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Former one-room Knock School, S.S. #15, still serving the community into its third century

November 2021

In an era when a horse and buggy was the primary mode of daily transportation for the majority of residents, travelling even relatively short distances took hours. Travelling long distances to school was out of the question for most children living in rural areas. For that reason, one-room schoolhouses were strategically scattered throughout townships. These small schools would provide instruction to children of all ages and grades, all in a single room with a single teacher.

Even after the arrival of automobiles and improved roads, many of these one-room schools continued to serve rural communities, with some expanded to multiple rooms.

Knock School, also known as S.S. #15, was one of those schools. Located at the corner of Line 9 and Sideroad 10, in the Town of Innisfil, Knock school educated children in that part of what was then known as Innisfil Township, from 1871 until closing in 1965. The students were originally housed in a log and frame school, with the current brick school being erected in 1902.

Built with a full basement, the rectangular-shaped building came with a high-pitched gable roof and a bell
tower on top. The entranceway/cloakroom at the front has separate doors for “Boys” and “Girls,” reflecting the practice at the time. A well dug on the property supplied water to the school.

After the school closed, it was bought by the township and converted into a community centre, remaining as such to this day.

The Knock Community Centre, as it’s now known, is the only former school in Innisfil that has remained essentially unchanged, although the building now includes modern bathrooms, instead of the outhouse that was once used by students and their teacher.

The original bell and bell tower remain, as does the high ceiling, wood trim, wainscotting, hardwood flooring and external trim. Even the three blackboards remain in their original places, one at the front and the others on each side between middle and front windows.

The former school is also used by the Innisfil Historical Society, where more than 4,000 documents and old photos are stored.

A major restoration was undertaken in 2007 ensured the former school building will continue to serve Innisfil well into its third century.

Sources: TheKnockSchoolInfoSheet.pdf (innisfil.ca), Historic schoolhouse restored in Innisfil (simcoe.com).

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/former-one-room-knock-school-s-s-15-still-serving-the-community-into-its-third-century/

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