Her­itage School’s Keys

Trans­ferred But Own­er­ship Lost

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Made­line Mul­hol­land Stanstead

On Thurs­day, June 7th the Women’s In­sti­tute trans­ferred the key of the Mansur School House to the Stanstead His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety at a small cer­e­mony and re­cep­tion that took place at the school, lo­cated on High­way 143 just North of Stanstead.

The Mansur School House is a one room school house that dates back to 1918. It is the old­est stand­ing orig­i­nal school house in Que­bec. The orig­i­nal struc­ture, con­structed of wood, burned down in the 1920’s. The new build­ing, which still stands, was re­con­structed in brick in 1928. The in­te­rior of the school re­mains un­changed from the time of its re­con­struc­tion.

The Stanstead Women’s In­sti­tute was awarded ‘use at their plea­sure’ of the school house by the gov­ern­ing school board in 1929. They have been main­tain­ing and us­ing the build­ing since that time, but have re­cently sought to trans­fer re­spon­si­bil­ity for the build­ing to an or­ga­ni­za­tion bet­ter able to han­dle its up­keep. The Women’s In­sti­tute has a mem­ber­ship with an av­er­age age in the eight­ies and they were con­cerned they lacked the re­sources to prop­erly main­tain the build­ing. The Stanstead His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety was of­fered the build­ing by the Women’s In­sti­tute and they ac­cepted. When the School Board was ap­proached for per­mis­sion to trans­fer own­er­ship they in­formed the W.I. and the SHS that it would not be pos­si­ble, as the Board does not have proof of own­er­ship of the school, hence they can­not trans­fer own­er­ship from any party to an­other. It was de­cided the School Board would of­fer to the SHS the same priv­i­leges of use as those of­fered the Women’s In­sti­tute in 1929.

The cer­e­mony took place be­tween 2:00 and 4:00 PM last Thurs­day. There were ap­prox­i­mately 40 peo­ple in at­ten­dance, al­though no­body from the School Board was present. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the

Women’s In­sti­tute handed over to the SHS both the keys and a sim­i­lar letter to that given by the School Board to the Women’s In­sti­tute grant­ing the SHS ‘use at your plea­sure’ of the school. The SHS is now of­fi­cially re­spon­si­ble for the up­keep of the her­itage build­ing. The WI also awarded a cheque of $2,500 to the SHS for the school’s main­te­nance. The sum rep­re­sents the amount the women had pre­vi­ously raised to pay for fu­ture up­keep of the school.

Ac­cord­ing to the SHS, the goal for the school will be for their So­ci­ety to main­tain the in­tegrity of the struc­ture as well as ac­tu­ally use the school in what­ever ca­pac­ity they can. Plans are for the SHS to try to sched­ule school age chil­dren to visit and en­joy the her­itage and his­tory of the old school house. In a fol­low-up letter from Phyl­lis Dustin, Pres­i­dent of the of the Women’s In­sti­tute, she stressed her de­sire to thank the many peo­ple in­volved with the main­te­nance of the Mansur School over the years it was held by the WI. Specif­i­cally she men­tioned her ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Elane Wil­son’s ded­i­ca­tion in keep­ing alive the pub­lic’s in­ter­est in the school house, for over­see­ing the restora­tion of the struc­ture and main­tain­ing an on­go­ing scrap­book of the school. Ap­pre­ci­a­tion was also ex­pressed for Gertrude Ketchum’s ded­i­ca­tion as the WI’s trea­surer and for Harry Is­brucker of the SHS, for at­tend­ing meet­ings and help­ing ne­go­ti­ate with the School Board. A spe­cial thank you was also ex­tended to the Colby Cur­tis staff, namely Ann Mont­gomery, Pierre Ras­toul and Jeanne D’Arc. Most specif­i­cally Ms. Dustin wanted to rec­og­nize the ladies of the Women’s In­sti­tute for their years of work, clean­ing, fundrais­ers and op­er­at­ing open house tours and her hus­band, Mel Dustin, for be­ing care­taker and mow­ing the school lawn for over ten years.

Photo cour­tesy

The keys to the Mansur School­house were handed over to the Stanstead His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

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