South Richmond School No. 3619 Twin Coulee School No. 3619

Twin Coulee-Summer 1927 Mrs. Flueck and children A summer cleaning session at the school

The original name for the school district was South Richmond. The school district was formed on February 19, 1918, but it appears that no school was built at that time. By the time the school was built, the district had applied for, and been granted on February 23, 1925, a name change, to Twin Coulee School District 3619. The school was located on SW 14-16-26-W4. Directions from Vulcan – West 10 miles on Highway 534, turn South on Highway 804 for 3 miles, turn East on Township Road 163 and then immediately turn South on Range Road 263 for 1 mile, turn East on Township Road 162 for 1 mile. Latitude 50.33917, Longitude -113.48340

The history continues in “Wheat Country – a history of Vulcan and District”:

In the early days of settlement, the Twin Coulee area was not blessed with many school age children and the few there were had been accommodated, though rather grudgingly at times, by the surrounding schools, Richmond Hill, Boyne, and Broadway. So no movement had arisen to procure a school of their own. Any move in this direction was opposed by a good few in the fear of increasing their taxes. However, those other schools who were being imposed upon began to be overcrowded, so they complained to the Department of Education. A provisional school was set up in an empty farmhouse on the NW 18-16-25 which was then owned by Maurice Lyman. The Flueck family boarded the teacher, Miss Anna Williams, later Mrs. Archie Ruark.

The organization proceeded slowly and was fraught with many difficulties as the ratepaying body of that time seems to have been an unusually contentious lot. In all fairness, though, it must be admitted that nature had placed enough difficulties in their way to incline them in that direction. The Department of Education, in its wisdom, had decreed that each rural school was to be built in the exact geographical center of the district, although this was by no means irrevocable. The exact center of the district occurred on the SW 14-16-26, on Ed Goalder’s homestead, but it was surrounded by a maze of coulees and other bog holes that made it almost unapproachable for much of the year, except for foot travel or on horseback.

After much discussion on an alternative site, the stalemate was finally resolved by building the school on the central site, coulees notwithstanding. The school was ironically named Twin Coulee after a long two-pronged coulee nearby.

It is probable that the members of the first school board were Allan Fisher, Thomas Burke, and Andrew Larson, Mrs. Wm. Wylie was the secretary-treasurer, a post that she occupied as long as the school operated. Other trustees over the years were James White and Mrs. Jack Hutton and there were undoubtedly others.

On April 24, 1925 the Board of Trustees were authorized to borrow $2,000.00 to build a school house, stable and outbuildings of frame construction, fence the grounds and dig a well.

1925 - Left to right: Russell Croucher, Bobby Burke, Ford and Keith Fisher, Louise Flueck, Ruth Wylie, Bill Wylie, Allan Wylie, Sophie Flueck

On Monday, December 3, 1927, a sudden and vicious blizzard struck much of Southern Alberta. Many teachers and their pupils were marooned in their schools overnight. An article appeared in the Calgary Herald, telling how the teacher, Miss Mona Kennedy, remained all night at her post with her small pupils. Supper was brought by Mr. William Wylie. At daybreak, when the storm abated, grateful parents came to take their children home.

By 1939, in the early years of the Macleod School Division, the child population had dwindled. Broadway and Twin Coulee School Districts were combined. School was held in an abandoned bungalow on NW 16-16-26 on the east side of the boundary line of the two districts.

By 1941 the shrink had continued until there was only one pupil, Bruce White, who was tutored by Mrs. C. L. Dennison in her home. The next year Bruce was joined at the Dennison home by his cousin, Madeline White and Ruth (Wylie) Richardson. In 1943 Madeline went to live in Nanton for the school year and Bruce and his sister, Jean, took correspondence courses at home supervised by their mother.

After 1943 the Twin Coulee children were vanned into the Nanton School by Larry Wannop until the County of Vulcan came into being, with its co-terminus boundaries, when they were taken to the Vulcan School.

When the County was selling off its old school buildings, the Twin Coulee School was purchased by Billy Lucas. The controversial site has again been plowed up and returned to its original purpose of producing number one wheat. The bungalow was also sold and moved into Vulcan and is now (1973) the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Buehler.

A complete roster of the Twin Coulee teachers in the order of their succession but not their exact terms of tenure is available. They were: South Richmond – Adelaide Cook, Anna Williams (Mrs. Archie Ruark); South Richmond and Twin Coulee – Miss Beebe (Mrs. Ray Harris); Twin Coulee – Mona Kennedy (Mrs. Sam White), Edna Olheiser (Mrs. Johnnie O’Connell), Goldie Middleton (Mrs. Robert S. Frew), Maude Shaw (Mrs. Les McIntyre); Twin Coulee and the Bungalow – Evelyn Larson; At her home – Mrs. Beulah Dennison.

More information about South Richmond/Twin Coulee School may be found in “Snake Valley I & II- 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 Vulcan & District Museum.

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