In the mid 1920’s, a group of Beaconia residents were agitating for a school to be formed in their area. A petition was circulated and soon was widely signed. Mr. A.C. Trapp presented the petition to his Councillor, Mr. J. Isbister, who in turn presented it to the Municipality of St. Clements by the early summer of 1926. Council appointed Thomas Bunn as Arbitrator, as the lands proposed to form the new school district of Beaconia were at that time included in the School Districts of Balsam Bay, Brodie and Stoney Point. The nearest school was Balsam Bay which was about 3 miles distant. In a memo dated Aug. 16, 1926 Mr. A.C. Trapp mentioned, “there are about 23 children of school age and that it was really too far to send these children to Balsam Bay School”.
The first meeting of the ratepayers begging for formation was held at the home of Mr. A.C. Trapp located at pt. SW 1/4 of 15- 17-7E. Beaconia S.D. No. 2162 was finally formed by an award of arbitration dated Jan. 19, 1927. The award papers were signed by Messrs. Macori Horanski, Gordon Wilson and J.E.S. Dunlop. At the time of formation the boundary consisted of the following lands: Sections 2. 3 Beaconia School.
NE 1/4of 4,E 1/2 of 9, all of 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, S 1/2 of 21, 22, 23, 24, intp. 17 -7E.
The boundaries were adjusted from time to time for one reason or another as in June of 1936 by order-in council No. 715/36whenthe S1/2of Sec.2’inlp l’7 -’78 was transferred to the Gull Lake S.D. No. 2269.
The first classroom, while the arbitration discussions and formation were being settled and before the actual school was built, was held in the living quarters attached to the Robert Klatt store. Then a proper one-room school was built at Beaconia to house the students. As mentioned earlier, this school burnt down After the school was destroyed by fire the students continued their classes at the home of Emily Klatt. Very soon another one-room school was built on the same site as the old one. The new Beaconia School was considered quite modern with its full basement, furnace and indoor plumbing’ The building was painted white and green and housed grades one to light. In the words of Penny Thomas, the school was “used extensively by the community”.
Confirmation of the Beaconia S.D. boundary by Nov. 1950 (by-law No. 1207) listed it as being: Sec. 3, NE 1/4 of 4,E 1/2 of 9, 10, 15, 16, S 1/2 of 21, and 22, 17-7E. In 1959/60 when the Walter Whyte Collegiate was built this provided the Beaconia students with a closer facility where they took their Grade nine to eleven classes.
When the Lord Selkirk School Division No. 1 was declared to be a division within the meaning of Sec. 443 of the PSA (order-in-council 224161) there.
Beaconia fell within this divisional boundary. Therefore, when the 4 room Collegiate was enlarged and opened on April 19, 1970 to house from Kindergarten to Grade 10, the Beaconia students were then bused to the new Walter Whyte School.
Nothing was done with the old Beaconia school building until such time as the land was chosen to make room for a municipal building. The school building was purchased by Wilf .Hadfield and moved to his own property, remodeled and now serves as a home.
Secretary Treasurers over the years were: A.C. Trapp, P. Kutcy, and Natalie Zirk.
Some of the teaching staff are listed here for your interest and should bring back some mixed memories:
Clara Cohen 1927-1928
Cecelia Tair 1928-1930
Florence R. Harkness 1930-1932
Agnes Clotilda Lesosky 1932 1936
Catherine Aposlle 1936-1939
Margaret Ann Young 1939_1940
Anna Zubachek 1940-1942
Anne Apostle 1942-1943
Theresa Parent 1943 1944
Mary Edeline Kondratuk 1944-1945
Margaret K. King 1945-1946
Michael Balitsky 1947
Miss Vera Katazinski 1947-1948
Michael Lloyd Balitsky 1948 1953
Miss Freida Zielke 1953 1954
Anne Chrusch 1954-1956
Peter Kubas 1956-1957
Steve Zastawny 1957-1960
Kenneth Swilzer 1960-1961
Charles Buck 1961 1962
Miss G. Mccorrister 1962
Elizabeth Rempel 1963
Eleanor Anne Salmond 1963-1964
Abe Gresbrechl 1966
who taught until consolidation.
