OLD SCHOOL OF THE DAY
New Chester One Room Schoolhouse
New Chester Community Club
New Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada NS B0J 2K0
The New Chester Community Club is a modest, one-and–a-half story, one-room schoolhouse that is now used as a social club. It is set back and down a slight slope from the road in a rural setting in the community of New Chester, on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore. Also known locally as the Little Red Schoolhouse, this building was built in 1915 to meet the educational needs of the New Chester residents. With a rather remote setting inland from Ecum Secum in Nova Scotia’s sparsely populated Eastern Shore region, a building of this size was sufficient but also allowed schoolchildren to remain relatively close to home. The school opened late in the year on June 5th, 1915, with Katherine Harris as the schoolteacher. Other notable teachers over the years included Deliah Pace, Bessie Hay, Hilda Moser and Opal Forrestall. Albert Moser and Thomas Irwin of nearby Moser River did most of the work on the structure. The building retains many of its original features, including the sash windows and wood shingles. The building has an overall balanced and unadorned appearance with a steeply pitched roof, symmetrical windows on the side and front facades, and a central entrance in the gable end with a wooden door. Decoration is added with a wide trim at the eaves and modest window hoods. A simple, pitched roof covered entrance with wooden support brackets defines the entrance. The building also has a basement entrance that was originally used mainly as access for coal and wood storage as the building was heated with one central stove in the classroom. The building also served the community as a space for church services at times until an Anglican church was built nearby in 1959. In 1952, senior students began being bussed to a new consolidated high school in Sherbrooke, lowering the class sizes in this traditional one-room schoolhouse. By 1962, the school was closed and elementary students were also bussed to a new school in the community of Marie Joseph. In 1974, a conservation grant allowed the New Chester community to begin repairs on the structure and it began a new life as a venue for social gatherings and the local community club. The New Chester Community Club is valued for its intact original architectural features and as a physical representation of the one-room schoolhouse education system of early twentieth century Nova Scotia.