This former one room schoolhouse was constructed in 1926 by the Simcoe County School Board to replace an existing school that had been destroyed by fire. The original entries, one for the girls and one for the boys, have been preserved. There was a lean-to stable on site for horses when the new school was built. However, it was removed in the 1940’s.
Because it was surrounded by potato fields the property was locally known as “Tater’s hill”.
Originally the school was heated with cord wood that was burned in a gigantic furnace in the basement. Two large heat ducts ran from the furnace to the main floor of the school. They delivered the heat through large metal grates, approximately 3 feet square, that were at either end of the main classroom. On exceptionally cold days students would move their desks so that everyone could warm their feet on these grates. In 1958 the wood furnace was replaced by oil.
As well as the main classroom, there was a room that was used for storing materials and library books and by the teacher as a lunch room. The boys’ entry opened into a coatroom and washroom. The girls’ entry opened into a coatroom. The girls’ washroom was separate, off the main classroom.
The building had no running water when it was operating as a school. Water for the chemical toilets and for drinking came from the pump in the west yard. Drinking water was stored in a water dispenser at the back of the classroom. The well on site was used by farmers nearby for their steam threshing season. The well is still being used and the original hand pump is still in place.
Enrollment ranged from the low 30’s to about 12 students when the school was closed in 1963. Students were then bused to central schools in Waubaushene and Coldwater.
Back Row – Left to Right: Allan Peden, Don Potter, Pat Shiels, Val Lovelace, Patsy Lovelace, Joan Brandon, Teacher Kathleen Stewart
Middle Row – Lawrence Potter, Mel Hodgins (?), Billy Bidmead, Marilyn Gratrix, Nancy Potter, Carol Potter, Rosemary Shiels
Bottom Row – Mervyn Hopkins, Gary Lovelace, John Potter, Morley Brandon, Bobby Sallows, , Charlie Gratrix, Ronnie Potter
The present owners have tried to maintain the integrity of the building while converting the schoolhouse into a residential home. The original doors, windows, wainscoting, chalkboard, and bell are all still in their original locations. The original male and female washrooms have been converted into a closet. The bricks – which were made on site, foundation and door frames are poured concrete. The steel shingles on the roof are original and are laid as tar shingles would have been.
School Song (composed c1916 by teacher Marie McDonald and student Bernadette Shiels and sung to the tune of Casey Jones)
Our Old School House
If you listen people we will sing you our praise
Of the place where we spent our best days
It’s the Rosemount School House which you know so well
Where we learned to read and write and spell.
Rosemount isn’t it a pity
Rosemount isn’t it a shame
The little old school house
With the famous name.
It’s situated on the side of a hillYou may think it’s lonesome
But we never will
The shouts of the children when they are out to play
May easily be heard a mile or so away.
The windows are placed just a little bit low
The children sit below them all in a row
Whenever a traveller happens to pass
He may see a head or two behind the glass.
There’s a large frog pond just across the way
The frogs furnish music night and day
There are lots of flies and mosquitos too
But we have got used to them and so will you.
There are over forty names down on the roll
Some are very bad and some as good as gold
Some days we are all just a little wild
And the teacher spares the rod and spoils the child.
Old George Shaw with his gun on his arm
Goes tramping round from farm to farm
Shooting at ground hogs and talking of war
A rare old patriot is Mr. George Shaw.
Around the corner on a Sunday eve
Sits Ed and Russell, Garf and Steve
Waiting for the girls to come tripping along
Now that’s the end of our little song.
For more detail on Tay heritage sites visit https://taytownshipheritage.wordpress.com
Lynda Hook and Tay Township Heritage Committee http://www.tay.ca/en/your-municipality/tay-heritage-committee.asp
Tay Township Heritage blog https://taytownshipheritage.wordpress.com
Tay Township Heritage Register and Inventory
Interview with John Patrick Shiels (former student)