If you’re tried of sitting at home trying to find interesting things to do during the pandemic, why not think about driving out to 150 Mile House and visiting the old schoolhouse?
It was built by local residents in 1896, and served as the community’s only school until 1958. Many of our local pioneers attended school there and have vivid memories of a different time with different ways of teaching and learning.
Once again this summer, thanks to grants from the Cariboo Regional District, the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society and the Government of Canada Summer Jobs Program, the little red schoolhouse will open its doors to the public.
The hours of operation will be Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from now through to Aug. 29.
There will be some safety and distancing requirements for visitors because of the current COVID-19 situation.
This year’s summer host and interpretive guide is Colton Johnson, a second-year computer science student at the University of Northern British Columbia, and a member of a pioneer family from the 140 Mile area. Colton will be your historical mentor, willing to answer your questions and show you some of the many artifacts which have been collected and donated over the years.
Another one of Colton’s tasks will be to conduct some historical research pertaining to the school and the 150 Mile area. As part of that research, he plans to interview several old timers who grew up in the Williams Lake region, who attended school at 150 Mile, or who have family connections with the Cariboo.
These interviews will be compiled into a file which will be available to the public. In addition, Colton is looking for information specifically about the old schoolhouse — names of former students, former teachers, photographs, memorabilia, and stories which can be added to the current collection.
If you are, or if you know of someone who might be a candidate for an interview, or has some interesting stories to relate about the old schoolhouse, Colton would love to hear from you.
This summer is likely to be one where stay-cations take place, and people do not travel very far from home. Why not take a couple of hours to head out to 150 Mile and check out this historical gem, one of the last remaining one room schoolhouse of its era in our province? There are activities for children as well as displays for adults. Come and visit our history — you’ll find it well worth the effort.
Barry Sale is a retired teacher and local historian who writes articles for the Williams Lake Tribune