On a foggy, grey morning while out for a drive to hopefully capture something unique on film, the cairn in this picture caught my eye. I was able to stop and explore what I had found; which only whetted my appetite for more information.
Its location, I am sure is no secret; however, like many cairns and roadside stops of interest, we tend to go whizzing by without a thought.
After taking pictures and continuing on my way, I got to wondering what had prompted a school to be built in such a location. Was there any information other than what had been left behind on the plaque?
I followed up on my curiosity by visiting the Nose Creek Valley Museum in Airdrie. Here I was given some rather large books read, filled with local history. I spent a few hours reading about the Columbia School and other interesting bits and pieces of the area. The staff also directed me to their website which held the following links and
information about Columbia School #1731.
100 Years of Nose Creek Valley History
Tribute to Local and Rural Schools
Columbia School #1731
In 1906 or 1907 a group of Americans, mostly friends, settled seven miles east of Airdrie, known as “Yankee Valley”. Having young children, they built Columbia School with an enrollment of thirty pupils, ranging from beginners to teenagers. As Columbia was the only school for a while, pupils attended from outside the district. Its location was one the southeast quarter of Section 2-27-28-W4.
Our teacher was Laura Coons. She was a splendid community worker as well as a good teacher. She helped organize a Sunday School. For many years church services were held in the school. To raise funds for a piano they held debates, and box and pie socials. There was a fine friendly feeling in the district. Space does not permit naming all the good teachers who taught in Columbia during the years, but Jack Overholtzer was one with special ability.
The trustees who held office were Charles Ekstrom, Harry Woods, Paul Carpenter and Alex Black.
When the pupils were bused to Airdrie, Columbia School was closed. The building was not kept up, and sad to say this landmark was demolished recently.
Submitted by Bernice Shuttleworth 1988.
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