Two Pine School, Bragg Creek
By Joan E. Merryfield
It was 1931 and Canada was suffering a time of severe depression. A meeting was held at the home of my parents, Mary and Leo Burby, for the purpose of establishing a school district and building a school. A school was badly needed as my sister Margaret was 9 years of age, my brother John was 7 and I was 4 years of age. The meeting was attended by parents of children who needed schooling and by neighbours who supported the idea. Everyone rode over on horseback – the Connops, Cresswells, Wolfes and Titteringtons were some of the folks who attended the meeting.
We children were asked to go out to play and not to return to the house until after the meeting had ended. Previously, our Dad – much to our Mother’s dismay – had showed us how to drown out gophers as they were very numerous and were destroying the gardens and hay crops by their digging. It seemed like a good thing to do while the meeting was taking place, so off we went each with a pail in hand to carry water from Fish Creek. It seemed that many trips with pails of water were needed to fill a gopher hole before a pesky gopher would pop out soaked with water. Intently watching the hole for a gopher to make a hasty exit we failed to keep an eye on the numerous holes nearby. Suddenly, someone looked behind us where a water-soaked gopher was above the ground. It had made an escape through a different tunnel! It was very chilled and immobile. We hastily picked it up and put it in one of the pails. We were so excited to capture it that we hastened to the house to show our parents forgetting all about the school meeting. We burst into the room, gopher and all, bringing a sudden halt to the school meeting and causing some unexpected reactions and shrieks from some of the ladies in attendance. Our mortified Mother acted quickly to shoo us out the door trying to regain some order to the meeting and knowing full well at that moment that we were indeed in need of some education!
The outcome of the meeting was successful and an endeavor to establish boundaries for a school district and to make application to government officials for permission to build a school was accomplished. After a few months of negotiations, boundaries were set and a board appointed. Trustees were Mrs. Agnes Connop, Chairman, Mrs. Mary Burby, Sec-Treas., and Mr. H.W. (Chummy) Cresswell.
The school would be built without any cost to the taxpayers. Construction was done by Syd Connop and Leo Burby with numerous contributions of material and labour being offered. Mr. Cresswell suggested the school be named “Two Pine” School as a hill of the same name was visible to the north of the location. The building of Two Pine School #4567 took place the following year.
My Dad, Leo Burby, volunteered to cut the logs for building the school. This was a remarkable feat as he had lost his right arm in World War 1. The forest fires of 1919 had destroyed many acres of forest and left standing were clean, dry logs free of bark. West of our ranch was a source of logs located near the Fish Creek Canyon. This area was locally known as the “Pole Bush”. A permit from Forestry was needed to harvest the logs. My Uncle Charles Burby helped my Dad with the logging and hauling. We were told to stay in bed until the men left for the bush as my Mother was preparing a hearty breakfast for the men and a large lunch that they would take with them. We listened for the jingle of the trace chains which was our signal to hop out of bed and start a new day as the team and sleigh left in the early morning darkness.
When my parents bought a new airtight heater, the old one was taken to the Pole Bush and set up there. One winter day our Dad and Uncle said we youngsters were allowed to travel to the logging site with them. We sat on the bunks of the sleigh and held on to the upright stakes that held the logs in place when they were loaded. After the 3-mile ride the airtight heater was soon warming us up as we sat on the logs that surrounded it. The building logs were cut with crosscut saws and the dry branches trimmed off with axes. At intervals one of the men would refuel the heater that kept us comfy and warm. Soon it was lunchtime when our Dad and Uncle joined us by the heater to enjoy the hearty lunch that our Mother had prepared.
By mid afternoon the logs were loaded and fastened with logging chains and boomers and it was time to start the journey home. How excited we were to ride on top of the load and to watch the horses pulling much harder on the return trip. Near Burby Lake the team pulled even harder as we climbed the incline that took us to a level spot on top of the hill. We were told to jump off of the load as the chains had to be tightened with the boomers and a “rough lock” had to be put on the runners. A “rough lock” is a logging chain wrapped securely around the sleigh runners to slow the load on the down slope of the fairly steep trail. It was removed once we reached a level part of the sleigh trail. We had so many things to tell our Mother on our return – all chattering at once of course! A big supper followed and bedtime came early for us as it had been a long day. It was an exciting experience for us to see the logs cut for our school.
Leo Burby and his brother Charles delivered the logs to the chosen building site for the school by team and sleigh. The three-acre site was just south of what is now Bar Kay Cee Ranch on Hwy. #762 and is part of the Connop Ranch.
In preparation for starting school in the months ahead, my parents had bought me a horse of my very own. He was buckskin with four white feet and a white strip on his face. My parents purchased him from a Stoney Indian named Jonas Lefthand for $10. He was branded with the Stoney brand. I was on cloud nine to have my own horse to care for. I was allowed to ride him bareback to learn my balance.
