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Shilo School

Caroline, Near

Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Shilo School was built around 1910. It is a small, rectangular, one-room schoolhouse with a hip roof clad in wood shingles. A relatively large front entry porch with a doorway and transom and a gable roof is located on the south (front) elevation. The building is clad mainly in wood siding. There are three windows on the west side and two additional windows flanking the front entry porch. The shingle-clad gable end over the front entry and the decorative bands of wood shingles and scroll saw cut strip along the top of the exterior walls give the schoolhouse a vaguely Classical appearance. In the 1990s, the windows on the west side were restored to the original fenestration pattern. The school is situated in a rural area of Clearwater County on a partially cleared, 1.2 hectare (three acre) lot. It is located along Range Road 53, approximately six kilometres east of Caroline.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Shilo School lies in its identity as an excellent example of a one-room schoolhouse, a once common but now increasingly rare type of building in rural Alberta. It also has significance for its distinctive classical style of architecture.

In Alberta, schools were built by local school districts. School districts were established once a minimum number of ratepayers and children became resident in an area. These districts were small, typically measuring four square miles in area (approximately 10 square kilometres). Somewhere close to the centre of the district, at least one acre of level, well-drained and cleared land had to be acquired for use as a schoolyard upon which a building for dedicated use as a schoolhouse had to be constructed. In 1910, Alberta regulations required that schools have at least 15 square feet of space per student, 11 foot ceilings, porches and/or cloakrooms. Large windows were to be located to the students’ left side. A sixty square foot blackboard was to be mounted at the front of the room and additional blackboards could be installed on the wall opposite the windows. Although the Department of Education offered a series of standard plans that met these guidelines, some districts elected to build schools based on their own design. One room schoolhouses were a common feature throughout rural Alberta. By the end of 1910, there were 1,501 school districts in Alberta operating 1,195 schools and 1,610 classrooms, most of which were rural schools consisting of only one room.

The Shilo School District No. 2188 was erected on May 26, 1910, one of 251 established that year. Land was acquired on the southwest quarter of Section 22, Township 36, Range 5, west of the Fifth Meridian and in 1910, the district borrowed $800.00 for the construction of and furnishing of a schoolhouse. An additional $400.00 was borrowed in 1911 for more furnishings and to dig a well on the school grounds. The schoolhouse is a simple, rectangular structure with a wood shingle-clad hip roof. Three tall, rectangular, double-hung windows are located on the west side and two similar windows flank the front entry vestibule on the south side. The vestibule contains an entryway with transom and a shingle-clad gable end. The building is devoid of decoration except a band of scroll-saw cut wood strips and a band of shingles arranged to resemble dentils where the exterior walls meet the soffits. These elements, coupled with the vestibule gable-end, which resembles a pediment, gives the unassuming schoolhouse a vaguely temple-like or Classical appearance. The interior of the building consists of one large room with a wood strip floor and tongue-and-groove clad ceiling. The walls of the vestibule and main room are clad in horizontal tongue-and-groove, with vertical tongue and groove wainscoting in the main room. A blackboard with a molded wood frame and chalk ledge is mounted on the north wall and built in cabinetry and shelving is located throughout the room and vestibule. A wood stove, mounted on a raised metal platform and connected to a brick chimney, is situated in the southeast corner of the room.

Alberta’s one-room schoolhouses entered a long decline starting in the late-1930s when Alberta began to consolidate school districts in an effort to improve educational opportunities and reduce costs. In 1938, the Shilo School District, along with 74 others, was consolidated into the Rocky Mountain School Division No. 15. The school remained in use until 1952, when it was closed and its students bussed to a larger school in Caroline. The Shilo schoolhouse was then sold and used by various community groups and events. Despite the change in use, the building has retained considerable historical integrity and continues to communicate its rural schoolhouse past.

Source: Alberta Culture, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1334)

Character-Defining Elements
Key elements that define the heritage value of the Shilo School include its:

- small, rectangular footprint;
- exterior walls clad in wood siding;
- bands of decorative trim at the top of the exterior walls, one consisting of a scroll saw-
cut pattern and the other of alternating sized shingles arranged to resemble dentils;
- wood shingle-clad hip roof;
- gable-roofed vestibule with south-facing entryway, transom and shingle-clad gable end
resembling a pediment;
- three tall, rectangular, two-over-two, double-hung windows on the west side and two
similar windows on the south side, flanking the vestibule;
- brick chimney projecting through the south-east portion of the roof.

- large, open interior space;
- tongue-and-groove clad ceiling;
- wood strip floor;
- interior walls clad in horizontal tongue-and-groove;
- vertical tongue-and-groove wainscoting in the classroom;
- historic blackboard with wooden molding and chalk ledge affixed to front (north) wall;
- 1950s-era green chalkboards with ledges affixed to the east wall;
- clothing hooks affixed to the walls of the vestibule and main room;
- built-in storage cabinetry and shelving;
- extant historic doors, door frames and window frames;
- extant historic hardware, such as door knobs and hinges;
- cast iron wood stove marked HERALD No. 35 and CHARLES FAWCETT LIMITED
SACKVILLE N.B. mounted on a metal riser, situated in the southeast corner of the

- location on a rural road;
- situation on a 1.2 hectare (three acre), partially-cleared lot and within a grove of trees;
- water well situated just in front of the school.


Street Address: N/A
Community: Caroline, Near
Boundaries: Portion of SW 22-36-5-W5
Contributing Resources: Building

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
52.101273 -114.643137 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2011/06/16

Historical Information

Built: 1910 to 1910
Significant Date(s) 1910 to 1952
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Education and Social Well-Being
Historic Function(s): Education : One-Room School
Current Function(s):

Shilo School is typical of a once widespread Alberta institution, the one-room rural school. The first such buildings was constructed in Edmonton in 1881 and in subsequent years, many more were erected throughout the province. By the outbreak of World War Two, the urban one-room school had been replaced by larger structures but in rural areas the one-room school remained in use.

The Shilo School District was established on May 26, 1910, by order of D.S. McKenzie, then Deputy Minister of Education; in July of that year, the school district borrowed 800 dollars to build and furnish a school. It is not clear it the school opened that fall, because in the spring of 1911 the school district borrowed a further 400 dollars to furnish the school and to dig a well. Full operation thus did not likely begin until the fall of 1911. The school was built on land purchased for two dollars from a Scottish pioneer settler, Mr. Davidson.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0754
Designation File: DES 1334
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 25738
Website Link: N/A
Data Source: Alberta Culture, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1334)
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