The Elgin-Chantrell area has some wonderful history, being one of the early areas of Surrey to be settled. One of the original schools of the area is still standing – Elgin School, which was designated a Heritage Site in 1980, and has an interesting history of its own.
As early as 1918, the Elgin residents were seeking a school closer to their neighbourhood than the existing Mud Bay School, which was old and often flooded. In 1920, after a measles and flu epidemic had interrupted the school year for several months, a Health Inspector closed the Mud Bay School, leaving Elgin students with nowhere to go.
With parents clamoring for a new school, and even hiring their own teacher to teach in a temporary tent, the School Board agreed to build a new school. Local residents contributed much to this school: an acre of land was donated in 1920 by Barbara Lamb, and John Anderson dug the well. In April of 1921, building began for the contracted sum of $1,530.00, and the school was officially opened on October 1, 1921.
The first teacher in this one-room school was Miss Christine MacIver, who taught 33 students from grades one to eight. In subsequent years, the school served the needs of the area’s students and other community groups.
In the 1950s, the school’s original wood siding was covered with stucco, and modern washrooms and an oil heater were installed. Students continued to use the building as a school until 1984. It was designated a Heritage Site in 1980, and today is used as a children’s recreation centre.
If you are interested in learning more about Elgin’s historical sites, or those in other parts of Surrey, visit the City of Surrey’s Community Heritage Register for a list of over 200 heritage properties at http://www.surrey.ca/community/3209.aspx
Or, if you’d like to stroll by the original Elgin School in person, you can find this charming little building, now called Elgin Centre, at 3530 144th Street, Surrey.
Here is a photo of my German Shepherd, Uli, taken at Elgin School earlier this winter.