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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Oak Bluff School No. 600 (Oak Bluff, RM of Macdonald)

Link to:
Principals | Vice-Principals | Teachers | Photos & Coordinates | Sources

In 1889, settler Benjamin Casselman offered a site on the corner of his property, at SW25-9-1 east of the Principal Meridian, in the Rural Municipality of Macdonald, for the establishment of a school. Named in memory of Casselman’s son who had been killed in a farm accident, Otto School No. 600 was formally established in August 1889. Heated by a cordwood-length stove that burned eight logs at a time, the building featured “blackboards across the front of the main room, a foot-high platform with an organ on the right side and a bookcase on the left.”

Sometime after 1905, Otto was renamed Oak Bluff School. The original school building was replaced in 1913 by one at SE25-9-1E, named Oak Bluff Consolidated School. It burned down on 12 December 1929 when children were practicing for the annual concert. Lessons were held in the old school building nearby until a replacement could be constructed in time for resumption of classes in September 1930. The new school had three classrooms with a library and chemistry laboratory. In May 1969, the school became part of Morris-Macdonald School Division, teaching students in grades 1 to 6. At one point in the late 1980s, it was threatened with closure due to declining student enrollment but new residential development in Oak Bluff spurred a resurgence. In November 1996, the 1930 building was replaced by a new school at a different site.

On 17 June 1989, a monument was unveiled on the site of the former school, for the centenary of its establishment.

Principals

Period

Principal

1926-1929

George Melvin Newfield (1904-1977)

1929-1933

?

1933-1936

George Melvin Newfield (1904-1977)

1936-1937

Charles Edward Clare Durnin (c1903-1974)

1937-1940

Ross Laverne Donald (1907-1992)

1940-1941

William Lineham Logan (1898-1987)

1941-1942

G. E. Bjornson

1942-1943

H. W. Ferrier

1943-1944

Stanley Francis Pye (1908-1985)

1944-1945

?

1945-1946

Harry Sharpe (c1905-1958)

1946-1947

Freida Thordarson

1947-1948

Freida Henderson

1948-1949

Franz Julius Solmundson (1907-1989)

1949-1952

Emanuel Peter “Manuel” Tanchak (1914-1993)

1952-1955

Adam “Ed” Nazarko (1928-1993)

1955-1957

Jonina E. Wood

1957-1959

Edward E. Skabar

1959-1960

William George Cooper (1911-1983)

Teachers

Among the teachers of Oak Bluff School were Jennie Howard (1897) and Catherine Slater (1940s).

Photos & Maps

Former Otto School building

Former Otto School building (circa 1911)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, School Inspectors Photos GR2664, C65.

Oak Bluff Consolidated School

Oak Bluff Consolidated School (1913)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, School Inspectors Photos GR2664, C65.

Oak Bluff School

Oak Bluff School (no date) by E. D. Parker
Source: Archives of Manitoba, School Inspectors Photographs,
GR8461, A0233, C131-1, page 94.

Former Oak Bluff School building, constructed in 1930

Former Oak Bluff School building, constructed in 1930 (circa 1986)
Source: Historic Resources Branch, Public School Buildings Inventory, slide 646.

Former Oak Bluff School building

Former Oak Bluff School building (circa 1986)
Source: Historic Resources Branch, Public School Buildings Inventory, slide 648.

Oak Bluff School commemorative monument

Oak Bluff School commemorative monument (August 2010)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Location (lat/long): N49.77324, W97.32262
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Organization: Morris-Macdonald School Division School District No. 19

Sources:

“The Indian famine fund,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 March 1897, page 4.

Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.

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.

Hugging the Meridian, Macdonald: A Manitoba Municipal History, 1881-1981 by Betty Dyck, 1981.

Oak Leaves: A History of the Oak Bluff District by Oak Bluff Women’s Institute, 1984. [MHS Library]

“Oak Bluff School [Reunion],” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 May 1989, page 60.

A Study of Public School Buildings in Manitoba by David Butterfield, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 1994, 230 pages.

“Schoolhouse transformed,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 December 1996, page 86.

Obituary [Catherine Maria Thexton], Winnipeg Free Press, 5 March 2019.

We thank Blaine Little for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 5 March 2019

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

Browse lists of:
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Please note that inclusion in this collection does not mean that a particular site has special status or protection. Some sites are on private property and permission must be secured from the owner prior to visiting.

Site information is provided by the Manitoba Historical Society as a free public service only for non-commercial purposes.


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