Sanderson School No. 2210

In the year 1910, the homesteaders in the district about twelve miles east of Champion, began to realize the great need for a school. It was quite a battle to get the school built. The biggest stumbling block was a chap named Dougherty, who, although married, had no children. However, Will Sanderson, became a “roaring” advocate and the result was a small school named for him.  He, himself, enjoyed reading a wide variety of literature. They formed the Sanderson School District, Number 2210, established on June 25, 1910. The school was built in 1911 by a carpenter named Mr. Matt Ness on SE 14-15-22-W4. Directions from Champion – East 11 miles on Hwy 529 (last mile is gravel). Latitude 50.25202, Longitude -112.91418. Since Sandersons had the youngest family attending the school, the pioneers chose the school name for them. The school was just across the road from the Sanderson land.

Some of the first pupils to attend included Helmer and John Anderson, Herbert, Bill, Ethel and Sarah Rhodes, Eva and Sadie Barwell and Tom Sanderson.

One of the early teachers well remembered was James Edward Douglas Morton. Some of the other teachers were Muriel Appleby, Belle Crider, Olga Higgins, Miss Barkley, Miss Gibson, Jessie Graham, Mr. John McDonald, Rheta Campbell, Mabel Lyons, Renie Johanson, Helen Holm, Sarah Fleming, Bernard Jordan, Verice Wellman and Marie Matlock.

Some family names of students attending were: Anderson, Ayotte, Brennon, Barwell, Bolstad, Brown, Cananaugh, Dolphin, Eberett, Heatherington, Horn, Hanson, Marshman, Matlock, Martinson, Munton, Newsome, Rhodes, Rob, Ruggles, Rupp, Russel, Sanderson, Scott, Steeves, Ulfsten, Vaage, Williamson and Wolfe.

There were many social activities held in the school. Money had to be raised to buy Christmas gifts, nuts, candies, apples and oranges, to be distributed at the Christmas concert. This annual event was truly the highlight of the year. Each fall, some time in November, a box social was planned and held in the school. The proceeds would go toward the expenses of the concert. Such excitement for children and parents alike.

As Mrs. Walter Edenloff wrote, “Henry and Martin Edenloff were at the Christmas concert at the Sanderson School on Dec. 22, 1938. Upon leaving the school, they saw a fire at their home place. That day they had received a parcel from the T. Eaton Company containing new suits and winter clothes. In those days folk didn’t bank their cash, but kept it in “sugar bowls” if they had any extra money. They had just hauled a grain tank full of coal up to the basement chute, and a freshly butchered hog hung in the basement. The irony of it was, they found their potatoes and pork roasted but no deep freeze to keep them in. Their money and clothes burned, and they didn’t even have the fun of trying them on. All they were able to save was a wheel off the wagon containing the coal which kept the fire burning briskly.”

Cecil Rhodes recalled: At the end of the school year, the annual school picnic was held down at the Little Bow River, more commonly known in those days as the Iron Bridge. This also included many of the parents who came to help. They were the ones who were responsible for all the goodies such as hot dogs, ice-cream, cake and cookies. Everyone took part in the activities, from preschool children to parents. There were peanut scrambles, tug of war, swimming, ball games, and races for chocolate bars.

One of the incidents that I remember, was the night we spent at the school, during the blizzard of 1927. If we were more than four or five feet from the heater we felt as though we would freeze to death. I sometimes think we would have been warmer if we had stood on the south side of the school to get benefit from the heat as it went past. However, Jack and Tom Sanderson braved the howling blizzard. They arrived at the school around supper time with coffee and sandwiches provided by their mother who was a very good cook.

One incident I remember happened in the winter time. We older boys would throw snow balls down the brick chimney at noon hour. Half an hour or so after, when we were all back in our seats, the long stovepipe that ran from the chimney to the stove and was three quarters of the way across the school, started to produce some very “black rain”. This was a mystery to the teacher, as she had to be very careful not to stand under the dripping pipes. After several very “black rain falls”, the teacher figured out what the cause was and we all lost a week of recesses.

Private residence in 2010

The Sanderson school was closed in 1938 and joined Garrard in 1939. It was then moved to the Harmony schoolyard, where it was remodeled inside and used for a residence for the principal. When Harmony school was closed, the teacherage was moved into Champion, where it became a family home.

More information about Sanderson School may be found in “Cleverville Champion 1905 to 1970”  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.

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