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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Mennville School No. 2341 / Mennville Christian School (Municipality of Bifrost-Riverton)

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

The Mennville School District was established in August 1952 in what is now the Municipality of Bifrost-Riverton from land that was formerly part of the Woodglen School District No. 1722. Built at a cost of $5,600 and based on designs of the Waterman Waterbury Manufacturing Company, the one-room schoolhouse was operated at NW34-24-4E and was of similar design to c1951-built structure of the Arnes School No. 586. Of the total construction and furnishing cost, $3,600 was contributed by the Mennville Evangelical Mennonite Church (EMC), and the congregation used the facility as a place of worship. An equal sum was intended to be granted in return when the congregation built their own church.

Around 1959, the school was expanded with a second classroom. With the closure of the Washow Bay Post Office (at SE4-25-4E) in 1965, the immediate community came to be known as Mennville, after the school district. In April 1967, the district became part of the Evergreen School Division. The school remained open until the summer of 1968, by which time a teacherage and accompanying garage were also located on site. In August 1969, the Division put the school, teacherage, and garage up for sale. After being sold, the schoolhouse was reportedly used as a granary for a brief time.

Within three years of the school district’s closure, residents of the Mennonite community of Mennville banded together and purchased the former schoolhouse. Classroom education within the community was re-established with the opening the Mennville Christian School (also known as the Mennville Private School), a faith-based school operated by a local board. It hosted around 50 students in grades one through ten into the 1980s and was expanded to include a third classroom. The structure was destroyed in a fire on 28 March 1985. Students were subsequently bused to Riverton until a new school was built at SW4-25-4E immediately north of the Mennville EMC which sponsored the school. The school closed in 2009.

Principals

Period

Principal

1959-1965

Elmer Groening

1965

A. Lorne Burkholder

1965-1966

Alfred K. Friesen

1966-1967

Abram B. “Abe” Friesen

1967

Agatha Wiebe

1967

Rosalind Kroeker

1967-1968

Rosa Penner

1968-c1971

Closed

1971-1988

?

1988-1989

Helen Barkman

1989-2009

?

Teachers

Period

Teachers

1952-1953

Helen Friesen Reimer (all grades)

1953-1954

George Jakob Sawatzky (all grades)

1954-1955

Henry K. Friesen (all grades)

1955-1956

Eva Fast (all grades)

1956-1957

May D. Thiessen (all grades)

1957-1958

Elmer Groening (all grades)

1958-1959

Elmer Groening (all grades)

1959-1960

Nettie Brandt (grades 1-4), Elmer Groening (grades 5-8)

1960-1961

Nettie Brandt (grades 1-4), Elmer Groening (grades 5-8)

1961-1962

Elma Brandt (grades 1-4), Elmer Groening (grades 5-8)

1962-1963

Elma Brandt (grades 1-4), Elmer Groening (grades 5-8)

1963-1964

Lily Esther Giesbrecht (grades 1-4), Elmer Groening (grades 5-8)

1964-1965

Helen Reimer Barkman (grades 1-4), Elmer Groening (grades 5-8)

1965-1966

A. Lorne Burkholder (grades 5-8, September-October), Alfred K. Friesen (grades 5-8, October-June), Elizabeth Esther Peters (grades 1-4)

1966-1967

Abram B. “Abe” Friesen (grades 5-8), Elizabeth Esther Peters (grades 1-4)

1967-1968

Rosalind Kroeker (grades 3-5; & grades 6-8, October), Rosa Penner (grades 6-8, November-June), Edna Marie Penner (grades 1-2), Agatha Wiebe (grades 6-8, September)

1968-c1971

Closed

1971-1972

Helen Koop (grades ?), ? (other grades)

1972-1973

?

1973-1974

?

1974-1975

?

1975-1976

?

1976-1977

?

1977-1978

?

1978-1979

?

1979-1980

?

1980-1981

?

1981-1982

?

1982-1983

?

1983-1984

?

1984-1985

?

1985-1986

?

1986-1987

?

1987-1988

?

1988-1989

Helen Barkman (grades 5-7), Jolyn Barkman (kindergarten), Carol Hiebert (grades 1-3), Evelyn Davison (grades 8-10)

1989-1990

?

1990-1991

?

1991-1992

?

1992-1993

?

1993-1994

?

1994-1995

?

1995-1996

?

1996-1997

?

1997-1998

?

1998-1999

?

1999-2000

?

2000-2001

?

2001-2002

?

2002-2003

?

2003-2004

?

2004-2005

?

2005-2006

?

2006-2007

?

2007-2008

?

2008-2009

?

Photos & Coordinates

Mennville Christian School

Mennville Christian School (c1989) by Menno Hamm
Source: Evangelical Mennonite Conference Archives, The Messenger, 24 March 1989, page 11.

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N51.12774, W96.99095
denoted by symbol on the map above

Sources:

School division and school district formation files (E 0027), Mennville School District No. 2341, GR1688, Archives of Manitoba.

School division half-yearly attendance reports (E 0757), Archives of Manitoba.

Manitoba School Records Collection, Mennville School District No. 2341 - Daily Registers, GR6124, Archives of Manitoba.

Manitoba School Records Collection, Mennville School District No. 2341 - Cash Book, GR6226, Archives of Manitoba.

Manitoba School Records Collection, Mennville School District No. 2341 - Minute Book, GR6189, Archives of Manitoba.

School division borrowing files (MA 0038), Mennville School District No. 2341, GR1798, Archives of Manitoba.

Post Office and Postmasters, Library and Archives Canada.

“Tenders for buildings and property,” Arborg Lake Centre News and Manitouwapa Times, 1 August 1969, page 7.

“Landmark news [Helen Koop is leaving for teaching job ...],” Steinbach Carillon News, 15 September 1971, Section 3 - Page 8.

“Mennville [Mennville School],” Arborg Lake Centre News, 27 June 1972, page 8.

“Teachers needed [Mennville Private School],” Steinbach Carillon, 20 August 1975, page 11.

“Evergreen School trustees meeting [The application for ... Mennville Private School],” Arborg Lake Centre News, 3 April 1979, page 5.

“Arson suspected in blaze,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 March 1985, page 2.

“Blaze levels school,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 March 1985, page 8.

“Elections - R.M. of Bifrost,” Interlake Spectator, 8 October 1986, page 33.

“Mennville Evangelical Mennonite Church,” by Menno Hamm, The Messenger, 24 March 1989, pages 7-10. [Evangelical Mennonite Conference Archives]

“Mennville Christian School,” by Menno Hamm, The Messenger, 24 March 1989, page 11. [Evangelical Mennonite Conference Archives]

“Elections - The Rural Municipality of Bifrost,” Interlake Spectator, 11 October 1989, page 45.

Obituary [Henry K. Friesen], Winnipeg Free Press, 12 January 2010.

Mennville Evangelical Mennonite Church, by Terry Smith, Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.

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 the Evangelical Mennonite Conference for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 10 April 2020

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