When the log work was completed the Inspector of Schools, Col. McGregor, drove out from Calgary to inspect the progress of construction. My mother, who was a school trustee, met him and she said I could ride along on the two-mile trip. I think she wanted to check to see if I could make it! Col. McGregor seemed aghast at the log structure. At the time, it consisted of only the four log walls; no door or window openings had been cut and there was no roof. After some explanation from my mother as to what steps would follow to complete the building, Mr. McGregor seemed sceptical that this rough structure could be a suiatable school. Finally he said, “If you people think that you can make a school out of that, you can carry on until it is completed!”
Mr. McClintock, my father Leo Burby and his brother Charles Burby completed the log work on the school building. Mr. McClintock did a lot of the finishing carpentry. This included putting on the roof, cutting the window and door openings and putting in the windows. Chummy Cresswell had donated the windows. Lastly, the interior lined with cut lumber covering the logs. A fir floor was added which completed the school’s interior. A small porch was added at one end of the school for storage purposes. Firewood, overshoes, a washbasin and other items were stored in this porch. Our horses’ bridles were brought inside during the cold weather as the bits had to be kept warm. These items were only part of the items housed in the porch. A chimney and an airtight heater were installed. Furnishings included a medium sized table for the teacher and an office swivel chair – probably the first one we had ever seen. Desks were put in place and a school bell was added to the teacher’s table. Col. McGregor once more made a final inspection and he gave his approval when he made his famous comment, “Ring the bell and let her rip!”
The school opened May 2nd, 1932. How proud and grown up I felt riding my own horse to school. Miss Maisie Budge was our first teacher who was hired for $50 per month for the months of May and June, and $64 per month for the ten-month term starting in September 1932 to June 1933.
There were six pupils attending from May to June consisting of two families – the Connops (Jim, George & Dick) and the Burbys (Margaret, John and Joan). In September Frankie Wolfe commenced school and we made a grand total of seven in attendance.
It was very exciting to learn the school rules – when the bell rang you ran as fast as you could to get inside and take your desk. Raising your arm to answer the call to the outhouse. Keeping quiet was essential which was a hard task for some of us.
There was no drinking water at the school site which necessitated the students taking turns walking to the Titterington’s to fill a water pail from their spring. At times we brought the ingredients to make hot chocolate for the class and one of the parents donated a large one-gallon coffee can complete with large lettering spelling “NABOB” in bright red on the side of the can. It served the purpose well and it was a treat to have a warm drink with our lunches.
I found it tiring to make the two-mile ride to the school each day as it was an early morning start and the two mile return trip each afternoon only made it worse. I often fell asleep in class during those first days. It seemed I would be studying my reading and next thing I knew my head dropped down on the desk and I was asleep. The teacher let me sleep as she carried on her work with the older grades.
Such was my memory of starting school when I was five years old.
By Marie Nylund
Daughter of Joan Merryfield
Bragg Creek School #3088
Source: Our Foothills (Freda Purmal, (nee Fullerton) former student, daughter of Jake Fullerton.
This was the first school at Bragg Creek. The building still stands on its original site at Bragg Creek and has been known for many years as “Sugar Shack”. The one-acre site for the school was donated by the Cullen brothers who owned NE ¼ 10-23-5W5. At the time that it was built there were three Bragg Creek families with school aged children – the Bill Grahams who lived on what is now Saddle & Sirloin, the Jim Longs who lived directly north of the school; and the Jake Fullertons who lived on what is now the site of the Elkana Ranch buildings. The school was opened January 10, 1914.
The Sugar Shack was named for the Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireband song titled, Sugar Shack
There’s this cute little girlie, she’s a’workin’ there
Two Pine School #4567
Built in 1931 and opened in 1932.
(Source: Our Foothills and recollections of Joan E. Merryfield (nee Burby)
The teacher’s residence was built in 1938 and was later moved to Bragg Creek where it was used as a teacher’s residence for many years. This building is still in use for Bragg Creek residents for changing into their ice skates.
Dawson Hill School #4365
(Source: Chaps and Chinooks, Foothills Historical Society)
Built in 1931 at Dawson Hill. Located just NE of Matthews Highland Stock Farm about 10 km east of Hwy #22 on Hwy #8. This school was moved to Bragg Creek for Grades 1 through 8. In the mid 1950s the school was no longer used as a school, however, it remained useful to the community as it was used for meetings, and as a Sunday School in the 1960s. It was relocated to a site slightly south of its original site, to accommodate the construction of the community hall and parking area. Presently “The Little School House” provides an important function in the community as it is used as a kindergarten for Bragg Creek.
Drummond School #254
Source: Chaps and Chinooks, Foothills Historical Society
Formerly Jumping Pond School #254. Note the name Jumping Pond was later changed to Jumping Pound. Built in 1940 The original Jumping Pond School #254 was built in 1892 on a site ½ miles west of Drummond’s Corner. (Drummond’s Corner akas Carter’s Corner is the junction of Hwy. #22 and Springbank Road. The building was of frame construction.The school was opened in 1893. Over the years it was also used for concerts, dances, parties etc. to raise funds to equip the school. This school closed in 1914. The building was eventually sold to Charlie Cooley who used it as a granary.
