FURRY FRIENDS THANK THE COM­MU­NITY

Old Val­ley Went­worth Her­itage School­house is im­por­tant to the com­mu­nity

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - BY HOPE BRIDGE­WA­TER SPE­CIAL TO THE AMHERST NEWS Hope Bridge­wa­ter cov­ers the Went­worth area for the Amherst News.

Peo­ple may say on see­ing the ti­tle, “What! There are no school­houses in Went­worth now!”

It is true that there are now no op­er­at­ing schools in Went­worth un­der the De­part­ment of Education (sad to say), but there is still the Old Val­ley Went­worth Her­itage School­house. It has the his­tory of be­ing a typ­i­cal one­room school with Grades one to 11 all taught in one room by one teacher, but as the sec­re­tary/trea­surer of the Went­worth Val­ley Com­mu­nity Hall As­so­ci­a­tion, Carol Hys­lop, says, the as­so­ci­a­tion takes its past his­tory as an as­set, but has now a larger pur­pose. That is to pre­serve the his­tory of the com­mu­nity, in par­tic­u­lar, the Went­worth Val­ley/Sta­tion. The as­so­ci­a­tion was cre­ated a her­itage school by the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Cum­ber­land.

Hys­lop, act­ing as the as­so­ci­a­tion di­rec­tor, sent out spe­cial in­vi­ta­tions to the vol­un­teer work­ers who specif­i­cally helped with the main­te­nance of the school­house dur­ing the past year.

En­ter­ing the Old Val­ley School­house for the Christ­mas din­ner, there are still sym­bols re­main­ing of the one-room school­house: dou­ble stu­dent desks for two stu­dents, three black­boards, a wood stove (still work­ing and main­tained). There was time to meet, greet, and chat with one an­other be­fore sit­ting down to eat. Deb­bie Bar­clay had spent the en­tire day cook­ing the meal. The won­der­ful menu con­sisted of turkey with dress­ing, cran­berry sauce, tomato chut­ney, veg­eta­bles, rolls, tea and cof­fee. No­rah Top­ping helped by bring­ing in an ap­ple pie and Howard Waugh brought in ice-cream.

Af­ter peo­ple left, the di­rec­tor of the Com­mu­nity Hall As­so­ci­a­tion stayed for a busi­ness meet­ing: Deb­bie Bar­clay, chair­woman; Hys­lop, sec­re­tary/trea­surer; Bobby Hunt, Fran­cie Hunt, Harold Bar­clay, Butch Atkin­son, Debi Atkin­son, Ernest Wood (ab­sent this time), and two vol­un­teers Top­ping and Waugh.

The Old Went­worth Her­itage Val­ley School­house is 115 years old. If there had not been se­ri­ous main­te­nance over the years, the build­ing would have been taken over by the woods or else in­ten­tion­ally torn down. In 1902, Alexan­der Mun­roe, a res­i­dent of the Val­ley, re­ceived a con­tract from the school trustees to build a new school for $530. This was be­cause visit­ing school in­spec­tor Craig had or­dered the present school be placed else­where and a new one built at the same site by Aug. 1, 1903. It is ex­cel­lent that this beau­ti­ful site re­mains as it’s sit­u­ated next to a Cobe­quid Moun­tain range which has the high­est peak (High Head) in the area and a brook which be­gins the Wal­lace River.

In 1959, the Com­mu­nity Hall As­so­ci­a­tion was formed to buy the school­house af­ter it was closed due to amal­ga­ma­tion of all the Went­worth one-room schools into one cen­tral El­e­men­tary School at Went­worth Cen­tre. That housed Grades one to six and Grades seven to11 to go to Pugwash Dis­trict High School. The school­house was first kept as a Ri­fle Club and Ski Club. Then Friends of the Old Val­ley School­house (a nick name for the as­so­ci­a­tion) made use of it.

HOPE BRIDGE­WA­TER PHOTO

From left, Bobby Hunt, Robert Lafrance, Mon­ica Lafrance and Kathy Sax­ton en­joy a hol­i­day din­ner lo­cated at the Her­itage Went­worth Val­ley School­house.

HOPE BRIDGE­WA­TER PHOTO

Mother Erica vanVulpen-Wil­son, fa­ther Gre­gor Wil­son, and son Ge­orge en­joyed the Went­worth Val­ley School­house Christ­mas Din­ner.

HOPE BRIDGE­WA­TER PHOTO

No­rah Top­ping and Deb­bie Bar­clay cooked a won­der­ful hol­i­day menu at the Her­itage Went­worth Val­ley School­house.

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