South Fort George School House - Prince George, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 53° 54.291 W 122° 44.099
10U E 517411 N 5972967
Quick Description: The first schoolhouse in Prince George, this building was a school for only three years until the city, then likely still a village, outgrew it.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 9/15/2020 11:50:08 AM
Waymark Code: WM134PM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 0

Long Description:
The building was actually rented from a local businessman for $30.00 a month while it was used as a school. This might explain its unorthodox style, definitely not looking like your average pioneer era school. It has even been described as quaint in appearance. The little one room school opened in 1910, housing classes from kindergarten through grade 8.

In 1913 a new school was built and this building went on to become first a boxing gym, then a private residence. It was donated to the Fort George Museum in 1976 and today stands beside the Fort George Railway Station, the depot for the Fort George Railway, which uses a 1912 narrow gauge steam locomotive to pull tourists and visitors around Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park. The school originally stood at Third Avenue and Thapage in South Fort George, which is now Queensway Street between Hamilton Ave and LaSalle Avenue.

The South Fort George Schoolhouse, the first in the Prince George region, opened in 1910. The building was rented from Mr. Wiggins of the Northern Development Co. for $30.00 a month. It was a source of excitement and pride for the residents of South Fort George, despite the fact that on opening day they still did not have a qualified teacher. The first volunteer teacher lasted a week, the second a month. Mrs. A.B. Campbell was then hired and her first task was to change the unruly children into students. After one month of hard work the school began to make some progress. Mrs. Campbell used a cat-o'-nine-tails to discipline the class. Needless to say, it only took one encounter with discipline to make the children wish to avoid it.

In its first year, the school had 28 children enrolled, with 15 girls and 13 boys. However, the average daily attendance was 15 children. In 1911 another 10 children began attending the school, leading to an enrollment of 40 children, although average daily attendance remained at 15. Teachers were paid $90.00 a month to teach students from kindergarten through grade 8.

South Fort George School stood at the corner of Thapage Lane and Fourth Street, (Queensway). When a new schooi was built in 1913, an enterprising businessman rented the building using it as a boxing gym. The building eventually changed owners and was used as a home until the Weatherly Family donated it to the museum in 1976.

From the Historical Marker at the Schoolhouse
The South Fort George School House is an early 20th century one room vernacular style wood frame building with a flat roof. It is a rectangular shape interrupted by a truncation of one corner, which serves as the entrance. The historical place is confined to the footprint of the building.

Built in 1910 the South Fort George School House represents the style of many commercial Prince George buildings at the turn of the 20th century. It is simple and functional building and has survived virtually unchanged since September 1910.

The School House is significant because it is the first school building is South Fort George and the first in this section of BC. The 1910 Fort George Herald best describes its importance to the development of the city when it published the following “The advent of this school provides one more primal necessities of a young city. Without education advantages for children surely no town can be considered to be worthy of the name, and the fact that South Fort George now boasts of a school which is well attended and admirably presided over both by the principal and board of trustees, gives this place a vastly added importance in the estimation of those families which are settling here, and of many more to come.” (Source: The Fraser Fort George Regional Museum (Exploration Place).

One early picture of the building with the sign “Public School” and the teacher and the students in the front speaks volumes about the pioneering spirit of the community, the mix of European and Metis population. This building alone shows how so much was done with so little in those early days.

The structure has been relocated to near the Exploration Place and as a museum piece it is used for historical interpretation and serves the community well as a means of conveying the real nature of the early towns within what is today called Prince George.

From the Prince George Heritage Register
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

755 20 Avenue
Prince George, BC
V2L 4A1

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

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