KAMLOOPS — Heritage is important to the city and several sites are obvious pillars of our history – buildings such as the old courthouse downtown or Wilson House on the North Shore come to mind. But even with a historical commission in place since 1979, a historical society formed in 1995 and the bicentennial celebration last year there are some historical sites not well known in the community.
One of the more obscure places is Robbins Range School, which will be 100 years old in 2015. In addition to being a school the building also served as a community centre for church services, picnics and dances in the Barnhartvale area before closing in 1952.
The school was dismantled and moved more than 25 kilometres from the rural site to the old Pineridge School site (Sahali) in 1985. The old one-room school now operates as a heritage site and classes can come spend the day learning about what school was like in the olden days.
Period wear is donned and students get to take part in old games, read old books, use individual chalk boards and use ink wells to write. Though this part can get quite messy, if the condition of the old desks are any indication, ink spills rarely happen, teacher Miss Schuurrman said Tuesday during a visit from a Pacific Way School Grade 2 class.
Dressed in a white blouse and long black skirt, Miss Schuurman, in character, sternly reminds children to keep their manners, be quiet and get their school work and chores done quickly.
Students spend time in class leading up to the field trip learning about what life was like in the early part of the century and the heritage school provides them with a tactile way to understand better–with original textbooks, artifacts, clothing, toys and historic documents.
At the end of the day many students are excited to talk about all the new, old stuff they learned. The Grade 2 students spoke eagerly of using the ink wells, and the spills, as well as the old names they got for the day such as Richard, Beatrice, George, Emily, Laura and William to name a few.
A school district heritage day and a few months of students visits is all the school sees now. Tucked in behind a school that no longer operates as an elementary school, the site can be found on a dead-end street in a private Sahali neighbourhood overlooking the rest of the city.
Other historical sites in Kamloops receive more fanfare with plaques, statues and tours. Among the more known historical sites of Kamloops are 20 designated heritage sites including Stuart Wood School, the Chinese and Pleasant Street cemeteries and Kamloops Museum and Archives.
Many memorial plaques and statues as well as stone facades can also be found around the city. The Kamloops Heritage Railway runs a rail museum and offers steam engine rides throughout the summer. (The steam engine is undergoing repairs this year but is expected to be operational again next year.)
The city puts $20,000 into a heritage reserve fund annually to preserve heritage in the city in addition to grants offered to some of the societies running heritage sites, such as the heritage railway.
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Historical sites of Kamloops