Milo in the ’30’s and early ’40’s. The Corbie Hill school building was moved in to be used as a third room for the Junior grades. Pioneer school was moved in for a fourth room in 1944-45.

Milo School District was drawn into the Bow Valley School Division in 1943. In April of 1953, the new school opened under the operation of the County of Vulcan, and the High School returned for a time. Milo School continues to be in operation in 2010 as an elementary/junior high school in Palliser Regional School Division.

More information about Milo School may be found in “Snake Valley- a history of Lake McGregor and Area,” at the Vulcan and District Archives and from school directories (maps and driving directions) which are available at the Milo Village Office, the Milo Municipal Library and the Vulcan & District Museum.

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