Our Town Stettler: Fritzhill School

Many one-room schools were moved and sold after housing students for only a few years

By Carson Ellis For the Independent

Many early schools had short lives. As the province became more populated, both municipal districts and school districts changed rapidly. Many one-room schools were moved and sold after housing students for only a few years. The life of a school depended on their location to larger centers, or how the population in the area fluctuated. Some buildings were sold to local farmers and were either moved or used where they were. A few were even disassembled, and the materials were used for other structures on their new owner’s property. Many went to community groups and continued to serve the people of the area.

One such school that would become a community center was the Fritz Hill school. Named after a local businessman Fred (Fritz) Colley who had come to Stettler on the first passenger train into the townsite and would be a driving force on many early committees including the early incarnation of the Stettler Agricultural Society.

The Fritzhill school was established in 1911, with Roy McKenzie the new school’s first teacher. The first building would burn down one night in the early 40s. The fire was believed to have started in the school’s stove, and quickly spread in the night. The local school district’s maintenance man had just inspected the stove days before and believed it was safe. The students of Fritzhill school had a couple of weeks off from formal classes until a new building was moved to the location.

The schoolhouse that was moved was the former Wellsburg School. Wellsburg was named after Billie Wells who was an early rancher in the area. Unfortunately, Mr. Wells died at a dance at the Zenith school after mistaking carbolic acid for his medication. The Wellsburg school was established about a year before the Fritzhill school. It’s first teacher was Grace Lynn (Fowler). However, the Wellsburg school was used only briefly before it found itself practically abandoned and unused.

The Lone Tree (also called Little Valley by my sources) school was eventually moved to the Fritzhill location when the former school was turned into a community center. The Lone Tree school was established in January of 1921. It was named by one of the school’s trustees for a lone Balm of Gilead tree that sat in the corner of the schoolyard.

Just Posted

Easter visit!

Easter Bunny makes a visit to Points West Living

Scenes from the Stettler & District Music Festival

Don’t forget to check out the Grand Concert on April 28th

Happy Easter everyone!

Youngsters are excited for the holiday

UCP candidate Nate Horner triumphs in Drumheller-Stettler riding

Horner looking forward to moving ahead with UCP policies in the coming months

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

Almost a year ago Kenney dismissed Trudeau as a dilettante and a lightweight

Avalanche hot at the right time, cruise past Flames into second round

Avalanche onto second round with a 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames in Game 5

Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and American climber Jess Roskelley have been missing since Wednesday

Six months after legalization, high prices and supply issues boost illicit pot market

It has been six months since Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Undercover cops don’t need warrant to email, text suspected child lurers: court

High court decision came Thursday in the case of Sean Patrick Mills of Newfoundland

Most Read