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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Melita School No. 440 / Antler River Museum (41 Ash Street, Melita)

Link to:
Principals | Vice-Principals | Teachers | Photos & Maps | Sources

The museum occupies the former building of the Melita Consolidated School No. 440 in the Town of Melita. Constructed in 1893, on a design by architect W. H. Shillinglaw, it was a four-room school with its main entrance on the south side. Four more rooms were added in 1905 and brick veneer was added later. Cornerstones are located in the south and northwest corners of the building. Through the years, the rural schools that consolidated with it included Bede School No. 1683, Brown School No. 625, Chesterfield School No. 408, Dobbyn School No. 986, Peninsula School No. 907, Sourisford School No. 906, and West Brenda School No. 388.

On the grounds in front of the museum is a bell cast in 1910 bearing the names of Melita municipal officials that year: Mayor R. M. Graham; councillors R. McB. McKay, T. S. Menarry, T. W. Oxley, W. Griffith, and James Robertson; and secretary-treasurer and constable John Graves. Nearby is a plaque commemorating those from Melita School killed in the First World War, and a plaque describing the ancient Aboriginal traders of southern Manitoba, erected by the Manitoba Heritage Council. Also on the grounds is a small outbuilding housing the Fred Jensen collection of mounted animal specimens.

Exhibits inside the museum include:

  • Old-time picture room with walls covered in photographs of Melita and the surrounding country
  • Aboriginal heritage room with an extensive collection of projectile points, baskets, grinders, stone hammers, dioramas, and more
  • Rural school room recreating a turn-of-the-century, one-room school with desks, pot-bellied stove, water cooler, readers, textbooks and library
  • Pioneer home room circa 1900 with furniture and articles in the parlour, dining room, bedroom, kitchen, and back shed
  • Military room containing uniforms, badges, medals and equipment used in two world wars, and a memorial to those killed in them
  • Main floor corridor with agricultural exhibits including an 1881 breaking plow, sleigh with buffalo robe, saws, axes, farm tools, and the first linotype machine used by a newspaper in Western Canada
  • Wildlife exhibit containing over 300 specimens of mounted birds, egs, and other animals
  • Art gallery of work by local artists from the surrounding community
  • Antiques room containing many items used in earlier times
  • Community history room including exhibits on organizations that have operated in the district, including the Browns Fastball Club, Masons (Oriental Lodge No. 54), IOOF (Lodge No. 20), Memorial Hospital, and Anglican, Roman Catholic, and United Churches. Also featured are photographs and school record books for several small schools that operated in the vicinity: South Antler School No. 351 (1884-1962), West Brenda School No. 388 (1885-1960), Chesterfield School No. 408 (1885-1964), Purple Hill School No. 487 (1887-1959), Brown School No. 625 (1891-1961), Tremblay School No. 707 (1892-1959), and Peninsula School No. 907 (1897-1961).
  • Fashions exhibit with turn-of-the-20th-century clothing, dolls, and carriages
  • Antique tool display with over 1000 wrenches and other hand tools, including a display of miniature-scale horses and wagons, and cast iron seats from antique farm equipment
  • Miscellaneous exhibits including a display on the Melita town council (1927-2002) and profiles of noteworthy Melita citizens

Principals

Period

Principal

1893-1895

George Darling Shortreed (1870-1940)

1896-1899

?

1899

Charles William “Charlie” St. John (1874-1951)

1899-1900

Ernest Forster Haffner (1876-1942)

1900-1903

John Henry Conklin (1876-1955)

1903-1904

Samuel Couch

1904-1905

Duncan Crerar (1877-1910)

1905-1908

William Fletcher Loucks (1876-1953)

1908-1911

David Williamson Yuill (1878-1970)

1911-1913

Herbert Wellington Huntley (1879-1974)

1913-1915

George Robert Farrar Prowse (1860-1946)

1915-1916

William M. Eadie

1916-1918

Edward Sandford Lord (1869-1922)

1918-1923

John Alexius Peterson (c1885-1959)

1923-1924

David Iverach (1871-1946)

1924-1928

Albert Livingstone “Bert” Mills (1901-1984)

1928-1934

George Isaac Herman Garrett (1884-1977)

1934-1936

Henry Irvine Graham (1903-1991)

1936-1940

William Skidmore (c1885-?)

1940-1942

Edward Eldjarn Johnson (1900-1978)

1942-1943

Howard Melville Dunfield (1912-2000)

1943-1949

Sanford Stephen Harvey (1911-1980)

1949-1950

Raymond Ronald Bailey (1922-2015)

1950-1951

Gordon W. McIvor

1951-1955

Richard R. “Dick” Partridge (1922-1990)

1955-1956

James Ogel Beckstead (1883-1985)

1956-1957

Johann Edvald Sigurjonsson (1900-1972)

1957-1959

Arthur Kendall Stratton (1895-1961)

1959-1961

James K. Cooper

1961-1963

John Wilkie

1963-1965

Glen Wayne Hanna

1965-1970

Gary G. Gordon

1970-1971

Manhomohan Malhi

1971-1973

William G. McGavin

1973-1975

Jean A. Beaumont (1943-2016)

1975-1976

Ted Yarema

1977-1979

Elroy Tank

1979-1980

Joe Mudrey

1980-1981

Ken Karlander

Teachers

Among the other teachers at Melita School was W. G. Hume.

