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Historic Sites
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Virden School No. 144 / Mary Montgomery School (Ninth Avenue South, Virden)

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

The Virden School District was established in Virden in June 1883. Initially, classes were held in the local Presbyterian manse or Methodist parsonage until a building could be erected. Classes began under teacher Miss Sparrow. In 1886, a two-room school was built on land donated by the Canada North West Land Company. Its life was short, as it was destroyed by fire around March 1887. A replacement two-room school was erected later that year.

By 1892, crowding at the school was becoming dire so the decision was made to build a four-room replacement for it. Designed by Winnipeg architect Walter Chesterton, the school was built by contractor J. A. Saul later that year. Problems with the structural integrity of the building were discovered almost immediately, with the wall facing Queen Street requiring the addition of timber buttresses and iron rods to keeping it from bowing outward.

In late 1905, a new school building was designed by Winnipegq architect V. W. Horwood and built along Ninth Avenue South. The two-storey brick structure comprised eight classrooms and a playroom in the basement. It was one of the first two school consolidations in Manitoba, the other occurring at Holland. The former school building was then used as an immigration hall.

In 1948, high school grades were moved to the new Virden Collegiate, along with junior high grades to the new Virden Junior High in 1956.

In June 1963, Virden Public School was renamed Mary Montgomery School in honour of former teacher Mary Montgomery. An addition built behind the structure in 1980 housed a gymnasium, dental clinic, and kindergarten. A new school building was constructed beside the old school in the early 1990s, including a special needs suite, library, computer lab, and administrative offices. In 1992, the 1905 building was demolished and replaced by a play structure. A commemorative arch in front of the new school is made from its bricks.

Principals

Period

Principal

1887

Mr. Erskine

1888

Sidney Edward Lang (1864-1950)

1889-1890

J. T. Wright

1891

Marshall Hall-Jones (1865-1927)

1891-1893

James Martin

1893-1896

James Cooper Butchart (1865-?)

1896-1900

Percy Dewart Harris (1871-1953)

1900-1904

Charles Kenning Newcombe (1877-1944)

1904-1906

A. J. Mather

1906-1916

Alexander M. Shields (1853-1940)

1916-1918

Thomas Addison Neelin (1882-1970)

1918-1920

Thomas Orton Durnin (1889-1964)

1920-1924

John Marshall Nason (1887-1963)

1924-1929

W. A. Anderson

1929-1933

Charles Philip “Charlie” Kerr (1903-1990)

1933-1938

Arthur Augustus Harris (1903-1982)

1938-1943

Barney Thordarson (1904-1974)

1943-1948

Cecil Cullen Foster (1911-1998)

1948-1953

Lorne Arnott Finkbeiner (1922-2005)

1953-1957

?

1957-1968

Myrtle Aleta Lane (1903-2002)

1968-c1980

Glen B. Young

c2000

Emma Lou Evanson

?-?

Brad Hayward

Teachers

School Year

Teachers

1906

Josephine M. Dow (grades 4-5), Marion K. Dow (grades 6-7, grade 8), Annie T. Gillespie (grades 1-2), W. G. Henderson (grade ?), David Bruce Huggins (grade ?), Mina H. McLaren (grades 4-5), A. J. Mather (grade ?), A. Moulton (grades 6-7), Ella R. Scarth (grades 3-4)

1907

Nellie M. McGregor (grades 3-4), Ella R. Scarth (grades 3-4), Evans Struthers (grades 3-4)

1908

A. L. Craig (grade ?), Olive A. Ferguson (grades 6-7), T. W. Halligan (grade 5?)

1909

M. M. Dodds (grade 3), Gertrude Dutton (grade 3)

1910

Sophia M. Wocks (grade 1)

1911-1920

?

1920-1921

May Dodds (grade 5), Grace Louise Gibson (grade 2), Bertha May Sanford (grade 2)

1921-1922

Grace Louise Gibson (grade 3)

1922-1923

Jean N. Coutts (grade 7), W. D. Flatt (grade 7, 1922)

1923-1928

?

