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Past Locations 421
Past Locations

“There was one desk, I mean, they’d been here forever because my father had written…had carved his name on one. And he’d been here at school in say…1910- [19]15 or something […] and here it is [in] 1950.”

     -Janet Craig

The Buttonville Schoolhouse has had three buildings on three locations over the course of its 140 year history.  

PRE 1850s

In the 1850s, there was a wooden schoolhouse located at Brown’s Corners (Frontenac Drive and Highway 7). Miss Mary Ann Kelly describes the interior of Buttonville’s earliest school:

“The furnishings were austere indeed. The seats were backless benches, long, and so high that the children’s feet could not reach the floor. There were no desks for the smallest children, who sat on benches along the walls, close to the front. At the front was an old-fashioned teacher’s desk and at the rear a stove in which a wood fire blazed. There was a blackboard, and a few maps on the walls. Books were very scarce. School opened with prayer and then began the study of the “3 R’s” and Spelling, Geography, and Grammar. The pupils used slates and pencils for all general work, and pen and ink for special work.”


In 1872, the brick schoolhouse, currently housing the Museum & Archives, was built. James Brown was the first of many schoolteachers to teach grades 1-8 at the one-room schoolhouse. The school was in operation for 99 years!


By 1955 there were so many students that school had to be attended in shifts. Grades 1-4 would attend in the morning, while grades 6-8 would attend in the afternoon. An addition was added to solve this problem. With the formation of what would become the York Region District School Board, many of the one and two-room schools were closed, including Buttonville in 1971.

For 20 years there was no Buttonville school, students went to Unionville School instead. The old schoolhouse was then used as a maintenance facility for the Board. In the late 1980s, the schoolhouse was repurposed as a Museum & Archives, which officially opened in 1992. The schoolhouse’s interior was restored to the appearance of a 1900s schoolhouse. It still resides at this location today.


Buttonville School was moved across the property it was built on before becoming the M&A.
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