Sherbrooke Village Schoolhouse
The Schoolhouse in Sherbrooke Village was built in 1867 according to plans issued by a report by the Provincial Superintendent of Education. Before the schoolhouse opened, students were taught from people’s homes. The first teacher in Sherbrooke was William Bent, who, beginning in 1814, taught children in his kitchen.
The schoolhouse had two rooms, one for grade 1-6 and the other for grades 7-11. If a student wanted to receive a grade 12 education, they had to go to Halifax and write an exam.
It is said that the first schools were dimly lit, crowded, and they reeked of kerosene, chalk dust, damp wool, perspiration, and chlorine bleach, which was poured in the pit of an attached privy (outhouse). While the Sherbrooke schoolhouse may not have been that bad, it was very different than schools today. There was no running water, so boys had to carry in buckets of water for the students to drink. In the colder months, the teacher would start a fire in the morning to heat the school. The students wrote on slates until 1940 and would have used things such as shells and rocks for science projects. When students misbehaved, they were sometimes slapped with a leather strap, which hung on the wall.
The chair at the back of the room was used by the Supervisor of School when he came to visit. From there he could observe the class and the teacher. At the back was also a space used for overflow when school board meetings or concerts were held at the schoolhouse.
In 1905, Temperance Hall next door to the school was purchased and used for grades 7-11 with grades 1-6 remaining in the original schoolhouse. In 1953, a new high school was built and grade 12 added. The hall later became the Sherbrooke Legion – a dry legion in honor of it originally being the Temperence Hall. The last school term at the Sherbrooke Village school was from 1961-1962. A new elementary school was built in 1963, and so the schoolhouse was closed.