THE FIRST LYNN VALLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
At the turn of the 20th Century, the place we know as “Lynn Valley” was emerging as a logging centre due to its strategic elevation and confluence of waterways on the north shore. Its development as a white settler community was influenced by sawmills and water companies. Flumes carried the lumber down the mountain to the inlet and the waterworks provided clean drinking water for all of Vancouver. By way of industry, the place was referred to by its new inhabitants as “Shaketown”.
At the start, Shaketown was simply a clutch of cedar-built dwellings surrounded by dense forest and situated high above the company-town of Moodyville – the first non-Indigenous settlement on the north shore. In time, workers settled down and families formed around Hastings Creek and the sawmill. Travel down the mountain was suitable for cedar shakes and logs, but not people. The skid road from Shaketown to Moodyville was treacherous, and the 30 families residing in Shaketown in 1904 decided it was time to build the Lynn Valley School.
The first Lynn Valley School was established on May 20, 1904, a simple one-room wooden structure with a modest playground to serve the children of the logging community. Beginning with 18 students, the school attendance fluctuated reflecting seasonal labour and the rural status of Lynn Valley. Miss Margaret Whiteley was employed as the first school mistress at $40 a month. In 1908, the school was replaced by a new wooden building that still stands today at Harold St. and Mountain Hwy as the Parent Participation Day Care.
“The good folk of Lynn Valley had a most enjoyable time last evening when the opening of the new school house was celebrated. The program was time to begin at 7:30, and long before that time standing room even was at a premium and many were forced to stand in the lobby.”
February 21, 1908. The World newspaper.
In 1912, legislation passed that amended the Public School Act and required compulsory education in municipalities, including North Vancouver. This, combined with a growing population due to employment with the Lynn Valley Lumber Company and the lure of land speculation, saw families flocking to Lynn Valley, which created a demand for retail businesses, such as those found in the Fromme Block. A new school building was also added, a two-storey wooden structure with four classrooms.