In 1913, McBride’s first school, a one room building on First Avenue east of the park, was opened. A year later, the rail line was constructed through McBride and McBride’s first train station was built. With the coming of the railway and the official settlement of McBride, lots in town were auctioned off, including the lot that the school was on. The newly formed school board was given 60 days to move their building. Although they were a little late, the school was moved to its current lot on Main Street. Despite starting with only eight pupils in 1913, two years later, the number of students had grown and a new school was built by Wade and Taggart. It was determined that $1 per month would be paid by the families with children attending the school to cover costs.
In 1917, the Fraser school was built by the provincial government on this block facing Fourth Avenue near King Street (the other end of the field). The beautiful new school had a central stairway that led to two classrooms upstairs and two play areas on the ground level. Exterior fire escapes were added later.
As the number of students increased, high school classes were held across Main Street in the Legion hall until a school for older students could be built. The new school was completed in 1946, but was converted into an Elementary school within a few years. By 1952, a new highschool was built with dormitories to include pupils from further away.
In 1946, a new Education Act was passed, making rural schools part of a larger school district. School District 58 (McBride) stretched from Dome Creek to the Alberta border and down to Valemount. This new act made it harder for smaller schools to stay open, which meant that they would need to be bussed to the “larger” schools.
A year later, the Fraser School burned down and the newly formed school board had to scramble in order to find spaces around town for classes to occur.
Photo: The Fraser School in 1930 with Fire Escapes and bell tower added. Valley Museum and Archives.