Historic Sites of Manitoba: Berlo Bismark School No. 1482 (RM of Gimli)
In 1903, the first residents of this area in the Rural Municipality of Gimli arrived from German-speaking villages in Austria. The first school, named Goethe after German writer J. W. von Goethe (1749-1832), was established in February 1909, in the southwest corner of 27-20-3 east of the Principal Meridian, on land donated by farmer John Reichert. At some point, the school was renamed Bismark, presumably commemorating German statesman Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898).
The school was destroyed by fire in June 1949. Classes resumed in an abandoned two-room log house at SE28-20-3E. Dissatisfaction over the school name, possibly due to anti-German sentiment arising during two World Wars, led to another name change, to Berlo in August 1949. A new school building was erected on three acres of land in 1952. It operated until the fall of 1967 when all students were bused to schools in Gimli, and the school district was consolidated into Evergreen School Division No. 22. The school building and adjacent teacherage were sold at public auction in October 1967 and, the next spring, the school was moved to the nearby community of Berlo and renovated into a private residence.
Among the teachers who worked at Berlo Bismark School were Mr. Gebler (1910), Mr. Gabour, William Chimchak, Laura Solmundson Tergesen, and Sister A. Walsh.
A History of Education in the Evergreen School Division by John C. Gottfried, MA thesis, University of Manitoba, 1965.
One Hundred Years in the History of the Rural Schools of Manitoba: Their Formation, Reorganization and Dissolution (1871-1971) by Mary B. Perfect, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, April 1978.
Rural Municipality of Gimli: Historical Highlights, 1887-1987 by Rural Municipality of Gimli Centennial Homecoming Committee. Manitoba Legislative Library, F5648.G55 Rur.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 1 January 2014
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