Historic Sites of Manitoba: Gretna School No. 336 / Gretna Peace Bell (Gretna, Municipality of Rhineland)
The Gretna School District was created by the Rural Municipality of Douglas By-law No. 12 in August 1884. A one-room schoolhouse was built on SE5-1-1W in the rapidly developing urban settlement of Gretna on what later became Klassen Avenue. This was replaced in 1892 with a wooden building at the corner of 9th Street and Berlin Avenue designed by architect Hugh McCowan. It was replaced in 1911 by a solid brick structure on Montcalm Avenue designed by architect Eldred Dodsworth Tuttle and the school bell from the earlier building was transferred to it. The bell became part of a peace memorial monument at a ceremony on 11 November 1965. A plaque was added to the monument in 1967, in commemoration of the Canadian Confederation. The bell tower was restored in 2004. The school was replaced in 1957 by the structure across the street. The earlier school was used as a community centre for several years before being demolished.
The Gretna School District had always offered Grades 1 to 11 instruction but, in 1966, the Rhineland School Division opened W. C. Miller Collegiate in Altona for all high school students in the region. The school district became Gretna Consolidated School District in 1967 as a number of rural school districts with grades 1 to 8 joined Gretna, and by Order-in-Council it became part of the Rhineland School Division in 1971. Classrooms and a new gymnasium/auditorium were added as the School Division continued to use the school for Kindergarten to Grade 8 classes for students in the Gretna area.
Among the other teachers who worked at Gretna School were Calista Post (1892), Nellie R. Scott (1893-1896), Iara Scott (1893-1896), T. J. Smith (1896), Margaret Brown (1896-1897), Flora Whidden (1897), Sarah Scott (1898-1899), Edith E. Breen (1898), Carrie Yuill (1898), M. A. Godley (1898), Hilda Johnston (1898), Maude Mawhinney (1899-1901), Maude Davidson (1899), Roscoe Conklin (1899-1900), William J. McTavish (1899-1901), Alfred W. Garratt (1900-1901), Minnie J. Irving (1901-1902), W. A. McClelland (1901), Jean A. Gunn (1901), C. L. St. John (1902), E. M. Craig (1902), E. H. Walker (1905), Florence Nixon (1905-1907), Edith Carruthers (1905), Ludwig Erk (1905), Josephine G. Wahn (1905-1908, 1910-1911), Jacob Braun (1905-1906), Lena Gayton (1905-1906), Annie Krause (1907-1937), Mary Armstrong (1908), C. K. Rogers (1909), Bessie Hoffman (1909), Ruth C. Milton (1909-1910), Annie G. Milton (1911-1914), Agnes N. Hoon (1911), Stella G. Snelgrove (1911), Martha Krause (1912-1915), Helen Wilmot (1914-1918), Gladys Irving (1915-1919), Margaret Wahn (1917), Ella L. King (1919), Phyllis M. Rae (1919), E. S. Zenek (1920), Vera G. Cramm (1920-1921), Clarence Record (1920), Grace W. Graham (1921), Gladys E. Findlay (1921-1922), Alice Pieper (1921-1922), Frances Creighton (1922-1923), Mary Derksen (1923), Vivian Durden (1923-1924), Alma F. Hanna (1923), Margaret Vant (1924), Bethel Graham (1924-1926), Marie Klassen Wall (1924-1928), George E. Walkof (1922-1925), D. Windsor (1925), J. G. Feller (1926-1929), Helen Janzen (1928-1937, grades 3-5), Kathie Carstens (1929-1930), Doreen B. Handel (1930-1931), Albert O. Anderson (1931-1932), Thomas D. Anderson (1932-1937), Gus Pokrant, and Miss Drause.
Photos & Coordinates
“The Indian famine fund,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 March 1897, page 4.
“Tenders,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 May 1911, page 2.
Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.
“Gretna, Man.,” Western Canada Fire Underwriters’ Association map, March 1912, Archives of Manitoba.
Black & Gold, Gretna School, 1937. [Legislative Library of Manitoba, F5649.G74 Gre]
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.
We thank Al Schmidt (Altona and District Heritage Research Centre), Peter Penner, Nathan Kramer, and Marie Dueck for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 5 September 2021