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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Rookhurst School No. 432 (RM of Minto-Odanah)

The Rookhurst School District was established formally in October 1885, in what is now the Rural Municipality of Minto-Odanah, although the first school building was not erected until 1887, with classes in grades 1 through 8 commencing in August of that year. The school also served as a meeting place for community events, including annual Christmas concerts, church services, and meetings of the Manitoba Grain Growers Association. A highlight was the annual picnic. Its popularity prompted school trustees to purchase additional land to accommodate sporting events and to provide students with space for athletic activities. The school closed in 1964 and its district was finally dissolved in January 1967.

A monument, erected in July 1997, was built by Dwight S. C. Johnson and Keith Williamson, both former students of Rookhurst School. Johnson is reported to have pressed a 1941 penny into the wet concrete in commemoration of the year in which the original school burned down. The cairn was paid for by former students and its brass plaque was sponsored by Lem Shuttleworth. It is not situated at the site of the former school, which is now used as a residence on nearby NE36-13-18 west of the Principal Meridian (approximately 50.15182, W99.79822).

The original Rookhurst School building

The original Rookhurst School building (no date) by W. C. Hartley
Source: Archives of Manitoba, School Inspectors Photographs,
GR8461, A0233, C131-1, page 54.

The former Rookhurst School building

The former Rookhurst School building (August 2012)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Rookhurst School commemorative monument

Rookhurst School commemorative monument (August 2010)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.15319, W99.79766
denoted by symbol on the map above

Sources:

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.

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 Cheryl Johnson, daughter of Dwight Johnson, for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 6 February 2021

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