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The Old Bethany Schoolhouse

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medium_bethany.1.jpgRemnants of our past are everywhere. The same is true of our early one-room schoolhouses. Many of these unpretentious little buildings are still visible at crossroads throughout the Townships, testifying to an era when the neighbourhood schoolhouse was the place to send one's children.

The accompanying photos were taken by Jacques Desmarais, a reader in Ely township. They show what has become of the old "English schoolhouse" on Rural Route #2 (originally Chemin de la Grande Ligne) in Bethany (Béthanie).

According to Desmarais, the school was originally situated some 150 yards away. "The building was converted into a garage at least sixty years ago, after it was moved to my grandfather's property. The original foundations were visible for a long time."

medium_bethany.2.jpgAccording to Desmarais, in the late 1800s (Bethany's heyday), the village consisted of a butter factory, a post office, a general store, a blacksmith, a Baptist church and a cemetery. The cemetery is still visible.

In 1962, the village was renamed Béthanie, reflecting the fact that most of the residents were by then French-speaking.