Posted in Our History

In Markstay, the lack of education and religious services became a concern at an early stage and a school board was formed in December 1897. It was School Section No. 1 Hagar, District of Nipissing. The decision to build a school was made in December 1897. The building, which was close to the site of the present Public School, opened April 15, 1898 and was built with a dual-purpose to function as a school as well as a chapel. It was known as the Little Red Schoolhouse and would be in use until 1949. It was used as a church when the priest visited once a month. The Hagar Separate School Section No. 2 came into effect in December 1913 and it was located just east of the village of Markstay. It was known as the "McPhee School". The Loughrin No. 2 School was in operation for about 10 years, between the mid 1930s and mid 1940s. This school was joined with the Loughrin No. 1 School in the late 1940s. The Public School in the village of Hagar was established in 1920 by the Union School Section No. 3 Hagar and Appleby. Although it was a Public School, because most students were Roman Catholic and French, it was unofficially operated as a Separate School. A Separate School was built in 1929.

In 1937, the Roman Catholic ratepayers in Markstay decided on the necessity of a Separate School - St. Marks's Separate School. At first, classes were held in St. Mark's Church until the one-room school was constructed later that year. The Markstay students were joined by those from Loughrin No. 1 School and Awrey No. 1 School who were transported by bus. A new two-room school was built in 1953. In 1956 it was found necessary to add another classroom because of the earlier closure of Hagar No. 2 school and its students were bussed to Markstay. Two more classrooms and an all-purpose room were added in 1959 necessitated by the increase in the number of students. This was not the end of additions to the school because in 1964 two more classrooms and a kindergarten were added. Students from the school at the Veuve were bussed to Markstay when their school closed in 1966.

In the public school system, the period of many one and two room schools came to an end by the late 1940s. In 1948 the North Road School and the No. 2 Loughrin School as well as the No. 4 Appleby and Hagar Schools were united under one school board and the pupils were bussed to Markstay Public School in the village of Markstay. Because of the increase in school population, the Little Red Schoolhouse had become too small and a new building was constructed in 1950. This building had a stage and auditorium that could accommodate 200 people. The second floor held 2 classrooms for 40 children each and a library. Amalgamation with other schools continued to take place until 1972, resulting in further additions of two classrooms to the school in 1966-67 and a kindergarten room, library and three classrooms in 1972.

In the village of Warren, the first classes started in the old Methodist Church around 1890. The Imperial Lumber Company donated some property to the Board of Trustees of Public School No. 1 Dunnet in 1898. This resulted in the building of a two-room school. When a Separate School was built and the mills closed, the attendance dropped and in 1924 the original school was torn down and replaced by a new one. This was a one-room school. The School Area of Crear, Dunnet, Hugel and Ratter which was formed in 1946, constructed a new school in 1952. This was a three-classroom building which is still part of the present Public School. In 1959 a fourth room was added.

In 1898, the R.C.S.S. Board Dunnet No. 1 was created and it proceeded to have a one-class school built on donated land in the village of Warren. This school was located where the gymnasium of St. Thomas Separate School is at this time. A new two-storey building accommodated 120 students from 1938 to 1956. In 1956 four classrooms and a gymnasium were added because of a decision to centralize rural schools. When the school in Hagar closed and its students started attending St. Thomas Separate School, three more classrooms, a laboratory and a library were added.