History: Stittsville Public School celebrating 75 years, but its roots began in 1875 on Carp Road

(In 1875, SS#12 Stittsville Public School was first located in ‘Old Stittsville’ on Carp Road. The one room schoolhouse included grades one to eight. Photo: GTHS)

The Stittsville Public School is celebrating 75 years in the community with a Memory Mingle on Thursday, November 30, 2023 from 4:00 to 6:00pm. It will be an open house with past and current students and teachers taking part. So bring along your memories or photos to share in the Stittsville Public School’s gymnasium at 40 Granite Ridge Drive.

Previous to the Main Street public school that most long-time residents are familiar with (now the Frederick Banting Alternative High School) opened in 1947, there was the original schoolhouse on the Carp Road in use since 1875. SS#12, Stittsville Union Public School was a white clapboard wooden-framed schoolhouse located in what was called ‘Old Stittsville’ and grades one to eight were taught all in one room. Mrs. Ida Alexander was the teacher from the mid-1930’s and then moved to the new SS#12 public school as the school’s principal when it opened in 1947. The old clapboard school had a woodstove and the boys were responsible for loading the wood in the stove during the winter days.

(In 1885, students from SS#12 Stittsville Public School on Carp Road in ‘Old Stittsville’ enjoyed a school picnic. Photo: GTHS)
(Students in 1946 at the SS#12 public school on Carp Road. L to R: Jean McCoy, Lorraine Parks, Joy Basssett, Lois Sparks, Jean Foley, Marilyn Dawson. Photo: Parks family album)
(Students in 1946 pose with teacher, Mrs. Ida Alexander, (top back of photo) at the SS#12 public school on Carp Road. Photo: Parks family album)

As Stittsville was growing after the Great Fire of 1870 and the railway brought more businesses and families to our town, the number of children increased as well. It was due to this growth that in 1940 classes began to be held in the basement of the Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL) (now the Stittsville Legion) as well as at SS#12 on Carp Road to accommodate the increasing number of children. Miss Haskins was the teacher in the LOL schoolroom.

(In 1940, with growth in the town, Stittsville students attended classes in the basement of the Loyal Orange Lodge. Photo: Parks family album)
(In 1940, school classes were held in the basement of the Loyal Orange Lodge. In this photo of the 1940 class are: L-R Back row – Kay Bradley, Dolores Parks; L-R Middle row – Marguerite Parks, Eileen Bennett, Clayton Sparks, Joan Spearman, Gwen McCooeye; L-R Front row – Isabel Graham, Weldon Parks, Melbourne Scharf, Mary Peters. Miss Haskins was the school teacher. Photo: Parks family album)
(A piece of history revealed – the original schoolroom slate blackboard was uncovered in 2021 during the renovations at the Stittsville Legion and is now used as the Legion’s announcement board. Photo: Stittsville Central)

With more and more families moving to Stittsville, in 1947 a new public school opened on Stittsville Main Street. Initially, the school was a two-room building with a classroom and offices. The head carpenter was my Grandfather, Orville Parks. However, classes continued to be taught in the basement of the LOL until around 1958 when Stittsville Public expanded again with two more classrooms. And another four added in 1961. Classes no longer took place at the Loyal Orange Lodge.

(The SS#12 Stittsville Public School is constructed and ready for its first students in 1947. Photo: Parks family album)

(The first students to be taught at SS#12 Stittsville Public School in 1947. Back row, 3rd from right is my Mom, Lorraine Parks. Photo: Parks family album)
(Leslie Linen taught Grades four to eight at the new Stittsville Public School. Here he is teaching Grade 8 students in 1951. Photo: Parks family album)
(Many of kids in Stittsville played in the school yard. In 1953, these well-known kids were caught on camera. L-R: Donny Graham, Dalton Parks, Dale, Nancy, Julie and Peggy-Lou Bradley (the Bradley’s were the children of Muriel Bradley, Stittsville’s best hairdresser of the day. Photo: Parks family album)

Another burst in population took place around 1970 to approximately 3,000 residents. At this time, expansion was being discussed at the Carleton Board of Education. In the early 1990’s another addition was added to the main street school that included a second storey with four classrooms in the back portion of the school.

