History of Early Kimberley Schools

Opening and Closing of Kimberley's First Schools

Trail Smelter : An overview of the Trail smelter, with the Columbia River in the background.
Trail Smelter
Marysville Smelter : Marysville or 'Smelter City', early 1900's.
Marysville Smelter
Old White School : Kimberley, BC. Originally on grounds where Cominco office is now, moved to Watkins School grounds
Old White School
Nelson from the Hall Mine Smelter : Nelson, B.C.
Nelson from the Hall Mine Smelter
Cominco General Office : Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company general office, Kimberley, BC.
Cominco General Office
North Star School : The original North Star School house, 2nd school built 1904, Kimberley, BC.
North Star School

By 1898, the town site was surveyed and subdivided. In 1900, there were enough school age children to warrant a school. There were 11 students enrolled in the log cabin school and the first teacher was Miss M. C. Mack.

In 1900, the CPR completed a spur line from Cranbrook to Kimberley this would allow ore to be shipped to the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada (CM&S) smelter in Trail and the Hall Mines Smelter in Nelson.

However, the ore of the Sullivan mine was high in zinc and a penalty was charged to refine it. As well the price to ship ore by rail would eat into profits. The Sullivan group decided to build a smelter and the town site, Marysville, on property they purchased from Bill Meacham. Marysville was incorporated in October 1901, a town site office built, and lots were being surveyed.

In 1902, Kimberley had successfully lobbied the provincial government to build a school. The school was completed and stood in the vicinity of the Cominco Offices. The old log cabin was sold and a Chinese laundry operated out of it for a time.

The Marysville smelter was completed in 1902. It underwent major renovations in 1905. It operated sporadically over a few years. Eventually in 1908 it was closed for the last time and after that dismantled.

In 1904, carpenters from the Sullivan mine constructed a shanty school house in Marysville with Miss O P Van Allen serving as the first teacher. As well, a school at North Star operated during the year 1903-1904 with Miss Van Allen as the teacher. She did not last the year replaced by Miss Cartwright. The North Star school closed after a year of operation as the mine was running out of ore. In 1906, a neat one room school house was built in Marysville. Later, this one room school house would be home to The Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

The winding down of operations at the North Star mine and the inability of the Sullivan Group to find capital almost led to Kimberley becoming a memory. In 1908, the school was closed. By July 1909, the Sullivan Group had gone bankrupt and its assets were ordered to be auctioned by the sheriff.