||August 11, 2006
Good old Golden Valley
Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.
students and teachers who attended the Golden Valley School(s) will gather for a
reunion at the Lion’s Den at the Arnstein Community Centre. Like many who
attended a rural school or taught in one, as I did, wonderful memories remain.
The last of several Golden Valley schools, 40km west of Trout Creek on Highway
522, closed 30 years ago and is now privately owned. The planning committee has
been working hard to make the reunion memorable. Their brochure prompts
participants to remember – best friends/ teachers, the long walks to school, the
first and last day of school, Christmas concerts, school yard fun, bike rodeos,
||The original Golden Valley
log school house c.1890
Committee member and Golden
Valley resident Marlene Moore and her husband attended the school and she is
acting as the archivist for the event. Old photographs and other material from
the Women’s Institute were invaluable. The old local history on McConkey
Corners and the book Lunch Bucket Chronicles have some good information on
Golden Valley. Some old school registers where discovered and old school books,
teachers’ contracts, etc. have been found. Several former teachers have been
contacted including Lisa Fry, June Hampel, Dorcas Gehrke, Erva Grasser and
Carole Dobbs. These artifacts will be on display at the Reunion.
school houses 1920 & 1957.
The original school in the
1890’s was in the Methodist Church near the corner where the townships of East
Mills and Pringle meet. The first class had 18 students and for several years
the school only operated from April to Christmas allowing the older boys to take
winter work in the lumber camps. The church burned and was replaced with a
clapboard building. In 1920 a separate new school was built and in 1957 a
two-room school replaced it to handle the growing population. In less than a
decade students began to be bused to the Argyle School in Port Loring and the
school was sold to private purchasers.
In a conversation with
former teacher Lisa Fry she made reference to a photo of her and her class of 40
students Grades 1-8 in 1949 in The Lunch Bucket Chronicles. Lisa’s first job
was to replace a pregnant teacher and she jarred the school inspector when she
told him that she was pregnant. Lisa’s daughter is now a retired teacher from
the area. Lisa talked about the shortage of books and how she wrote stories for
the class and wrote phonics books to help them learn to read.
The conversation at the
reunion will undoubtedly move to other memories from the old days - the local
stores, post office, churches, businesses, the first phone, the Saturday night
reveries, the hockey rink. I have a copy of Josephine Grawbarger’s remarkable
book about one of Golden Valley’s well-known old timers who she wrote about in
her book “The Legend of Joseph Driver” (1974). The following, part of the poem
about “The First Post Office”, captures the spirit of the time. Joseph Driver
(1849-1929) was the first Post Master, had a dozen children and his son Walter
built the first school in 1920.
The First Post Office
It was in the
house of Joseph
That a post office was started.
How the people watched with pleasure
As the first stage with its mailbags
Rumbled in to golden Valley.
Johnny Kyle, the chubby mailman,
Would unload the mail and parcels,
Then exchange his tired horses
For a pair from Joseph’s stable
Ere he galloped on to Loring.
He combined his mailman duties
with a dozen other interests,
Bringing gossip from the outside,
Bringing ‘railroad time’ for watches,
Bringing freight and summer boarders.
Three times every week he passed there,
Through the bleak cold days of winter,
Through the dusty days of summer,
And through wind and rain and weather
Rode his jug of rye beside him.
Another interesting book
about the Golden Valley area is Walter Heasman’s Off the Beaten Path at Golden
Valley which tells about his life primarily as the developer of the popular
Little River Lodge.
The South River Festival of the Arts
South River will be
bustling with activity from August 10-13 with many well-advertised art events
that are always entertaining and educational. I want to see Doreen Woods’ art
show at Renee’s Café and hear the Neil Lehto talk on Tom Thomson.
Powassan Clark House Museum
Saturday the 12th
is the “History Alive” day at the Clark House Museum in Powassan. From 10-4
there will be antique cars and farm equipment, a dog show, fun for the kids,
crafts, a quilt demonstration by Jane Vester and a visit to the Museum. The
Pioneer Porter family will be featured at an 11a.m. event with 4 of the Porter
Great Great Grandchildren present.
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