Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Verdun School: Nowhere Near Berlin

Last Saturday, I was able to spend most of the daylight hours exploring. That isn't saying much as this time of year there is only about 8 hours of sunlight per day, a few minutes more each day though which is something to be happy about. I am glad I was able to have this full day since we are now in another cold snap and I am not sure when I will have time to explore again.

This school was on my list of things to go see. It is near Duhamel, AB which is NE of where I live about 1.5 hours. The area around this school was originally settled by German immigrants from the NE United States in the late 1890's. In 1902 the New Berlin schoolhouse was complete and would teach Grades 1-8. The community continued to grow and in 1915 an addition to the school and a teacherage were added.

Due to hostility and resentment towards Germany during WWI, the school was renamed in 1918. Verdun was chosen after the Battle of Verdun which happened in 1916. Verdun School continued to hold classes until 1952. It was used also as a community hall and a church. It has now been preserved as an excellent example of a one room prairie schoolhouse. It became an Alberta Designated Historic Building in 2000.



The classic Waterbury

Outhouse 1, the other was in the opposite corner


c.1910 

A photo of a photo inside the school.
Undated but the cars should make it easy to date for someone. 
My little ham, photo by Kim!

School selfie!

This small area of Alberta is very interesting and I will be blogging more on it later. It has several distinct groups of settlers from German to French to Norwegian as well as various religious backgrounds. The Catholic Church in my last post is a short distance from Verdun School.

References: Pioneering With a Piece of Chalk; HeRMIS; Battle River Country: A Historical Sketch of Duhamel and District. 

37 comments:

  1. Have you ever seen the old Canadian movie, "Why Shoot the Teacher"? It's a real classic --

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Shoot_the_Teacher%3F

    The interior of this school made me think of that film!

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    1. Hi Debra, I have not seen the movie but I read the book by the same name. I believe another school near Hanna was used but it probably looks just like this one!

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  2. A lovely old school!

    The city of Kitchener here in Ontario was originally Berlin. During the First World War too, it was renamed.

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    1. Thank you William. I did not know that about Kitchener! Interesting to find out how places got their names. This school is also near a town called New Norway.

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  3. That's a beauty! Love that stove. Fine photos here.

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    1. Thanks Chris, I do love an old school!!

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    1. Thanks Gorges! Me too. I have seen a few of these beauties in my travels.

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  5. I love your son's expression in the "school selfie"!

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    1. Haha Thanks Steve, that was after I said, 'make a nice face'.

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  6. Cute photos of the two of you! :) Wow that is a long trek to the outhouse lol! It's wonderfully kept up! Very nice trip! :)

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    1. Thanks Rain! Yes the other outhouse was closer, but I am sure neither was very comfortable lol.

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  7. Love the picture of you and your little cutie!

    The teacher in me loves the old school. If those walls could talk...

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    1. Thanks Marie! I make him take selfies at all these places we visit lol! This is one the oldest schools still standing in Alberta.

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  8. A wonderful and well maintained school. It does have an interesting history and that name change is quite unique No one wanted a German name for a town/school because of the implications of the war. Nice research Jenn, you would make a great history detective. :)

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    1. Thanks Bill! There was also a Swastika School, it's name was also changed. Even though it was chosen in reference to the original meaning of the word from Indian and East Asian culture. I like this kind of detective work!

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  9. I wonder if they served some liberty cabbage there while they were at it?

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    1. LOL! Funny!! I wonder if that term was ever used in Canada?!

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  10. Another nice report, Thanks Jenn :-)

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    1. Thanks Frank, I swear I am learning more now than I ever did at school. lol

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  11. This school looks pretty handsome in white with green trim, just like the cottage school. The newest cars I recognize in the photo are a 1949 Ford and a 1949 Mercury.

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    1. Oops...what I meant to say was that it's as handsome as the cottage school. It's way past my bedtime...lol!

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    2. LOL thanks Michael! I like the white and green trim too. I knew someone would be able to identify the cars.

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  12. Was reading in the Duhamel history book about the Waterbury heaters used in the old schools. At the end of the school day, the kids would take their bottles of ink and set them around the base of the heater to keep them from freezing, as overnight the classrooms would cool down, but close to the heater, it would stay warm. Sometimes the bottles would get a little too warm and explode.

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    1. Thanks Tim, I bet the kids who sat closest to that stove were nice and toasty..I can't imagine the teacher was ever warm lol. Exploding ink must have made a terrible mess.

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  13. The outhouses are always, by necessity I guess ☺, so far away from the main building.. bit tough when it's freezing cold! Communities were so much smaller back then! You had a tres successful photo opportunities day Jenn!

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    1. Thanks PDP! They sure were smaller back then, and there seemed to be more sense of community, teams and leagues and picnics and all sort of things. I love learning about these places. LOL I could do a whole post on all the outhouses I have found.

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  14. Super photos of this iconic structure. It reminds me of the school house where my mother taught in the 1920s in northern Minnesota. From my own experience, I can say without pause that it is no fun to trudge out to an outhouse in the middle of the night in the middle of winter! :)

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    1. Thanks Lowell! I love old school houses and hearing stories about them. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

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  15. P.S. I forgot to mention how much I like your header photo. It is so well done!

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    1. Thanks again Lowell! I meant to blog about that place. It was a farm built by the railroad to show people what they would get if they came and settled on the prairies. It was called a Demonstration Farm. I don't know of any others that are so complete.

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  16. The school student desk just like the ones my school had. It brought back memories for me. The hole on the desk would hold a bottle full of ink.

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    1. Hi Andy, I have a desk in my house similar to the ones on the right side of the schoolhouse. I used it at home as a kid and used that hole for my water cup when painting.

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  17. Great pictures. I really like the first one. I love going to see places like that have been preserved.

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    1. Thanks Danielle! I agree, I am glad to see these places preserved, I wish they could all be saved!

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