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The Old School House

1589 Millstream Road, Highlands, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/02/07

1589 Millstream Road; District of Highlands, 2010
Front Exterior View
1589 Millstream Road; District of Highlands, 1941
Historic Exterior Side View
No Image

Other Name(s)

The Old School House
Little Red Schoolhouse

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2016/08/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old School House is a one-room, hip-roof wood frame building situated in the Caleb Pike Heritage Park at 1589 Millstream Road in the District of Highlands, British Columbia. The historic place includes the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

Constructed in 1893, the Old School House is valued as an important part of community history. It was the only school ever built in the Highlands District, and was used until 1941. The building was originally located at the junction of Millstream Road and Millstream Lake Road, but in 1997 it was donated to the community by the property owner. The school was dismantled and reconstructed (along with a replica of the Teacherage) at the Caleb Pike Heritage Park.

The Old School House is valued for the role it played in the community's early social and economic development. In 1892, Highlands pioneer families petitioned the Provincial Superintendent of Education to establish a Highlands School District and construct a school. Eventually the community was successful, but over the 48 years of the school's existence, they struggled to keep it open. It was closed many times and for prolonged periods of time due to low attendance. The district was regularly hiring teachers - most of whom were young women who stayed on average 6 months. The school also provided employment opportunities to the community in the form of firewood supply and cleaning services; even one of the teachers was a Highlands resident.

The Old School House is valued as a fine example of a one-room schoolhouse dating from the end of the 19th century. It measures 20 feet wide by 34 feet long with 12-foot walls inside. Although the reconstruction added a basement and modern safety considerations, such as sprinkler systems, the rest conforms to the design, building materials and exterior red and white colour scheme determined by the original government specifications.

The Old School House is valued as a community meeting place. Historically it was used as a concert and meeting hall, and church services were held on one Sunday a month. It is now used for municipal council meetings and local social events, as well as being used region-wide for workshops, retreats and weddings.

Source: District of Highlands Municipal Office

Character-Defining Elements

Key character-defining elements of the Old School House include:

- Simple hip roof
- Horizontal lapped siding
- Sash window frames and historic (1920s) glass
- Use of lath and plaster on interior walls and original wainscoting (in reconstruction)
- Remains of coat hooks on wainscoting in front cloakroom
- Original paint colours on exterior of building
- Entrance porch entering into a cloakroom
- Multiple uses of the building by community including official meetings, and local events and celebrations



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Civic Space


One-Room School

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

District of Highlands Municipal Office

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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