Beaconia School Yell (Field Day)
Submitted by N. Freehlich
There’s something in the cornfield
there’s something in the wheat,
there’s something in Beaconia,
that’s might! hard to beat.
Beaconia School Class in the 1950’s
Submitted by Edith Kutcy.
The few families who lived in Beaconia before 1927 sent their children to Balsam Bay to attend classes.
As the Beaconia population was increasing they decided to build a school and Mr. Organic cut logs in the surrounding bush and built the first log school The outside was covered with lumber and a large tin heater made a brave attempt at keeping it warm. Reading was often the first subject on the day’s program because the children could keep their mitts on to do it. By noon it was ram enough to remove jackets and over-shoes.
First students in this school were: Annie and Olga Ogrodnik, Steve, Mary and Billy Shinduke, Louise and Fred Trapp, Natalia and Walter Zirk, Norma, Frances, Lillian, Laura and Mary Grant, Mary and Bennie Klatt, Etheland Eva Kurk, Martha, May, and Elsie Block.
The first teachers were: Miss Cohen, Miss Toitz and Miss Harkness.
During the depression in the 1930’s many people left the city to try to make a living by cutting and selling firewood and pulp wood of which there was plenty in the area around Beaconia. This caused an unexpected increase in the school population. A teacher in 1932 had been hired to teach 22 children grades 1-8. Before the year was out she had 60 pupils on the register, grades 1-9.
Children were crowded with three sitting at each double desk. One girl decided to bring in a block of wood and sat at the back of the room. She probably complained about a sore back when she reached home and her father, learning the cause, came pounding on the school door, demanding an explanation. “Why should his child be forced to sit on a block of wood? He always paid his taxes.”
The teacher explained that she was not being forced to sit there, but was doing it because she chose to rather than sit in such a crowded school desk.
He was invited into the classroom to see for himself and was speechless when he saw so many children crowded into such a small area.
A couple of days later the same lather appeared and knocked gently on the door. In his hands he held a neatly made homemade desk for his daughter.
This log school burned drown and classes were held in a house until a new one was built in 1951. This one-roomed school was closed in 1968, when the children were bussed down to Grand Marais.
Since then the school building has been sold to make room on the site for a municipal garage.
Christmas Concerts at Beaconia School.
Submitted by N. Froehlich.
The Christmas Concert at our School in Beaconia, was one big event in those days we all looked forward to.
The stage was put up and the class would spend weeks rehearsing and with the help of our two great teachers (Agnes and Kay Lesosky) they put all their efforts into it
and made it a huge success every time.
Decorations were homemade out of foil from tea and tobacco packages, we saved during the year. We made garlands of spruce branches tied together securely with
binder twine, we children found in the straw piles. These thick garlands were strung across the room criss-cross and decorated with guttering foil. Wreaths were made of
cedar branches with red crepe paper bows.
The tree was lit with candles. The treetop star was made of foil and a bit of tinsel. We strung popcorn, and made strings of red rosebud chains, and some chains
from foil and our tree looked great. And when the evening came, our little one-room school just sparkled, the aroma of cedar and spruce overwhelming.
Our little schoolhouse was filled to capacity, parents and friends came with horses and sleighs, by dog team, and walked many miles. The curtain opened welcoming all, and announcing each event. There were recitations, skits, Irish jigs, square dances, with the music from a wind-up gramophone.
Mother Goose, Bo Peeps, Queen of Hearts, in crepe paper costumes. The little old Lady that lived in a shoe, (the boys made a big shoe). The Nativity scene, the three Shepherds with Baby Jesus in the Manger, and Joseph and Mary, all appeared at our concert.
Christmas Carols were sung by the class, in English, German, Polish and Ukrainian. Closing with Jingle Bells to give Old Santa his cue when to come in from the North pole with his bag of goodies. And by the smiles and applause, we knew everyone enjoyed this event, and it is something we miss since our one-room schools left our communities.