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Monday, August 23, 2010

Craigflower School

Craigflower School was originally known as Maple Point School because it was built on Maple Point. This little outcrop where the Gorge narrows was named Maple Point because of a large maple tree that grew there. That tree is visible in all the early photos of the school well back into the 19th century and it is large enough in those old photos to see that it must have been there long before the school was built, long before the first colonists came to these shores. That maple tree, though aged and hollow, still grows on the school grounds and is the gnarled tree on the left in the above photo. When those first colonists arrived, Maple Point had been occupied by native peoples for about 4,500 years, judging by the shell midden that lies beneath the grass in the above photo. To the right of the school is a stand with the school bell on it. When the school first opened it had no bell but shortly afterwards this bell was salvaged from a wrecked steamship and put to service in the school.

Here are a couple of photos of the restored classroom inside the school. On the left we can see the student desks each with its slate and cloth to erase. On the right we see the classroom from the teacher's perspective. Another slate is on the lectern along with a slate pencil. I had always assumed the kids wrote on slates with a piece of chalk. But no, they used a slate pencil - a thin rod of slate with a pointed end. As you can see from my ABC, it works remarkably well and erases easily.
Though the school building is quite large there is only this one small classroom because the building also housed the teacher, his or her family and many of the students. Craigflower School opened its doors in 1856 and served students until 1911. We'll have a look at some of the other rooms tomorrow.


Dean Lewis said...

Great shots of a well preserved historical location.
It is really remarkable to consider the relative short time of western colonial presence here in contrast to the thousands of years of First Nations people.
Very few of us realize just how long they have been here before European arrival.

JoJo said...

What a great old school! Reminds me of Little House on the Prairie!

Kris McCracken said...

I really do like the composition of that large photograph there. A nice peek through the trees at an ageing beauty!