The Fight Over One Room Schools in 1965!


In April of 1965 trouble was brewing and the pot was over flowing. Mrs. Nino Manzon of Carleton Place had been carrying on a paper war since January against the townships eight schools.  In 1965 Margaret Manzon’s children were attending Tennyson School in Beckwith Township. Declaring the rural one room school “antiquated”, she began a campaign to bring modern educational facilities to the area. While Mrs. Manzon continued her fight in Carleton Place W.P. Williams school district inspector from Smiths Falls was urging the school board to abandon the one room school houses for a central school.

In the Perth Road district parents kept their children home from three of the one room schools to protest their planned closing. Mrs. Manzon’s campaign had already resulted in the the township school board voting to scrap the one room schools. The concerned mother stated they were fire traps because they were still being heated by wood stoves and unsanitary because of polluted wells and chemical toilets.

Manzon also contended that her children were missing out academically. Charles Williams the education departments chief inspector says there was now a strong trend toward centralization. A central school would provide a larger level of training because the teachers could devote all their time to one or two grades than spreading over eight grades. He also said that central schools would attract specialized teachers to rural areas enriching education through subjects such as art and music. Isn’t it ironic that these subjects have now been phased out of most schools? Many Beckwith residents backed her fight, but many others supported the one room schools and denounced her as a meddler. In March 1966, Beckwith Township Council voted in favour of amalgamating its public schools with the Carleton Place Public School Board. Students were now to be bussed into town, and the following July, the old one room school houses were auctioned off. She died in 2013.


19th Century Schoolroom

Glass Plate Negative – Inside a 19th Century Schoolroom
NLRM 2012.55.20
19th Century

North Lanark Regional Museum

This rare photograph depicts the inside of a school house classroom in the late nineteenth century. A chalkboard and wooden desks are visible. This image was scanned from a glass plate negative from the Almonte Gazette archives.

S.S. No. 6 Lanark – Middleville School
This stone building was originally a two-room schoolhouse.  It is now the Middleville Museum.


S.S. No. 8 Lanark & S.S. No. 19 Drummond
1106 Ferguson Falls Road, Ferguson Falls

S.S. No. 11 Lanark – Bishop’s Mills

S.S. No. 13 Lanark – Hopetown School
5633 Highway 511, Hopetown


Photograph of school class at Clayton Ontario, about 1909. Charles Dobie
The only student identified on the back of the photo is Roy Reston Evans, third from the right,
with pen marks above his head.

Photo of Pending sale and some files from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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