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Heritage Statement | email us

This site was dedicated to saving Vineland's original one room schoolhouse from demolition.

Vineland Public School 1895 - 2015

After 120 years of continuous use as a classroom, Vineland's schoolhouse was demolished on 21 July 2015 in 30 minutes by the District School Board of Niagara.

The schoolhouse more than satisfied every criterion for designation as a Municipal and Provincial Heritage Site under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Over 1,800 paper petitioners, 1,400 Facebook supporters, 600 signatories at, and 50 passionate letter-writers supported the efforts by Friends of Vineland Public School 1895 to save this key piece of Lincoln's built heritage.

But the District School Board of Niagara refused to change its plans to replace the schoolhouse with three parking spots.

Successive Lincoln Mayors and Town Councils (2010-14, 2015-19) failed to exercise any leadership to save this landmark.

In the end, the Town aided the DSBN in fighting legal efforts to prevent the schoolhouse's destruction.

The Ontario Minister and Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport stood aside and did nothing.

The heritage designation process in Lincoln and Ontario is broken.

We are grateful for the wide support our efforts to save Vineland's last public heritage building received from across our community.

Heritage Statement submitted by the Lincoln Heritage Committee to the Town of Lincoln in January 2014.

Vineland Public School was built in 1895 as a one room red brick school. It is located at 4057 Victoria Avenue in Vineland in the Town of Lincoln, Lot 23, Concession III. The school has expanded over the years and is still in use.

Historical Value:

The first classes held on the property were in 1798. In 1801, a log building was constructed which served as a church and school. Mr. Samuel Moyer was the first school master. In 1847, following provincial guidelines, the first elected trustees were Mr. John Rittenhouse, Mr. Abram Kratz and Mr. W.T. Moyer.

The one room red brick school with basement was built in 1895 for $1,600. One acre of land was purchased from J.M. Houser for $250. R.J. Hager was contracted for the masonry work, and J.H. Beatty for the carpentry work. The first teacher in the new building was Frank Moffat who was hired in 1895 at a salary of $45 per year. Mr. Moffat held the position at the same rate for four years. In 1895, the trustees began the practise of hiring teachers during the summer holidays.

Among the interesting items of business discussed at the annual meeting of 1897 is a motion that no cows be allowed to pasture on the school grounds, and that entertainment should be staged to help pay for the newly acquired school bell. The question of a furnace for the school was brought up in October 1906. In March 1908, additional property was purchased at $500 from Mr. Houser to be used as a school garden.

Vineland's 1895 red brick school house is representative of public education reform in the Province of Ontario. It is an example of the late 19th century campaign to improve Ontario's system of public education through the construction of better buildings. In the 1880s, the Department of Education surveyed rural schools and found them to be cramped, poorly lit, and lacking in ventilation and sanitary facilities. In 1886, a set of guidelines for the construction of schools was released which addressed these issues as well as architectural style and landscaping to better reflect the significance of education in the community. Although local officials were often reluctant to raise the taxes necessary to finance such expensive departmental initiatives, some forward-looking communities, like Vineland, sponsored the construction of architecturally sound schools, which showcased their local pride and commitment to progress though education. Pride in the community and its farming heritage was also reflected in the school's gardens. The school's gardens were showcased in the Report of the Minister of Education, Ontario in 1909.

Architectural Value:

The Vineland Public School is a good example of rural school architecture resulting from the provincial standards for appropriate rural school design in the 19th century. The Vineland Public School is a one room red brick schoolhouse constructed of 'Beamsville brick'. From 'The School House: Its Architecture' published in 1876 by the Ministry of Education, the Vineland Public School represents the best qualities of designs 13 and 14, which can be described as 'plain but neat...the roof has the plain wide, projecting cornice and eaves which protect the wall of the building and at the same time give it an appearance of comfort and solidity.

Environmental Value:

The Vineland Public School is located on Victoria Avenue which marks the boundary between the Louth and Clinton Townships. The circular medallion at the top of the front facade recognizes both Townships and is symbolic of the community's unity. The school is a focal point on Victoria Avenue and for the community, and is the last marker of an earlier community.