Swastika School No. 4267 Wayside School No. 4267

Swastika School

Margaret House wrote this article in “Furrows of Time, a history of Arrowwood and Shouldice, Mossleigh and Farrow:”

In the early years, it was difficult for people to get their children to school unless they could move to nearby towns. There was a definite need for a school southeast of Arrowwood, as that area was not in the consolidated district.

The Swastika school district was formed in 1926 and plans were made to erect a school five miles south and three miles east of Arrowwood (NE 35-19-23-W4). When the school and barn were completed, a grove of trees was planted by the residents. An interesting thing about the school was the name. The ratepayers chose Swastika, thinking it was an Indian sign composed of four L ‘s – the L’s meaning Luck, Life, Love and Liberty. It actually was an Indian sign meaning “well-being.”

Directions from Arrowwood – East on Township Road 205A (follows northside of railway) for 2 miles, turn south on Range Road 232 for 5 miles, turn east onto Township Road 200 for 1 mile (this is a prairie trail, not a built road, so travel at your own risk). Latitude 50.65964, Longitude -113.07486

Secretary-treasurer was Ruth McBride. The first teacher was Jean MacAskill. Other teachers were Miss Rice, Miss Collicut, Harry Mowat (1931-32), Marian Lebeau, Roy Sharpe, Mary Fisher, and Jean Macleod. Children either walked or rode or drove horses.

The “Highlight” of the year was the annual Christmas concert. Swastika put on a play at the Milo Community Chautauqua program.

By the winter of 1936-37, the number of pupils had dwindled to only Norma, Doris, Ellis and Herb House attending. Don McBride was in Kansas with his folks for the winter.

By the fall of 1937 the House children moved to Arrowwood and the Swastika school was closed.

Years later when Hitler came to power, he chose the Swastika emblem and when war broke out the name of the district was changed. The new name was Wayside. After the Big School Unit was formed, the school was moved out near Crowfoot and the name changed to Towers School.

Swastika pupils. B.R.: Bill McKinley, Francess McBride, Jean McBride and Bert Williams. M.R.: Leigh Williams, Howard Baker and John Swanson. F.R.: Marion Baker, Norma House, Norman Baker, Dorothy Tonnar and Doris House.

Children who attended Swastika School were: Sylvia, Louise and Maxine Allstot; Howard, Marian and Norman Baker; Lena Bushell; Eunice Case; Eddie and Jean Fyock; Norma, Doris, Ellis and Herb House; Jim House; Francess, Jean and Don McBride; Bill and Lyle McKinley; John and Elaine Swanson; Dorothy Tonnar; Leigh, Bert and Margaret Williams.

In the earlier Arrowwood history book, “The Arrowwood (Mistsa-Katpiskoo) Story: In the Shadow of the Buffalo Hills,” this article was written:

In later years the Swastika School was built on the road running east of the Buffalo Hills. This small school served several families prominent in the Arrowwood story. The Bob Williams children went there, also the McBride’s, McKinley’s, (who worked at the Buffalo Hills Ranch), the Baker children and the Swanson’s.

This little school was a great example of true cooperation in every sense of the word with most of the work of the building being done by the men of the district. After the Second World War got underway, they decided to discard the name that had become the Nazi Emblem and renamed it Wayside in 1940. May 28, 1940 (The school had already closed in 1937.)

The big unit moved this school to No.1 highway and it’s name was changed to Towers.

Jean MacAskill (teacher) remembers: I arrived in the first days of December, 1926, to teach in the newly formed school district, Swastika, in the Arrowwood area. At that time, before Hitler ruined it, the name held its original meaning of happiness and well-being. Ruth McBride was the prime activator in promoting a school for the small number of children in the area.

Most houses lacked amenities that we consider necessities today, but they more than made up for that in many other ways. Neighbors, friends and family gave assistance to people who needed it.

School was held in a small building belonging to the McBrides and later in a bunkhouse on the farm. Loaned until a school could be built, it was followed by a very nice and comfortable one in a permanent place. I said “permanent”, but when large school units were formed, it was whisked away to another district without so much as “by your leave” to the early planners.

I look upon my time in Arrowwood as being rich and rewarding.

In 1937, Swastika School was closed because the four oldest children of Elma and Dod House (Norma, Doris, Ellis and Herb) were the only ones left to attend. The family moved to Arrowwood, so the children could attend school there. (Another article states that Don McBride was the only pupil left.)

More information about Swastika School may be found in “The Arrowwood (Mistsa-Katpiskoo) Story: In the Shadow of the Buffalo Hills” and  “Furrows of Time – a history of Arrowwood and Shouldice, Mossleigh and Farrow,” at the Vulcan and District Archives and from school directories (maps and driving directions) which are available at Aspen Crossing, Mossleigh, the Arrowwood Museum, the Arrowwood Post Office and the Vulcan & District Museum.

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