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The Ridge Schoolhouse: 1889-1945

Built in 1889, the schoolhouse is one of the oldest surviving one-room schools in North Hastings. For over 50 years, it served the children of what was once a busy community. Then, with only one local student, The Ridge Schoolhouse closed its doors in June 1945.
schoolhouse in 1891

The Ridge Schoolhouse in 1891

Fans of singer-songwriter-guitarist Joni Mitchell may be interested to know that the little girl at left front, wearing the broad hat, is the artist's grandmother, Sadie (Henderson) McKee, who was born and raised at The Ridge and attended the school from 1894 to 1901.

There are still a number of people in the area who remember the school. In a letter she wrote in 1989 at the age of 89, Rebecca McLean (née Bartlett) recalls the memories of her times of teaching at The Ridge:
"The Ridge I found to be a delightful, small community- making their Church and School the centre of their living. I recall the pupils and I playing a comedy skit for the families..."

"My salary was $475 yearly. It was a very small registration, I recall 9 or so. I always felt the 'little one-room schoolhouse' of old had a great deal to offer in personal help for the pupil."
class of 1929

October 29, 1929
Teacher: Miss Gurtrude Gunter

A few years before the school's closing in 1945, and in the years following, the structure saw many alterations:
  • Two windows were added on the south side. (Later, all original windows were removed and replaced by 2 large picture windows.)
  • The woodshed was enlarged.
  • The small porch area was enlarged to house 2 primitive chemical privies. (Later, a water pump and basic plumbing were installed.)
  • A loft and stone fireplace were added.
  • The interior was painted in psychedelic colours and patterns by an artist who lived there in the 1970s.
  • The entire surrounding playground and property became totally overgrown with small trees and dense brush by the 1990s.
children playing 1900

Children Playing in Schoolyard - 1900

A wealth of historical information and photographs have been compiled, and these resources are being used to reconstruct the schoolhouse to its original configuration.
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