1928-1929

Mona May Insley (grade 2), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 3), Jessie Merle McNiven (grade 8, daughter of John D. McNiven), Mary Edythe Mathers (grade 6, 1929), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Janet Mary Palmer (grade 4, 1928; grades 3-4, 1929), Neta Sadler (grade 1), Dorothy Rose Wilkins (grade 6, 1928), ? (grades 7, 9+)

1929-1930

Georgina Alice Rynehart Dobbie (grade 7), Mona May Insley (grade 2), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 1), Jessie Merle McNiven (grade 8), Mary Edythe Mathers (grade 6), Janet Mary Palmer (grade 4), Bertha May Sanford (grade 3), ? (grades 7, 9+)

1930-1931

Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 5), Mona May Insley (grade 2), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 1), Jessie Merle McNiven (grade 8), Mary E. Matthews (grade 6), Janet Mary Palmer (grade 4), Annie Georgina Sanford (grade 1), Bertha May Sanford (grade 3), ? (grades 7, 9+)

1931-1932

Mona May Insley (grade 2), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grades 1-2), Mary E. Matthews (grade 6), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Janet Mary Palmer (grade 4), Annie Georgina Sanford (grade 1), Bertha May Sanford (grade 3), ? (grades 7+)

1932-1933

Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 4), Mona May Insley (grade 3, 1932; grades 1 & 3, 1933), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grades 1-2), Mary E. Matthews (grade 6), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Annie Georgina Sanford (grade 1), Bertha May Sanford (grade 3), ? (grades 7+)

1933-1934

Annie Georgina Sanford (grade 1), ? (grades 2+)

1934-1935

Eunice H. Bennett (grade 5), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Mona May Insley (grade 3), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Annie Georgina Sanford (grade 1), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4, 1934; grades 1 & 4, 1935), ? (grades 7+)

1935-1936

Eunice H. Bennett (grade 6), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Mona May Insley (grade 3), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Annie Georgina Sanford (grade 1), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4), ? (grades 7+)

1936-1937

Georgina Alice Rynehart Dobbie (grade 7), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Mona May Insley (grade 3), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Jessie Merle McNiven (grade 8), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Annie Georgina Sanford (grade 1), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4), ? (grades 9+)

1937-1938

Georgina Alice Rynehart Dobbie (grade 7), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Mona May Insley (grade 3), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Jessie Merle McNiven (grade 8), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Annie Georgina Sanford (grade 1), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4), ? (grades 9+)

1938-1939

Henry Reginald Abernethy (grade 8), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Mona May Insley (grade 3), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), George William Sadler (grade 7), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4), Annie Georgina Stafford (grade 1), ? (grades 9+)

1939-1940

Henry Reginald Abernethy (grade 8), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Mona May Insley (grade 3), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), George William Sadler (grade 7), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4), Annie Georgina Stafford (grade 1), ? (grades 9+)

1940-1941

Henry Reginald Abernethy (grade 8), John Archibald Carmichael (grade 7), Molly C. Stalker Finkbeiner (grade 3), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Mona May Insley (grade 1), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4), ? (grades 9+)

1941-1942

Henry Reginald Abernethy (grade 8, 1941), Evelyn Cecilia Brimacombe (grade 3), Molly C. Stalker Finkbeiner (grade 3, 1941; grade 7), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Alexander Greenway McClellan (grades 7-8, 1941; grade 8), Margaret Mitchell (grade 1), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4), ? (grades 9+)

1942-1943

Nellie Nettie Dunits (grade 1), Molly C. Stalker Finkbeiner (grade 7), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Margaret Mitchell (grade 3), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Isabel G. Hayes Muirhead (grade 3, 1943), John Wesley Alexander “Jack” Muirhead (grade 8), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4), ? (grades 9+)

1943-1944

Evelyn Cecilia Brimacombe (grade 4), Nellie Nettie Dunits (grade 1), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Isabel G. Hayes Muirhead (grade 3), John Wesley Alexander “Jack” Muirhead (grade 8), Audrey Marion Poyser (grade 7), ? (grades 9+)

1944-1945

Evelyn Cecilia Brimacombe (grade 4), Annie Keir Butcher (grade 7), Nellie Nettie Dunits (grade 1), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Isabel G. Hayes Muirhead (grade 3), John Wesley Alexander “Jack” Muirhead (grade 8), Audrey Marion Poyser (grade 7, 1944), ? (grades 9+)

1945-1946

Henry Reginald Abernethy (grade 8), Annie Keir Butcher (grade 7), Nellie Nettie Dunits (grade 1), Olga Ewashkiw (grade 3), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 6), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 5), Alfred John Moran (grade ?), Bertha May Sanford (grade 4), ? (grades 9+)

