Kerrisdale School, 1925
THE HISTORY OF THE ORIGINAL KERRISDALE SCHOOL
by Oliver Matisz
Kerrisdale school’s nine acre site was obtained as a grant from the provincial government in 1908 by the Point Grey municipal council. There were only enough pupils to make up one class, but the school board still built a two room, two storey schoolhouse with a well and pump for water and outside amenities. At the time, the area had just started to be developed, largely due to the construction of the Lulu Island Streetcar line on Arbutus Street which was completed in 1905. Prospectors would use the streetcar service to eye potential properties of interest.
Mr. C. Croft was the first teacher at the school, followed by Miss F. Mackeen who replaced him to finish Kerrisdale’s inaugural school year. In 1909, Miss Ethel Park took over the role and was joined by Miss Hazel Smith in 1910.
Records show that the school was used as a place of worship for both Anglicans and Presbyterians in 1910 before the main churches were established in the area.
St. Mary’s Kerrisdale, one of the the first churches in the area, credited the schoolhouse as being a useful place of worship in a 1961 pamphlet honouring their first fifty years of existence. “Our first congregation of 12 met on a Sunday morning in 1910 in the schoolroom of a local school. We sat in children’s seats with desks in front of us, very cramped as you can imagine!”
In 1911, Kerrisdale School’s student population doubled and two new teachers were appointed.
The building continued to be used after the main school was constructed in 1922. After the Second World War, returning soldiers settled in the area and with their growing families created an influx in the population, compelling the VSB to construct an addition to the main school. With the extension project being completed there was no longer a need for the original school house. It was slated for demolition by the VSB but thankfully this did not happen. However, the five other outbuildings on the site were deconstructed.
Today, the building is used by the school music teacher and will hopefully continue to serve as an educational space for years to come.
Photos provided by Oliver (source: Vancouver City Archives)
(Oliver is a Grade 7 student at Kerrisdale Elementary School with an interest in local history)
ADDITIONAL PHOTO (Source: Vancouver School Board Archives)