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Address: 1811 Century Road

SS #4; "Todd's Corners School"

Location: Pt. S. 1/2, Lot 5, Con 2

Date and Fabric: 1886 frame schoolhouse

Known Owners: Trustees of School Section #4, and successor School Boards

photograph 1997

Photo of bell now at ground level also on file; also earlier black and white oversize.

In 1894, when the old SS #4 across from the Carsonby Church became too small, the area was divided at the Carsonby sideroad and two new schools were built. Pupils living south of the sideroad would attend SS #11, "The Phelan School" 23, while pupils living north of the sideroad would go to a new school building which kept the number of the old SS #4.

The new SS #4 at Todd's Corners was started in 1894 and completed in 1896, on land bought from Charles Carson for $75. 24 Miss Elida Waddell was the last teacher in the old school, and the first one in the new school in 1896. The committee chosen to buy the lot for the new school was made up of three men: Mr. James Carson, Mr. Charles Carson, and Mr. James Craig. Mr. Craig served as secretary at that time.

When they decided to build the new school the contract was given to Jack and Alfred Bruce. The school wall was lined with the bricks which formerly veneered the Carsonby Methodist [now United] Church. The bell was purchased a few years later. The members of the School Board in 1894 were Mr. James Carson, Mr. Adam Bradley and Mr. W.H. Craig.

Since the erection of the school many changes have taken place. When the Ottawa-Prescott high- way was built, the right-of-way crossed the corner of the grounds, cutting off the east corner of the yard. The Department of Highways secured an additional half acre and the playground was extended to the west and north around the grounds, and a well was dug by the Department. The school was not the legal distance from the highway for grant purposes, so an arrangement was made with the Department of Education that there would be no dispute about this for all time.

In 1935, twenty-five new desks were purchased at a cost of $225.63. The section continued to function well, appointing Trustees annually until 1946. At that time, a township school area was formed, with five trustees to represent all the schools in the township. They were Messrs. Clifford Todd, Orval Dunbar, Bert Bell, Coilingwood Craig and Homer Scobie, with Mr. Henry Taylor of North Gower as Secretary-Treasurer and Mr. Fred Mills as Truant Officer. In 1947 - 48 an itinerant music teacher, Mr. R. MacDonald, was engaged, followed by Mr. Dan McCuan in 1948.

During the summer vacation of 1948, a new well was dug and electric lights installed in the school, which were turned on during an Open House held at the school during Education Week November 19, 1948. In the summer holidays of 1949, inside toilets were installed and the outer buildings disposed of.

All went well with SS #4 until events brought to an abrupt end the history of Todd's School. On Sunday, December 13, 1964, the school was vandalized and so badly damaged by fire and smoke that all records, books and desks were quickly removed and transferred to an empty room at Kars School where classes resumed on the following Monday morning with Mrs. Laura Johnston in charge.

Mrs. Johnston was the last teacher in Todd's Corners School. The Carsonby Community History lists 31 teachers who presided over this classroom in its 68 years of service between 1896 and 1964. Since that time, the old school has passed into private ownership and has been extensively modified. In particular, the front facade has been changed to admit vehicles and the very distinctive belfry has been removed. The bell, however, is on site, in a small structure at ground level in front of the old school.

[after a chapter by Mrs. Laura Johnston in the Carsonby Community History, 1969]

22 This narrative drawn from Carsonby Historical Society, Carsonby: A Community History, 1969; ed. Kathleen James; esp. chapter on SS #4 by Mrs. Laura Johnston, p.52 et seq.

23 See "1980 Phelan Road"

24 Carsonby: A Community History, p.63

March, 1990

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