Photos & Maps

Melita High School

Postcard view of Melita School showing the start of construction for its expansion from four to eight classrooms (circa 1905)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2013-0178

Melita High School

Melita High School building erected in 1906 (1906)
Source: Education Department Report, 1906, Manitoba Legislative Library.

Melita Consolidated School

The Melita Consolidated School on Fair Day (26 September 1917)
Source: Education Department Report, 1917, Manitoba Legislative Library.

Melita School

Children exercising outside Melita School (no date) by George Hunter
Source: Archives of Manitoba, School Inspectors Photographs,
GR8461, A0233, C131-1, page 56.

Melita School

Postcard view of Melita Collegiate (no date)
Source: Rob McInnes, MN0031

Melita School

Melita School (August 1966)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Architectural Survey - Melita 12.

Melita School

Antler River Museum (2010)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Melita School

Anti-tank gun at the Antler River Museum, on loan from the Royal Canadian Artillery Museum (September 2012)
Source: Tighe McManus

Site Location (lat/long): N49.27308, W100.99186
denoted by symbol on the map above

Melita School Students Killed in the First World War:

Name

Occupation

Service

Rank

Birth Date

Death Date

Lewis Harold Barnard

Bank Clerk

23rd Battalion, Army

Lieutenant

31 October 1892

25 August 1916

Joseph Ralph Bilton

Farmer

43rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

23 August 1895

16 November 1917

Edgar William Brooks

Farmer

16th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

23 March 1890

8 October 1916

Albert Vail Cosgrove

Chauffeur

27 Squadron, Royal Air Force

2nd Lieutenant

21 March 1894

25 September 1918
(died in aerial combat)

Kenneth Brown Downie

Student

43rd Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

Gunner

18 October 1894

10 August 1916

Wilfred John Evans
[Reston]

Student

Canadian Infantry

Lance Corporal

9 September 1894

15 September 1916

Albert Edward Farmer

Farmer

28th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

2 July 1895

3 September 1918

Herbert Joshua Fletcher

Farmer

78th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

23 February 1897

24 April 1917

Thomas Veitch Gibson

Hardware Merchant

46th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

12 October 1884

8 April 1917

Andrew Benson Grierson

Farm Labourer

46th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

26 April 1897

12 April 1917

Frederick Hart

Farmer

5th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

23 February 1888

25 July 1916

Wilfred Maurice Holden

Bank Clerk

1st Canadian Mounted Rifles

Private

25 November 1895

20 August 1917

Franklin Robert Kelly

Farmer

44th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

19 February 1896

11 May 1917

George Francis Gordon Pitcher

Farmer

46th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

1 May 1898

26 October 1917

Norman Allan Pope

Rodman

7th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

28 April 1887

4 June 1916

Franklin Saunby

Farmer

1st Canadian Mounted Rifles

Private

25 June 1896

24 July 1916

Howard Clarence Sparling

Mechanic

1st Ammunition Supply Park

Private

17 April 1893

5 June 1917

Harry Nelson Thompson

Civil Servant

5th Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Lieutenant

6 October 1887

9 April 1917

F. J. Wheeler

?

?

?

?

?

Leslie Reuel Wilson

Farmer

102nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry

Private

26 January 1896

23 March 1917

Harold John Warin

Banker

Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

Private

19 February 1893

12 April 1916

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Melita War Memorial (Melita)

Sources:

Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.

Antler River Museum brochure.

For the names of First World War casualities from Manitoba who do not appear on any physical monument in the province, see the Manitoba Historical Society War Memorial. If you know of a name that is omitted from this list, please contact the MHS War Memorial Researcher Darryl Toews (darryl@mhs.mb.ca).

Soldiers of the First World War - Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.

Canadian Virtual War Memorial, Veterans Affairs Canada.

Financial support for research reported on this page was provided by the Manitoba Heritage Grants Program (2015-2016).

Antler River Historical Society Museum, Town of Melita.

A Study of Public School Buildings in Manitoba by David Butterfield, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 1994, 230 pages.

We thank James Kostuchuk, Tighe McManus, Rob McInnes, Nathan Kramer, and Darryl Toews for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 April 2016

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

Browse lists of:
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Please note that inclusion in this collection does not mean that a particular site has special status or protection. Some sites are on private property and permission must be secured from the owner prior to visiting.

Site information is provided by the Manitoba Historical Society as a free public service only for non-commercial purposes.


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