Historic Sites of Manitoba: McConnell School No. 1711 (McConnell, Municipality of Hamiota)
The McConnell School District originated nearby, in 1884, with the formation of the Viola Dale School District No. 326 in the Municipality of Hamiota. When the community was bypassed by the Canadian Northern Railway, most of the buildings were moved here in 1912. The village of McConnell was established, named for Andrew Delaney McConnell (1858-1940), who had sold land for a townsite to the railway. Soon afterward, the McConnell Consolidated School District No. 326 was created, with responsibility for the operation of the Viola Dale School No. 326 and also the Ellenville School No. 871. The arrangement proved temporary when, in May 1913, local electors decided to dissolve the consolidated district while rural schools continued at Ellenville, Holylea, Viola Dale, and Watson.
The McConnell School District No. 1711, as the newly reduced district was known, commenced operations in January 1914, with classes held in the local community hall until a school building could be constructed later that year. In early 1920, consolidation was tried again, with the formal merger of McConnell School with the Viola Dale and Ellenville schools. In 1937, a larger school building was erected and the old building was sold to W. Gregory of Decker.
McConnell School closed in 1967, with remaining students going to Hamiota School of the Birdtail River School Division. The former school building was used for a time as a community centre. A monument near the building was erected in July 1983 to commemorate the village of McConnell, which thrived here from 1911, when the railway line arrived, to 1979.
Among the teachers who worked at McConnell School were Miss McMillan, Myra McPhaden, Ethel McFaddin, Miss Craig, Miss Aikenhead, Lena Shaw, Elsie Shier, Edna English, Sarah Davey, Albert W. Craigie, Marion Sawyer, Lottie Richardson, J. O. Wilson, Elizabeth M. MacIntosh, Winnie Hutcheson, Leonard Krueger, Rev. Hunter, Pearl Privat, Ruth Fairlie, Kay Moore, G. Hinds, Hazel Robinson, Ada Pauline Herkes, Elva Mclenahan, Winnie Spears, Ab Richardson, Molly Morrice, Rena Smith, Verna Hughes, A. D. Morgan (1939-1940), Edna Kernaghan, Roy Webb, Charlotte Lynch, Richard Nielsen, Gertrude Simpson, Anne Arbuthnott, Nora Orchard, Francis Wilson, Joyce Schwalm, Wilma Miller, Edna Park, Eva Tibbatts, Allan McCulloch, Joan Stanbridge, S. L. Theriault, Margaret McKinnon, Winnie Fowlie, Grace McCallum, Viola Skoglund, Irma Clark, Lois Baker, Donalene Mclachlan, Marion Gallant, Myrna Cavers, Bernice Smith, Marla Magarrell, Dorothy Burnside, Isobel Smith, Lorna Richardson, Emily Twerdun, Agnes Findlayson, and Mrs. Couch.
Photos & Coordinates
Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.
McConnell: Little Town Lost by McConnell Women’s Institute and History Committee, 1979.
One Hundred Years in the History of the Rural Schools of Manitoba: Their Formation, Reorganization and Dissolution (1871-1971) by Mary B. Perfect, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, April 1978.
We thank Natalie Macintosh and Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 30 January 2020