(SS#12 Stittsville Public School as the front of the school appeared in 1990. Photo: Parks family album)

I recall fondly many of the teachers at Stittsville Public – Fran Cooper, Daisy Jinkinson (standing on her pedestal as she was very short), Gladys Davidson, Mary Davidson-who lived two doors away from the school (all from Stittsville), Miss Urquarht (from Ottawa), Mr. Daley (from Carp), Mr. Jones (from Ottawa). Mrs. Ida Alexander was the Principal the entire time I attended SPS in the 1960s-70’s.

In the 1970’s, those of us going into grade 8 then attended the newly built Goulbourn Middle School to ‘experience the open concept’ pilot program for students. Needless to say, the program wasn’t a success and didn’t last long due to the many distractions for students, especially when preparing to enter high school. The walls were made up of portable bookcases and chalkboards and you could hear what was going on in all of the other classes. Lots of ‘spitballs’ shot from pens came over the portable barriers!

The school yard at Stittsville Public was always large. It had a baseball diamond, a running track and a large hill area – perfect for playing Red Rover! When we attended the school, the Carleton Board of Education provided all students large thick pencils (for those learning to print) and scribblers, along with other school supplies needed for all of the grades one through eight.

In 2005, a ‘Walk Down Memory Lane’ was held for the closure of the old school, with Mrs. Jinkinson as the guest speaker. New memories were going to made at the new Stittsville Public School that opened the same year.

Many good memories and friendships were made at Stittsville Public School.

(Stittsville Public School is now the Frederick Banting Alternative High School and it hasn’t changed over the years.)
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10 thoughts on “History: Stittsville Public School celebrating 75 years, but its roots began in 1875 on Carp Road”

  1. Pingback: History: Stittsville Public School is celebrating its 75th anniversary, but its roots go back to 1875 on Carp Road - Stittsville Central - Ontario News

  2. What wonderful history the town of Stittsville has. Always waved to the white school house (sadly no longer there)
    as I drove by. Do not forget its history. Three cheers!!!

  3. Great photos and memories. I think that some of the Walker children are in the first photo (In 1885, students from SS#12 Stittsville Public School on Carp Road in ‘Old Stittsville’ enjoyed a school picnic. Photo: GTHS). My great grandmother was a Walker. Ellen Faulkner

  4. Great article! Ida Alexander (nee Bradley) was my great aunt, sister of Silas C Bradley of Bradley’s Insurance. My mother Beth Bradley also taught at Stittsville Public School. Ellen Faulkner

    1. The 1875 Stittsville Union Public School was located on a small section of Carp Road land between Main Street and Hazeldean Road – about 2 or 3 lots down from the former Presbyterian Church that had been converted to apartments in 1956 by my Grandfather, Orville Parks, and sadly for our family recently taken down (Hobin Street & Carp Road).

    2. From main street turning on to the Carp road the road goes straight and than turns to the left. About 100 feet after that it was on the left where a normal house is now.

  5. What a walk down memory lane! My first year of teaching was at Stittsville Public School – 1968-1969 – 55 years ago! No longer a one-room schoolhouse, but several of the teachers were still on staff…notably Mrs. Ida Alexander, Mrs. Bradley, and Mrs. Jinkinson. I taught grades seven and eight, English and Social Studies and girls’ phys ed. My contract was only for one year (I moved on to teach for another 12 years in Orleans), but this article certainly ‘sparked’ a few memories for me. Thanks.

  6. They did not add the second level in the 1990’s I went to that school in the early 1980’s. The second level is where Mrs Martin and Mrs Grant taught grade 1 and 2.

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