Centreville School represents the single room schools that closed out the era of the single room schools in Manitoba in the mid 1960s. It is of balloon frame construction and consists of a single room and an entrance foyer to keep the cold out in the winter. It was also constructed with a basement which aided in heating the building compared to a building just sitting on the ground. The basement in many one room schools also housed a coal furnace for heating and indoor toilet facilities for use in the winter. Outhouses were provided for use in the other three seasons.
It’s called Centreville because it was originally located between Holland and Treherne. It was a typical one-room school house with grades 1 to 8. It is equipped as it was when in use. The teacher’s desk was used from 1893 to 1962. The teacher’s strap now resides in one of the drawers.
The desks in front of the teacher are a mix of the designs that were used, a three-seater design, the double seat design and the more progressive single units of later years. Many of the older desks are scarred with generations of initials – sometimes entwined in hearts, a tribute to the carver’s current heart throb.
The desks are covered with antique text books donated from throughout the Province by interested Manitobans. The Centreville School has one of the largest collections of text books, used throughout the history of education in Manitoba. Most prized and kept under glass are the Sweet Pea readers used to teach First Graders how to read in 1910-1912.
The myriads of stove pipes extending across the ceiling from the old pot bellied stove, the school room brings back memories of those winter days in the rural schools. Beside the stove pupils fried and, away from it, they froze.
There are some modern innovations in the restored Centreville School. The “modern” water fountain replaced the bucket and dipper. When the Edison record player with cylindrical records was introduced into Manitoba schools, it must have been considered “magical” by the students of the day. The large bell outside rung to start school and to signal the end of recess.