A new school was built in 1940 on a site ½ mile east of the former school site, on the SW corner of the junction of Hwy. #22 and Springbank Road. This new site was at Drummond’s Corner (also referred to as Carter’s Corner). The name of the school was changed from Jumping Pond School #254 to Drummond School #254. This school was moved to Bragg Creek in 1952. Local children attended this school in Grades 1 through 8 until the early 1960s when the school burnt down.
Springbank Community High School
Established in 1975 the school has grown from about 2,500 sq. metres to about 7,880 sq. metres in size with the construction of new additions and portables in 1980, 1990, 1994, 1999 and 2001. Current enrollment is about 750 students. It is part of the Rocky View School District. It is located at the intersection of Range Road 33 and Springbank Rd. Grades 9 to 12.
Springbank Middle School
A feeder school for the high school, the Middle School offers grades 5 to 8 in both English and French Immersion. There are about 560 students enrolled. The school is located just north of the high school at 244235 Range Road 33.
Banded Peak School
The school opened in 1997. It is located just south of the Hamlet of Bragg Creek on Highway 22. There are about 300 students enrolled in Kindergarten and grades 1 through 8. It is a feeder school for Springbank High School and is part of the Rocky View School District.
The Little Schoolhouse
The Little Schoolhouse was founded in 1974 and began operation as a community kindergarten and play school. They offer Kindergarten as well as a 3 and 4 year-old Preschool. The schoolhouse is the original Dawson Hill School built in 1931. It was moved moved from Springbank to its current location behind the Community Centre.
Montessori of Redwood Meadows – Bragg Creek
A Montessori preschool and kindergarten program in operation since 1994. The school provides a nurturing environment responsive to the developmental and educational needs of young children. It is located in Redwood House in Redwood Meadows.
List of photos with captons
The Sugar Shack
This was the first school in Bragg Creek. It was built on land donated by a man named Cullen. He, Jake Fullerton and others built the schoolhouse. It is located across the road, to the west of the Fullerton farm in West Bragg Creek. It has been a private residence for many years. One resident, a bachelor, used to entertain female friends using chocolates and sweets as an enticement. A song by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireband inspired the name. Later they built a little shed and called it “The Sugar Cube”.
The Little Scoolhouse
This was the first school in Bragg Creek. It was built on land donated by a man named Cullen. He, Jake Fullerton and others built the schoolhouse. It is located across the road, to the west of the Fullerton farm in West Bragg Creek. It has been a private residence for many years. One resident, a bachelor, used to entertain female friends using chocolates and sweets as an enticement.
Side View of the Little Schoolhouse
Originally built in 1931 as the Dawson Hill School about 15 kilometres east of Bragg Creek in Springbank, the building was moved to its current location beside the Community Centre. The building was used as a Sunday School, meeting room and social centre, but it has served as a preschool since 1974.
The Teacher’s Residence
This building served as the teacher’s residence for the Two Pines School when it was built in 1938. Mary Blair lived there while teaching at Two Pines School. She married Jack Elsdon. They owned what we know as the Trading Post Store. Their daughter, Barb Teghtmeyer now owns the store. The teacher’s residence was moved to the Community Centre in the 1950s where it now functions as a changeroom for the ice rink. It is named the Elsdon Room. The Merryfield Room, the right side of the building, and the middle are additions used for utilities.
Dawson Hill School
Located just NE of Matthews Highland Stock Farm about 10 km east of Hwy #22 on Hwy #8. This school was moved to Bragg Creek where it is now located beside the Community Centre and serves as the Little Schoolhouse.
Children playing baseball near the Drummond School, formerly the Jumping Pond School, located near the intersection of Highway 22 and the Springbank Rd., known as Drummond’s Corner and also Carter’s Corner. The building was relocated from the west side of Hwy. 22 to the east side.
School Play 1957
Students in costume standing beside the Dawson Hill School, now the Little Schoolhouse located beside the Community Centre.
Bragg Creek School Class of 1955
Photo taken in 1955 at the Bragg Creek (Dawson Hill) School, now the Little Schoolhouse located beside the Community Centre. Jack Merryfield married Joan Burby, the author of the Two Pine School story. Their son George is in this photo as is Joan’s brother Brian Burby. Five generations of Burbys and Merryfields lived in and around Bragg Creek. Joan’s daughter, Marie, remembers attending KinderGarten at the Bragg Creek (Dawson) School where her older brother George had a very special seat, located in the back corner of the room facing the wall.
Springbank Community High School
Bragg Creek students originally attended schools in the Foothills district, as far away as Black Diamond. Once the Hwy 22 bridge over the Elbow River was constructed students began attending schools in the Rocky View District. The Springbank Community High School now accommodates about 800 students in a building occupying about 7,800 sq. metres of space.
Springbank Middle School
Located just north of the high school, this school accommodates over 500 pupils in grades 5 to 8, in English and French.
Banded Peak School Entrance
Opened in 1997 the school has abot 300 students enrolled in Kindergarten and grades one through eight.
Banded Peak School
The school is located a couple of kilometres south of the hamlet on the west side of Highway 22. The east side is the Tsuu T’ina Nation.
This is the classroom for the Montessori School located in Redwood House in Redwood Meadows. There is another Montessori school in the Bragg Creek Community Centre.