ISSUES FACED BY THE PINCHER CREEK SCHOOL DISTRICT IN 1907

Pincher Creek School District Number 121 faced a number of issues in 1907.

ISSUES FACED BY THE PINCHER CREEK SCHOOL DISTRICT IN 1907

by Farley Wuth, Curator,
Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
Copyright, Pincher Creek & District Historical Society

Pincher Creek School District Number 121 faced a number of issues in 1907. The District was primarily responsible for the operation of the old Public School situated on St. John’s Avenue. This two-storey structure constructed in 1902 served the educational needs of many of our settlement’s youngsters for over half a century.

Pincher Creek School District Number 121 faced a number of issues in 1907. The District was primarily responsible for the operation of the old Public School situated on St. John’s Avenue. This two-storey structure constructed in 1902 served the educational needs of many of our settlement’s youngsters for over half a century.

BOARD COMPOSITION AND EXPENDITURES
Serving on the Board for the School District that year were four members of this frontier community. One was William A. Ross, a community-minded former school teacher who became the book keeper for Scott Brothers. A second member was Arthur Charles Kemmis who was an early lawyer in Pincher Creek. An unidentified member of the Foote Family, the clan which came here as early as 1892 and was involved in the blacksmithing and carpentry trades, also served on the Board. The fourth Board member was Mr. Thomas J. Moore of whom we presently know very little. According to the Dominion Censuses of 1901 and 1911, Moore, who was born in either 1874 or 1875 in Ontario, was a Pincher Creek based book keeper and businessman. He served as the Chairman of the School Board for much of 1907.

At the Board meeting held the evening of Monday, October 14th, 1907, two interesting current accounts were paid. The first, amounting to $6.68, was paid to the local agent for the Dominion Express Company, primarily for telegrams that were sent to distant points. Most of these were sent up to the Department of Education in Edmonton and sought clarification on points of education policy, procedures and administration. The second payment that of $25.75 was paid to J. E. Shoultz for the delivery of coal to the Public School. The burning of this fossil fuel was the way in which schools were adeptly heated during those early days on the western Canadian frontier.

The Board followed up their coal payment with the appointment of townsman D. M. Christie as caretaker of the Public School. Christie’s day job was that of teacher of the school’s students in Standards IV and V and Senior III, the equivalent of some of today’s Junior High classes. One of his responsibilities was to take care of the coal burning furnaces at the school. His appointment was for the period of September 1st, 1907 through July 1st, 1908 which corresponded to the school year. His annual salary was set at sixty dollars.

PIONEER EDUCATIONAL ISSUES
Further physical improvements to the Public School were requested by the Board. On a motion made by Messrs. Foote and Ross, public tenders were sought for the replacement of 26 storm windows that adorned the exterior of both levels of the Public School. The old ones had been up for several years and sorely needed replacing. The request for tenders was advertized in the Pincher Creek Echo, and the submission deadline was set at 6 p.m. as of October 26th. Ever wary of over expenditures, the Board chose the most economical submission and requested that the windows be installed immediately, before the cold winter weather set in.

The School Board also made a written request of the Pincher Creek Town Council that the School District be credited monthly for the school taxes collected and deposited at the Pincher Creek branch of the Union Bank of Canada. Upon receiving the request, Town Council immediately referred the suggestion to its Finance Committee. There is no record in the documents as to how the issue was eventually resolved.

The annual fair and exhibition of the Pincher Creek Agricultural Society for 1907 was held the third week in October. This being a significant local event for this closed knit ranching and farming settlement, the School Board thought it would be prudent if the students be given the opportunity to see the local exhibits. The Board therefore approved that its pupils be given a half-day holiday the afternoon of Wednesday, October 16th for those community education purposes.

In terms of student enrollment and examinations during 1907, D. M. Christie’s classes had an enrollment of 32 pupils. The School’s Second Department saw 38 youngsters enrolled, and in the Primary Department, under the tutelage of long time teacher Margaret Bull, there were a grand total of fifty students. With one-hundred and twenty of Pincher Creek’s young ones attending classes at the Public School, it was a busy place. In comparison, the total student enrollment at the Cowley School the same year was pegged at forty-two pupils.

The comings and goings of the education offered by the Pincher Creek Public School in 1907 truly reflected those early pioneer times.