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A Short History of Kola School No. 601

by Eden Burwash Weldon

Manitoba Pageant, Spring 1978, Volume 23, Number 3

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service.

Please direct inquiries to webmaster@mhs.mb.ca.

Kola School was no doubt named after the original Kola Post Office. Arthur Sherwood left England in 1882 for Manitoba. He spent a few years at Willington Post Office in the Macgregor district and later came to Elkhorn in August 1883. His first letter marked Kola was written home to his mother on 3 May 1886. He filed on his homestead the west half of NE16-10-29W1. Apparently Kola Post Office got its name from the English manor home of A. P. Stewart, who homesteaded and built on NE18-10-26W1. Sherwood and another Englishman, C. Vogan Wainwright, were partners in a little store and also kept the Kola Post Office. The remains today of a part of a basement indicate that the shack store may have been a partial dugout in the side of a knoll. The present owner, Stewart Lennon, related this to me.

In 1894 the Post Office was moved to the home of John Thomas Madge, known later as the Sam Wainwright farm in the Pipe Stone Valley. Later it was moved to the home of John Wright near the Butler townsite. That appears to be the last of the Kola Post Office. Until the Mennonites started one at Kola, we had a country post office at the home of Mrs. F. Chapple Sr. It was named “Ebor” and we got our mail there for many years prior to 1896.

In those early days, prior to 1896, a Mr. Cavinah of Elkhorn used team and buggy in summer and jumper in winter to bring the mail out to Mrs. F. Chapple’s Ebor Post Office, “Weekly,” rain or shine. He went on from there south and west to Heron Post Office in the home of Mr. George Fair, then back the next day bringing the mail from there, picking up the outgoing Ebor mail and on into Elkhorn. Note: The Chapple farm is now Neil Grant’s.

When the Reston Wolsey Branch Line was built about 1906, the Canadian Pacific Railway wrote John Wright at Kola asking for the names of some of the nearby Post Offices. Mr. Wright sent in the name Ebor, so they named the place Ebor and for a short time we had Ebor station and Ebor Post Office. Mrs. Chapple eventually had it changed to “Arawanna.”

Now for Kola School No. 601. The Manitoba Provincial Archives records state: “At the regular quarterly meeting of the Protestant Section of the Board of Education, meeting in Winnipeg, August 7th, 1889, Kola School District was created. It was to include Section 13 to 36 inclusive of Township 10 Range 29 W1, and the school house was to be built at or near the S.E. corner of Section 28.” Incidentally this was exactly one month before I was born, so we believe the school was built in 1890. The first teacher I believe was May McClelland, a sister of Cecil Rogers’ mother. (Cecil Rogers is a resident of Virden.)

The Kola School has been destroyed once by a cyclone and twice by fire. I am unable to recall the first fire date or cause, but the second fire was in 1946, because of a defective chimney. After this the school was rebuilt on its present location at NW22-10-29, on land I used to own. I was Secretary Treasurer of Kola School for 18 years. In 1977, a new school was built, all steel framework, in the townsite of Kola.

The cyclone occurred in 1903. As luck would have it, it happened during the night hours. My sister, Myrtle, now of Elkhorn, walked to school next morning, and found our school completely demolished. All that remained was the floor intact with the desks still sitting screwed down to the floor in their places. The brick chimney had fallen on my sister’s desk, I believe the only one damaged. The old homemade teacher’s desk was untouched, with the little alarm clock sitting on it still ticking away. The small barn where we kept our horses, which was situated north east of the school, was picked up completely and carried over a quarter of a mile west, and left upside down in Findlay’s pasture. The school building was carried east over quite an area.

The Findlay’s farm building, about ½ mile north of the school site was also badly hit. The 1½ storey frame house was not damaged badly. They had a windmill on a building, maybe 250 feet east of the house, which was completely destroyed. A piece of 2" x 4" went through a window in the upstairs and landed on the teacher’s bed.

Farther west the cyclone hit other farms. Archie Taylor, his wife and two sons, Stewart and Ernest, lived on a ½ section down on the banks of the Pipestone Creek. Their cottage was completely destroyed and Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were quite badly injured. The floor of the cottage was carried across a ravine with the two boys on it. They were not injured. Later a new 1½ storey cottage was built which is still standing in good condition.

Wesley Lund Sr. and family lived farther north on what we called the John Lund Homestead. The cyclone didn’t miss them either. It blew the kitchen right off the main part of the house and if they had stepped outside the door they would have fallen right into the cellar. After the cyclone, the school board made arrangements for the use of the old Meeting Hall on Wesley Lund’s place for school while the new one was being built.

I recall a few amusing incidents when we took advantage of a lady teacher. One day a boy brought the tail of a freshly killed pig to school and slipped it into her dinner pail. Come dinner time, you should have heard her scream. Our school was heated with a good sized pot-bellied coal stove, with a large vertical drum attached, which kept our room quite comfortable in winter. Somehow we found out, when adding coal during the day, that if we completely covered the red coals, gas would accumulate and in a few minutes we would get a good-sized puff, sometimes quite a bang. This was very annoying to the teacher. But one day it was really a big one and it blew off the drum and most of the pipes came down. The smoke and gas was so bad, we all had to get out. No more school that day.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Kola School No. 601 (RM of Wallace)

Page revised: 5 August 2015

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