Description of Historic Place
Stuart Wood School is a three-storey schoolhouse with a symmetrical façade, red brick cladding, a broad hipped roof, front and rear gabled projections and Classical Revival detailing. Built in 1906-07, it is situated on a large corner lot, surrounded by an open schoolyard with mature perimeter plantings, set far back from the street, on the south side of St. Paul Street in the downtown core of Kamloops.
Stuart Wood School is significant as one of the earliest surviving schools in Kamloops. Its prominence demonstrates the growth and development of the community over time and the high value that was placed on public education at the time of its construction. This was the town’s third public school, opened in 1907 as the Kamloops Public School just fourteen years after Kamloops was incorporated. Until 1913, the elementary grades met on the first two floors, while the high school grades met on the top floor. It is now an elementary school.
The school is valued for its association with its first principal, Edward Stuart Wood (1857-1942). Originally from Peterborough, Ontario, Wood moved to Kamloops in August 1886, taught until 1910, and continued to live in Kamloops until his death in 1942. This school was renamed in his honour in 1922.
Stuart Wood School is also a very significant example of the architectural work of William Tuff Whiteway (1856-1940), who was born in Musgrave, Newfoundland, but relocated to Vancouver at the time of Vancouver's Great Fire in 1886. In addition to his commercial work, Whiteway specialized in the design of schools, and provided the plans for a number of schools throughout the province. The architecture of this school conveys a sense of permanence and order, demonstrating the late persistence of the Romanesque Revival style in its massive masonry construction and round-arched windows. The emerging influence of the Classical Revival style is also evident in the pedimented portico, classical columns, and fanlight window above the central entrance. The large sash windows were characteristic of contemporary school design, arranged to take advantage of natural light and ventilation.
Stuart Wood School also has heritage value for the community as a tangible link to the past, because much of the exterior and interior fabric of the school is original to its construction a century ago. The top-floor classroom, equipped with authentic furnishings, is interpreted to provide students with the experience of a historical classroom setting.
Source: City of Kamloops Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Stuart Wood School include its:
- location on a large downtown corner lot, set back far from St. Paul Street
- continuous use as a school for over a century
- institutional form, scale and massing as expressed by its three-storey height, full-height basement, symmetrical rectangular plan, hipped roof with front and rear gabled projections, and central front entry with columned and pedimented entry porch
- robust construction, including wooden materials, such as heavy timber internal framing, wooden columns and bracketted soffits, and masonry elements, such as red-brick cladding, parged stringcourses and internal chimneys
- windows, including four-over-four double-hung wooden-sash windows on the first and second floors, six-over-six double-hung wooden-sash windows on the third floor with arched transoms above the three central windows, and arched fanlight above the front entrance
- high degree of retention of original interior features, such as wooden wainscoting, wooden trim, maple floors, lath-and-plaster walls, panelled doors with original hardware, internal staircase with newel posts with drop finials, original room configuration including third-storey classroom, and original boiler and coal chute
- associated landscape features, such as surrounding grassed schoolyard and playing fields, and mature perimeter plantings such as Silver Maples and Horse Chestnut trees