North Fork has a rich (and fun) history of education

The Good Old Days column by Kristina Kapitza of the Boundary Community Archives.

Brown Creek School

The North Fork of the Kettle River was—and still is —home to many small, thriving communities. During the early twentieth century, three main schools served the students of the North Fork.

The North Kettle River School was opened in 1898 on a flat south of the former Ralloff home. Pat Terrion was the first teacher.

The Cooper children remember travelling 4.5 miles each way to school, often on foot. They left at dawn and arrived back home at dusk, and during the winter it was too cold for them to attend regularly.

In 1927 the original log school was partially destroyed by fire, and a new frame building was constructed by the Jack Kenyon place. John Barisoff built the school and outbuildings for $790.

However, this school did not last very long and closed in 1928. In 1946, a new North Kettle River School was built, located a quarter mile north of the original school. This school was closed in 1952, and after that, the students bused to school in Grand Forks.

Another school in the North Fork was the Sand Creek School. It was in operation from 1921-1931. The first teacher there was Miss Viola Evans.

The Brown Creek School was built in 1920, and was originally located on the corner of Brown Creek Road and East Brown Creek Road. A dance was held to celebrate the opening. Fifty couples were present, and $49 in profits was raised. The first teacher at the school was Miss Varcoe.

In 1948, the school was moved to a new modern one-room building on the two-hectare (five-acre) lot east of the old building (now the community hall).

The dances at the Brown Creek School were always popular. At least two were held each year, and music was supplied by local musicians such as Bill Beasely, Emerson Reid, and Mr. Fisher and his sons. It was said that someone got into a fight at every dance.

Discipline, like at all schools, was a problem at the Brown Creek School. One day a terrific explosion was heard in the school yard: trees fell like 10-pins  from of a huge wave of water that came down Pass Creek.

The next day it was found that a couple of the older boys had found some stumping powder and had set a charge at the irrigation dam. One teacher had the students hold hold heavy books at arm’s length for a prescribed period of time as a form of punishment.

There was always retaliation, however: some boys got their teacher to climb up in the attic for some books, and then placed a mirror under the ladder! The archives are now on Facebook! Visit our page, Boundary Community Archives to get a glimpse into our collection. We are open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Contact us at 250-442-8266 ext. 60126 or at, or drop by at 7217 4th Street, Grand Forks (city hall).


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