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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Poplar Heights School No. 51 (RM of Woodlands)

The Poplar Heights School District was established formally in February 1878 and the original school building was a log cabin built on the northwest quarter of 22-13-3 west of the Principal Meridian, in the Rural Municipality of Woodlands. In 1880, the building was replaced with another log structure at SW22-13-3W then, five years later, by a frame building at NW16-13-3W. The latter served until 1918. The last frame school building was erected at SE16-13-3W and opened for classes in September 1918. A two-storey addition was built onto the west end of the building in 1944 to provide space for a high school: a classroom downstairs and a lab area with cupboards for supplies upstairs. It operated with ten students, grades 9 to 11, for the 1944-1945 school year. The high school closed permanently in 1945 having operated for only one year.

The school served as a community centre, election polling station, and for St. Luke's Anglican church services in winter months. The building was closed in 1967 as part of the school consolidation movement and it became Reaburn Heights Community Centre. The building has later moved to the Arborg & District Multicultural Heritage Village and was replaced by a monument commemorating the students, teachers, and pioneers of Poplar Heights School. Remaining at the site is a baseball diamond, outdoor hockey rink, and public well.

The teachers of Poplar Heights School were Mr. McClelland (1882), Mr. Bodkin (1883), Mr. Berne (1884-1885), Miss Maggie McKinnion (1885-1886), Arthur F. Bell (1886-1887), M. E. O’Brien (1887-1888), A. H. Simpson (1888-1889), L. A. Ferguson (1889-1890), F. E. Grant (1890), C. G. Elliot (1891), M. K. Edmison (1892), William J. Robertson (1893), Charles J. McInnis (1893), Mr. H. T. McKinstry (1894-1895), Ben A. Huckell (1896-1898), Mr. J. T. Haig (1898), Mr. J. Carswell (1899), William G. Sanburn (1899-1900), Mr. J. W. Broach (1901), E. Benson Steele (1902), Mr. M. E. McFarlane (1902-1903), Miss M. F. Logan (1903-1904), Miss R. Gillespie (1904-1905), Miss Ruby L. Brown (1905-1906), Miss Christina E. Fraser (1907), Miss Annie L. McCullough (1907-1908), Miss Katie Armstrong (1908-1909), Miss Marie Jackson (1909-1912), Miss Mabel A. Jephson (1912-1913), Wilfred Franklin Bewell (1913-1915), J. A. Keays (1915), G. M. Henderson (1915), Miss Estelle Cramond (1916), Miss Eva J. M. Reid (1917-1918), Miss Letitia A. Wood (1918-1919), Miss Jessie Roe (1919-1921), Miss A. F. Pearl Lobb (1921-1922), Miss Cybel M. Wilkes (1922-1923), Miss Jessie N. Abra (1923-1924), Miss Ethel M. Morrison (1924), Miss Nancy B. Smith (1925), Miss Gertrude M. Holmes (1925-1927), Miss Katherine H. Wilkes (1927-1929), Miss Gudbjorg Eggertson (1929-1931), Meta M. Kelly (1931-1934), Miss Frances M. Stewart (1934-1935), Mrs. E. Blanche Gordon (1935-1938), Miss Jean A. Campbell (1939-1942), Miss Blanche R. Craig (1942-1944), Mrs. Blanche R. Tully (1944), Frederick H. Houston (high school, 1944), Mrs. Blanche R. Tully (1945), Stanley Francis Pye (high school, 1945), Miss N. Ione Beatty (1945), Miss Pearl P. Ozarko (1945), Miss Mavis P. Bland (1946), Miss Eileen George (1946-1947), Miss Gladys A. Langhan (1947-1948), Miss A. Geraldine Faris (1948-1949), Miss Pauline O. Williams (1949-1950), Miss Shirley M. McCormick (1950-1952), Miss Darlene A. Cook (1952), Mrs. Rita M. Elliot (1953), Thomas W. Rothwell (1953-1957), Dave W. Bueckert (1957-1959), Mrs. Ellen Ward (1959-1964), Paul Kolada (1964-1965), Mrs. Valerie G. Wilkes (1965-1966), and Miss M. Jean I. Gunn (1966-1967).

The former Poplar Heights School building

The former Poplar Heights School building (no date)
Source: A Study of Public School Buildings in Manitoba by David Butterfield, 1994.

Poplar Heights School commemorative monument

Poplar Heights School commemorative monument (November 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

The former Poplar Heights School at the Arborg & District Multicultural Heritage Village

The former Poplar Heights School at the Arborg & District Multicultural Heritage Village (October 2019)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.09967, W97.80417
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Arborg and District Multicultural Heritage Village (Arborg)


Poplar Heights School Registers, 1885-1966, Archives of Manitoba.

Woodlands Echoes: History of the Townships of The Rural Municipality of Woodlands No. 8 by Madeline L. Proctor, 1960, page 184.

Footsteps Through the Years: Ossawa, Reaburn, Marquette, Meadow Lea, and Poplar Heights by Marquette and District Historical Guild, circa 1977.

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.

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

We thank Eileen George, George Stewart, and Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by John Moore and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 2 December 2019

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