In the little community of Harris Hill (Spohn Township), nestled behind a row of tall spruce trees, you will find a historical treasure. It is an original one room schoolhouse.
At one time, these little schoolhouses dotted the countryside, providing an integrated and practical education for all who attended. The little schoolhouse served as the focal point in the community, opening its doors not only for education, but also for church services, Sunday school, community dances and social events. It also served as a reference point in the community – people lived so many miles north or east of the school, etc.
The one room schoolhouses began to close their doors when larger, amalgamated schools were built and busing became affordable. Many one room schoolhouses were sold for private homes, storage buildings or were demolished.
The little schoolhouse in Harris Hill was built in 1924 and sits on private land. It has remained intact because of loving care from the community. It has witnessed the education of many children and has survived under the direction of many teachers.
The building has recently received a new roof and a new coat of paint. It maintains the original slate blackboards, original teacher’s desk and student desks. There are many original school artifacts as well as those given to the school from other communities.
Several times over the years, children from the Rainy River Riverview school have spent a day enjoying a pioneer experience, thus giving some life and renewed spirit to the old building.
Occasionally, the Harris Hill School Committee has opened the doors for the public to visit. The committee appreciates stories and pictures of history for their photo/history albums. Financial donations are greatly appreciated, as there is ongoing maintenance.
An open house is planned for Saturday, August 5, 2023, from 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. The school is located 16 miles north of Rainy River on Hwy 600. Watch for signs.
For further information, call Carolyn Kreger (807-488-5714) or Margaret Kreger (807-488-5788). R.R. #1 Rainy River, Ont., P0W 1L0.