THE HISTORY OF THE OLD SCHOOL
Built in 1924, The Old School began its life as a very modern rural school and operated as such until its closure in 2006. According to the Superintendent of Education Report for 1924, "A new two-room school building, by far the best in rural Halifax, is under construction in Musquodoboit Harbour," (p. 57). It is thought that Robert Stoddart from Jeddore built the Craftsman-style building, though this has not been verified.
That the school was indeed 'state of the art' is evident from what its early students (Pearl Turner and Dorothy Facie) remember as being so wonderful: hot air heating (no wood stoves), indoor plumbing (no cold outhouse), three cloakrooms (one for the boys, one for the girls and one for the teachers), one of which was later turned into a lab.
Although it looks large on the outside, it had only two classrooms: the Big Room and Little Room. With an average enrollment of rural schools in the Musquodoboit area was 27, one room was for grades 1 to 6 and the other 7 to 11. The basement had two rooms, including the furnace room which had a cement floor and was where physical education took place.
The Craftsman style of the building was popular in Nova Scotia in the twenties, owing a great deal to the British Arts and Crafts Movement. Advocates of the Movement felt that good design had been lost in industrialized production and were keen to demonstrate that well-designed and well-made objects, including houses and schools, added joy, beauty and value to everyday life. Typical are a gently sloping roof, broad eaves and exposed rafter ends. The rafters and eaves evoke medieval English building practices, so admired by the Movement.
The building endures, and is a delight for former students to revisit and see how it continues to be used by the community today. Still referred to by locals as the "Little School".