markdale public school
Built 1895 – Glenelg School Board
Victoria St at Eliza
1853 the first Markdale School, built of logs, was located ½ mile south of town. 1869 a frame school was built near Barrhead for children from the west end of town. 1879 a small brick school house for children in the east and south part of the village was erected on the present site of the Roman Catholic Church. 1888 the two schools joined by moving the frame building in behind the brick one, but both burned down within the year. 1890 a new school was constructed at the top of Eliza Street. 4 years later, it too went up in flames. 1895 on the same site Markdale Public School was built. 1920 a 3-room addition provided a continuation school, and the building became Markdale High School. 1952 high school students were transferred to Centre Grey High School on Main, and 1967 transferred to newly built Grey Highlands S.S. in Flesherton. All except grades one & two moved to the school on Main (re-named as Beavercrest). 1975 the remaining students moved over and the old building became archive storage and a teacher resource centre. Late 1985 regardless of community opposition, the school was torn down. In 1987 the location was marked by a carillon constructed of the red bricks and topped with the school’s bell. These days even the bell is missing.
The symmetry, proportions and fine details are typical of public buildings in that era. The four room school had a rubble stone foundation and was constructed of local red brick. Louvered arches on all four sides of the belfry mirror the rounded windows and the fan light above the entry door, all of which are beautifully accented by the fine craftsmanship of the brickwork. Architect J.C. Forester also designed the Carnegie Library on the south side of Main St. East.
May 30, 1985: bylaw 85-8 (Village of Markdale) - Reasons for designation included historical importance, fine architecture and its prominent position atop a hill making the belfry a highly visible landmark to the town of Markdale. Despite being designated, the school board ordered the school to be demolished – gone but still not forgotten by several generations of students who passed beneath the elegant arched transom during those 90 years.