Barlow Creek Elementary
816 Barkerville Hwy.
Barlow Creek, around since ‘52
Courtesy of Marlene Magnowski, Observer Contributor
Barlow Creek School was originally constructed in 1952 at a site on the corner of Aird Road and Highway 26, directly across the street from where our fire hall sits today. It was a one-room building with outdoor bathrooms and a well with a hand pump for water. Water was pumped into the school in a bucket and set on a bench at the back of the school. Water was dipped from the bucket and hands were washed in a pan which also sat on the bench. There was no hot water.
The building was heated by a large barrel wood heater in the middle of the building. The school was built to accommodate the needs of the many families that lived in camp and whose fathers worked in one of the several bush mills in existence at that time. It was attended by students in grades one to four. Kindergarten did not exist in the school as most mothers stayed home and prepared their children for grade one in the home. There were no custodians to clean the school. The older students were assigned the tasks of getting in wood and water, cleaning the chalkboards, and sweeping the floor. Keeping the outhouses clean was usually the job of the teachers.
The school was the community centre as well in those days. Meetings were always held there, and on Saturday night the desks were pushed to the side and the school became the social entertainment centre.
In the summer of ’62, the building was moved to its present site and as student population demanded, additions were made. In the years from ’63 to ’66, classrooms, a library, and an office were added. In 1968 the gymnasium was a welcome addition. By this time, a custodian was also hired. In ’72, another classroom was added, as well as a staff room. The community population kept growing and in ’74 a new wing was added that had a kindergarten room, an improved and larger library, and another classroom.
Then, on August 15, 1995, tragedy struck the school. Fire broke out in the evening and despite the efforts of the firefighters, all that was left standing was the new wing which was separated by a fire wall.
That September, students were housed in what was Pinecrest School. A decision was made to build a new school on the same site, and on December 16, 1997, students were moved into the new school.