From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Center:
Schumacher Public School has recently celebrated its 100th birthday, but it’s more than just a school with many stories to tell. Before the gold rush, the land was Treaty 9 territory which is the traditional territory of the Ojibway people of Mattagami First Nation.
When families started to arrive once the gold was found, a place of education was needed in Schumacher. The school started as a small schoolroom in the Methodist Church. Once they outgrew this room by 1917, the now Schumacher Public School began construction. The current school building still houses original items and turn-of-the-century features like the hardwood floors.
Other than being a school, this building had another important job. At the end of the First World War, the Spanish flu broke out worldwide. The Porcupine Advance published a public health warning October 9, 1918 saying the flu was coming and it did. Almost overnight, there were at least 200 cases and within 10 days 37 people were dead.
Schools, churches, and other public places were converted into hospitals to take care of the sick. The newly built Schumacher Public School was one those selected places. In its first two years, it acted as a hospital rather than a school.
By late December 1918, weekly death tolls were declining. Occasional deaths continued through spring and summer of 1919 but the school was finally able to open in 1919.
Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.