1946-1947

Jean Dickie (grade 1), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 4), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Marjorie Lorraine McLean (grade 1), Mary Montgomery (grade 3), Alfred John Moran (grade ?), Peter Raymond Mudery (grade 7; grades 7-8, 1947), John Wesley Alexander “Jack” Muirhead (grade 8, 1947), Edith Mary Shorthose (grades 5-6), Angus G. Spence (grade 8), ? (grades 9+)

1947-1948

Winnifred May Cockbill (grade 1), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 4), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Gertrude Elizabeth Martin (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 3), Alfred John Moran (commercial, no grade), Peter Raymond Mudery (grade 6), Edith Mary Shorthose (grade 5), ? (grades 7+)

1948-1949

Marjorie Maude Chestnut (grade 1, 1949), Ruth Thelma Cotter (grade 4), Isabella M. Dryden (grade 5), Lorne Arnott Finkbeiner (grade 8), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Joy Lyon (grade 1, 1948), Marjorie Lorraine McLean (grade 1, 1948), Mary Montgomery (grade 3), Janet Isobel Reid (grade 6), Trevor Finlay Sterling (grade 7), Mary Stewart (grade 1, 1948), Phyllis Vera White (grade 5)

1949-1950

Marjorie Maude Chestnut (grade 1), Lorne Arnott Finkbeiner (grade 8), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 4), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Marjorie Lorraine McLean (grade 1), Mary Montgomery (grade 3), Janet Isobel Reid (grade 6), Trevor Finlay Sterling (grade 7)

1950-1951

Ruby Marie Burnash (grade 1), Lorne Arnott Finkbeiner (grade 8), Mary Jeanne Frazer (grade 5), Ada Pauline Herkes (grade 4), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 3), Janet Isobel Reid (grade 6), Trevor Finlay Sterling (grade 7)

1951-1952

Lorne Arnott Finkbeiner (grade 8), Mary Elizabeth Gardiner (grade 4), Jean Elizabeth “Jennie” Graham (grade 5), Nora Sybil E. Jelfs (grade 1), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 3), Janet Isobel Reid (grade 6), Harold Roy Rudy (grade 7 and Virden Technical School)

1952-1953

Lorne Arnott Finkbeiner (grade 8), Mary Elizabeth Gardiner (grade 4), Jean Elizabeth “Jennie” Graham (grade 5), Nora Sybil E. Jelfs (grade 1), Myrtle Aleta Lane (grade 2), Mary Montgomery (grade 3), Janet Isobel Reid (grade 6), Harold Roy Rudy (grade 7), Mrs. W. A. Thompson (grade 1)

Among the other teachers who worked at Virden School was Maxwell Addison Parker.

Photos & Maps

Postcard view of the original Virden School

Postcard view of the original Virden School (1904)
Source: Andrew Cunningham

Virden School building erected in 1905

Virden School building erected in 1905 (circa 1906)
Source: Education Department Report, 1906, Manitoba Legislative Library.

Postcard view of Virden School

Postcard view of Virden School (1907)
Source: Rob McInnes, VR0007

Postcard view of Virden School

Postcard view of Virden School (no date)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2012-0035

Virden School / Mary Montgomery School

Virden School / Mary Montgomery School (1967)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Architectural Survey - Virden 25.

Virden School / Mary Montgomery School

Virden School / Mary Montgomery School (1967)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Architectural Survey - Virden 26.

Site Location (lat/long): N49.84578, W100.93320
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Goulter School (200 Queen Street East, Virden)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Virden Junior High School (447 Princess Street West, Virden)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Virden Collegiate Institute (251 Kent Street, Virden)

Sources:

Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.

“Virden’s fine school,” Manitoba Free Press, 8 July 1905, page 8.

“Virden, Man”, Western Canada Fire Underwriters’ Association map, 22 August 1916, Archives of Manitoba.

“Personalities,” Manitoba School Journal, Vol. 6, No. 9, May 1944, page 2.

“Virden schools soon open for fall term,” Brandon Sun, 29 August 1952, page 17.

The Virden Story by Ida Clingan, Virden: Empire Publishing Company, 1957, Manitoba Legislative Library.

“26 teachers on Virden School staff,” Brandon Sun, 6 September 1967, page 23.

Manitoba School Records Collection, Virden School District No. 144 - Daily Registers, GR2066, Archives of Manitoba.

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

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.

Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950 by Robert G. Hill, Toronto.

We thank Andrew Cunningham for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 23 May 2018

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