History of the Schoolhouse

 

A very special thanks and acknowledgement to the Goulbourn Historical Society and Author, Joy Forbes for their dedication towards preserving the memories of the Goulbourn Township and the former one-room schoolhouses in the Ottawa Valley region.  All the information collected below is attributed to the efforts of the Goulbourn Historic Society and Joy Forbes.  For more information on the history of Goulbourn Township, please refer to Goulbourn Historic Society’s website - http://goulbournhistoricalsociety.org.  Joy’s book entitled "Perseverance, Pranks and Pride - Tales of the One Room Schoolhouse" is a fascinating collection of stories from the former one-room schoolhouses in the Ottawa Valley region. Additional information on Joy’s book can be found at: http://www.oneroomschoolhouses.ca/.

 

The village of Munster, in the rural southwestern corner of the present-day City of Ottawa (former Goulbourn Township), was christened with that name in 1870 by prominent early pioneer, and the area’s first postmaster, Thomas Tubman.

An immigrant from County Cavan, in Ireland, the entrepreneurial Tubman had settled down at the intersection of today’s Bleeks and Munster Side Roads – the country crossroads around which the earliest settlement of Munster grew – starting in roughly the 1818 – 1820 time frame.

It’s reported a member of the Canadian Parliament of the Confederation era wanted to bestow the honour of naming the little community after the postmaster himself; but Mr. Tubman declined it – preferring to commemorate the Irish kingdom of Munster and its environs – from which many of the early settlers and ex-military men of Goulbourn had come.

 

S.S. (School Section) No. 5 Goulbourn is situated in the beautiful, tranquil historical setting of Munster Hamlet.  Pioneer life revolved around the school, which was built in 1890 on land that belonged to William Shillington.  The building is edged with quoins and trimmed with voussoirs and the walls are of cut ashlar stone with the entrance on the same level as the rest of the structure.

The teacher sat on a raised platform at the front, or north side of the building, opposite the entrance.  The school was heated by 2 large pot-bellied stoves which were situated on each side of the main entrance.  Situated on the front yard was a manual water pump atop the cement slab where the present day statue of the virgin Mary resides.

 

In the early days, students were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, spelling composition, grammar, history and geography.  Memory work was stressed in those days.  In addition to their education, teachers were responsible for the discipline of the children and acknowledging their good behavior.  Punishment of lesser degrees meant the student would have to stand in the corner and remain after school-hours to write repeated lines that described the punishable act.  The strap to the backside was also very common for incidents that warranted a higher degree of punishment.  Students’ hands would be strapped for each mis-spelt word during classroom exercises.  Most teachers were in their early twenties and their annual salary ranged from $150 to $250.  The classroom sizes varied from 25-45 students who ranged in age from 4 to 20 years old.  Many of the circa 1890 playground games are still being played in some variation today.  Some examples are: Anti-I-Over; Being Measured; Bubble Gum Sports Cards; Cowboys & Indians or Cops & Robbers; Crack the Whip; Fox & Goose; Hop Scotch; Marbles; Mother May I; Pom Pom Pull Away; Red Light Green Light; Red Rover; Scrub; Seven-Up; Skipping; Tetherball. 

 

The schoolhouse served the educational needs of the community until 1966 and was taken over the by Loyalist Orange Lodge (LOL no. 917) as their meeting hall in 1968.

 

In 1992, the Schoolhouse became a fine French-cuisine restaurant appropriately called “Le Clocher” and later became “Mogy’s Pub” in spring of 2000.  The schoolhouse would succumb to a massive fire in January of 2001, caused by faulty wiring.  While the fire gutted the entire building, the 2 foot thick stone walls were not affected by the blaze.  The original school bell was rescued by the Loyalist Orange Lodge following the fire and is now on display in a monument at the Munster Union Cemetery.

 

In fall of 2008 after many years of dedicated restoration, the Schoolhouse re-opened as its present day place of nuptials and special events.  If the 4 walls of the Schoolhouse could talk, they would have a wealth of stories to tell.  At the Schoolhouse is an institution that houses a myriad rich and colourful memories and this legacy will continue as we “Make Occasions Memorable”!

Schoolhouse Class Photo, circa 1900

Photo courtesy of the Goulbourn Historical Society 

Original picture of the Schoolhouse, dated 1890

Photo courtesy of the Goulbourn Historical Society 

Schoolhouse, assumed date 1930 (based on street sign)

Photo courtesy of the Goulbourn Historical Society 

Schoolhouse Class Photo, circa 1910

Photo courtesy of the Goulbourn Historical Society 

Copyright At the Schoolhouse, formerly with From this Day Forward. All rights reserved, 2014.

2876 Munster Road, Ottawa, ON, KOA 3P0

 

E: izabela@theschoolhouse.ca

PH: 613-612-6209

 

At the Schoolhouse - "A preferred Ottawa Outdoor Wedding Venue"

 

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