Back to School - Happy September Everyone!!

September 2nd, 2021 1 Minutes
Cranbrook’s First Public School ca.1900 Collection No. 0049.0158

It’s back to school, everyone, and the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History is sharpening its pencils over the next couple of weeks to celebrate the season. We will be honouring the arrival of the new school year with some throwbacks to a great tradition.

The Cranbrook Public School was the first purpose-built school in the city. Following its completion in 1899, the school housed the ever-increasing population of young people requiring education in the East Kootenay Region.

Shortly after the turn of the century, however, many viewed it as too small, dated, and unfit in winter months to house children due to the heating systems’ inability to bring temperatures up to suitable levels pre-noon.

A battle between City Council members and School Board Trustees regarding fund sourcing began before a new school was approved.

In the wee hours of May 8, 1909, no alarms rang out their warning as a fire raged silently, sending smoke and flames high into the Cranbrook sky – it was noticed by CPR workers who would raise the alarm that the Public School was burning.

No one could have predicted less than a decade after construction, city officials would find themselves building yet another new school on the very same city lot.

The newly constructed Central School would be one of the province’s most modern and up-to-date buildings of its time.

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