No more pencils, no more books.

While most schools are buzzing with kids this time of year, this particular educational institution sits, silent, on a hilltop in Cambridge, Ontario.

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Dickson Public School closed in 2014 due to its age and a dwindling student population. It had served the community for nearly 140 years.

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The building is beautiful, constructed of local cut limestone in a simple but pleasing design. It’s situated on the west side of the Grand River, a focal point in a neighbourhood of historic homes and architecture.

Apologies for the harsh shadows in these photos. The weather was definitely agreeable for a visit, but I wasn’t able to capture the front of the building without some interference from the sun.

I’d been hoping for some grand front doors to go along with the rest of the design. The arched front porch is lovely, but the bland, industrial entrance was a bit of a disappointment.

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The building has been empty for three years, but fortunately there are plans to redevelop the site into modern office space, along with the addition of a new 10-unit townhouse complex on the property. The developer intends to preserve both the exterior of the school and many of the unique and historic interior features.

I get a little dreamy when I wander around old buildings, wondering about times gone by. The generations of schoolkids who once roamed these empty halls, their laughter echoing over this deserted playground. Sadly, round the back, there are reminders of some of the harsh realities of today.

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Time will tell what changes are to come.

If you’d like to look at more interesting entryways, be sure to visit Norm 2.0 for his weekly feature, Thursday Doors.

Back in time.

For Norm’s Thursday Doors this week, I wanted to share a photo of a humble but hardy local building.


This lovely little log structure, the first schoolhouse in Waterloo, Ontario, is nearly 200 years old. Built by Pennsylvania German Mennonite settlers in 1820, its function as a school was short-lived – it served the community for 22 years before being declared too small for the growing population.


c. 1900. Photo from Waterloo Public Library.

It was sold, relocated to Kitchener, and utilized as a residence. From 1891 to 1894, the building sat vacant. The Waterloo Park Board purchased the structure and moved it once again, to its current location in Waterloo Park. The schoolhouse has been beautifully restored and it was formally designated as a Heritage Property in 2012.

I wonder if those who laid the logs of this building knew it would last. I wonder if they’d ever have guessed that that we’d be analyzing their materials and techniques to try and define, and understand, and preserve a culture and a lifestyle that are now obsolete.

Can’t help but wonder what future generations will make of us.


For the history buffs, click here and here and here for more about this building.