Jul 272015
 
Netherhill Saskatchewan School

This article we’ll be looking at a small brick school house, a very photogenic one in fact, located in the tiny village of Netherhill Saskatchewan. Constructed just over a century ago, it’s been many, many decades since classes were last held here. More recently it was used as a fraternal organization hall, but for the last while it’s sat unused.

Built in the early 1910s, the school was only a couple years later doubled in size (or something close to doubled). Evidence of this “addition” is easily seen – notice the how the colours and textures of the bricks differ from side to side – on the back wall this contrast is most dramatic.

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The structure is probably as solid as ever. Birds have been getting into it however and we know what sort of mess they make.

Initially all grades were taught here but later on it was for elementary students only. It was closed in the mid-1960s and not long after acquired by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) who used the building for meetings and to host community events and the like. Their iconic chain-link logo can still be seen above front door.

When it was last used by this group is not known. We talked with a couple locals (phone interviews after our visit) and while no one agreed on an exact date, all seemed to think it sometime in the late 1970s/early 1980s era. Research is ongoing and if our readers know more, we’d love to hear from you.

Also above the entrance is a sign listing the school district (#2659) under which the facility operated and the township coordinates (S11, T29, R21). The structure sits at the centre of a field bordered by high hedges, a very pastoral setting today. One can easily imagine it a noisy chaotic place during recess, oh so long ago.

This author has found many images and postcards showing the Netherhill School over the years (mostly early on), including one when it was half its current size.

The Odd Fellows were founded almost two hundred years ago. With chapters all over the world, this benevolent organization works for the betterment of mankind (in EXTREMELY simplified terms), their motto being “Friendship. Love and Truth”.

We’ve heard the Odd Fellows referred to as a drinking club by many, but then I think many of these fraternal groups tend get branded as such. I’m sure the occasional libation was partaken of here at the old school.

Netherhill is located in western Saskatchewan. Off the main highway, few people stop in. Founded in the early 1910s when the Canadian Northern Railway came through (now Canadian National), today it’s home to a few dozen people. The main street is mostly empty save for an old hotel made into a residence.

We did a little walkabout the town, as we often do – it’s only a couple blocks square – and saw no one. The wind blew from time to time, but otherwise were met with total silence. It was in a way a bit weird and eerie.

In the early days it was much busier place. Netherhill had a happening downtown, old images show it, and a sense of hope and opportunity was clearly in the air. Now, like many small Saskatchewan towns, no small towns in ALL the prairie provinces, it seems to be dying a slow death – empty lots and overgrown sidewalks attest to that.

This same visit we shot a trademark BIGDoer.com then and now. You can see it here…
Netherhill Saskatchewan then and now.

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Lemsford SK school.
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Edmonton then and now – Norwood School.

If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!

Date: June, 2015.
Location: Netherhill, SK.
Article sources: Book: History of D’Arcy, Brock and Netherhill.
This site is on private property.

Netherhill SK School

The picturesque school in Netherhill Saskatchewan.

Netherhill Saskatchewan School

Built in the early 1910s it was doubled in size a couple years later.

Netherhill SK School District

After closing it became an Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) hall.

Netherhill Saskatchewan School District

The last classes here were held in the 1960s.

School Netherhill SK

The redder brick (right) was the original building.

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8 Comments on "Netherhill Saskatchewan school"

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Karen Arnold
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Karen Arnold

(via Facebook)
LOVE this!

Terri-Ann Weinberger (Dies)
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Terri-Ann Weinberger (Dies)

I believe the Odd Fellows were using the hall for some meetings up until the early 90’s, however regular I am unsure, but hey still did use it. At that time I was in high school, and myself and some other students in the area decorated the school and hosted a “Haunted House” for the local children on Halloween.

Allison Delday Sarauer
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Allison Delday Sarauer

Hi. I think the last students attended this school in 1966-67 or slightly earlier as it was closed when I started school in fall of 67.

The Oddfellows are a benevolent order doing good works quietly. Not sure when the Goose Lake lodge closed but there are some people around Netherhill that would know. Message me for some names if you like.

The Oddfellows never had alcohol at their events to my knowledge. I believe it was part of their beliefs and policy.

My parents were very involved in both the Oddfellows and Rebekah lodges .

Great to see these photos! Lots of great community events were held in it including my parents’ 25th party in 1978 and my wedding shower in 1988.

Ivan
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Beautiful!!!

A dear memory for many!!

Ivan T

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