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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Bluff Island School No. 597 (Harperville, RM of St. Laurent)

The Bluff Island School District was established in February 1889 and a one-room schoolhouse operated at Harperville (32-16-2W) in the Rural Municipality of St. Laurent. In 1940, arrangements were made to rent a former site of the Franciscaines Missionaires de Marie, starting with the 1940-1941 school year. This east-facing, three-storey building is described as being on Lot 18 in the RM of St. Laurent. It measured 60 feet by 53 feet and had five classrooms, a lunchroom, and a sewing room. The school closed in 1958, reopened the following year, then closed permanently in 1963. The students were bused to St. Laurent and later to Inwood. The former school building was sold.

Among the teachers of Bluff Island School were G. W. Burrell (1922-1923), John A. Bell (1924-1925), K. M. Ralston (1925), Leonard A. Dowler (1926-1927), D. W. Finlayson (1927-1928), Elzear J. Lavoie (1930-1931), A. S. Connelly? (1931-1932), I. Beaudette, A. Kramer, G. Boudry, I. Jeffrey, A. Sosney, Dorothy Genest (1942-1943), John William Godsjhie? (1943-1944), Nicholas Rebenchuk (1944-1945), Lena Ruth Reimer (1945), Rudy Penner (1946-1947), Robert Gordon Waystaff (1949-1950), Julie Freda Sklepowich (1950-1951), Julie F. Chatfield (1951-1952), Evelyn Hallett (1952-1953), Nick A. Lebedoff (1953-1954), Fernand Lambert (1954-1955), Elsie Senkow (1955), Nettie D. Enns (1955-1956), Peter W. Solomon (1956-1957), Modiste E. Olynyk (1957-1958), Victor Henry Abgrall (1950-1960), Manda Adella Linke (1960-1961), William Arnott Day (1961-1962), Frank Reimer Martens (1962-1963).

Bluff Island School

Bluff Island School (no date) by M. Hall-Jones
Source: Archives of Manitoba, School Inspectors Photographs,
GR8461, A0233, C131-1, page 94.

Students inside Bluff Island School

Students inside Bluff Island School (no date)
Source: Settlers, Rails and Trails Museum

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.40326, W97.66988
denoted by symbol on the map above


St. Laurent topographic map, 62I/5, Edition 1, Series A743 [UFS Reference Collection].

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.

The Interlake Beckoned: A History of Inwood and Surrounding Districts by Inwood History Book Committee, 1980. [Manitoba Legislative Library, F5648.I59 Int]

Departmentally appointed school trustee files (E 0034), GR1629, Bluff Island School District No. 597 Daily Registers, Archives of Manitoba.

Departmentally appointed school trustee files (E 0034), GR1629, St. Laurent School District No. 1416 Daily Registers, Archives of Manitoba.

Departmentally appointed school trustee files (E 0034), GR1629, St. Laurent School District No. 1416 Miscellaneous, Archives of Manitoba.

We thank Shayne Campbell (Settlers, Rails and Trails Museum) for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 8 March 2021

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