Historic Sites of Manitoba: Melvin School No. 865 (Municipality of North Norfolk)
The Melvin School District in what is now the Municipality of North Norfolk was formed in 1897 as a one-room frame structure on the northeast quarter of 36-10-12W. Its first teacher was Miss Margaret Matheson, who later married farmer John Hay who had donated the land for the school. In 1905, the school was moved to a more central location, on 35-10-12. Soon after being moved, a fire destroyed the building. A replacement was soon erected on the same site.
As the community grew and families increased, the school was outgrown so, in 1918, a new building was constructed on NE26-10-12. It featured a full basement, cloakroom, science laboratory, indoor toilets, and a wood-burning furnace. This building also served as a place for meetings, church services, Sunday school, Christmas concerts, dances, and picnics. Due to a lack of enrolment, the school closed in 1964 and the students were bussed to Austin. The school building was used as a granary for several years then demolished in 1988. A monument, unveiled on 17 July 1994, was dedicated to the pioneers, teachers, and teachers of the Melvin district. It is located on an ungraveled road that may be treacherous when wet.
The teachers who worked at Melvin School included: M. S. Matheson (1896), Ida M. Walls (1897), E. May Whitely (1898-1899), Belle Glenie (1900), Mary Macdougall (1901), Alice Rowe (1905), Nellie Crake (1905-1907), Annie E. Bowman (1908), May Collier (1909-1910), Lena M. Bain (1911), Margaret M. Mathews (1911-1913), Lilian Maude Walton (1913-1914), F. Jean Campbell (1914), Etta G. Robinson (1914), Reta McCarthy (1915-1917), Bessie M. Stairs (1917-1918), Stella E. McCuaig (1918-1919), M. A. Houghton (1919-1920), Lucy Brookler (1920), Ethel Kearns (1921-1922), Irene M. Bennett (1922-1923), Nellie M. Fleming (1923-1925), Dorothy E. North (1925-1926), Cecilia T. Alke (1926-1927), Isobel Meincke (1927-1928), Hedwig Alke (1928-1929), Eva McIntyre (1929-1930), Margaret M. McKinnon (1930-1935), Gwenneth Elaine Mathews (1935-1937), Hazel Lindsay Poyser (1937-1940), Edith Victoria Wilson (1940-1941), Thelma Kathleen Meadows (1941-1942), Irene M. Carson (1942-1943), Janet E. Hay (1943-1944), Marjorie E. Arthur (1944-1945), Mildred J. Saunders (1945-1946), Iowne W. Gillespie (1946-1947), Mrs. M. E. McIntyre (1947-1948), Marie Ellen McShannock (1948-1949), Olive A. Fox (1949-1950), Marg W. Thomas (1950), Jennie Motner (1950), Hazel Boaz (1950-1951), Una McKelvey (1951-1952), Edith Michie (1952), Mrs. Edith Cronk (1953-1954), Hazel A. Bickford (1954, 1958), Helen Rose Loewen (1954-1957), Marion Y. Dunlop (1957), Amy Jeanette Chapman (1958), Hazel A. E. Lowe (1959), Elsie Hope Collier (1959-1964).
A Rear View Mirror: A History of the Austin and Surrounding Districts by Anne M. Collier, Altona: Friesen Printing, 1967.
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.
Manitoba Heritage Council Commemorative Plaques and Manitoba Community Commemorative Plaques, Fiscal Year 1994-1995, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Citizenship, page 34.
Through Fields and Dreams: A History of the Rural Municipality of North Norfolk and MacGregor by The History Book Committee of the North Norfolk-MacGregor Archives, 1998, page 1116.
We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 16 July 2018
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