Dr. Andrew Henderson, Powell River’s first doctor, was prominent in starting the first school in Powell River. In 1910, Dr. Henderson, Mrs. A. M. Oliver and J. P. Keyes formed a committee and made arrangements for the use of the pool hall for schooling. Later that same year, construction of a one room school began. The school opened in 1911 with 13 pupils enrolled and by June, there were 25 pupils. Later this location became the home of St. Paul’s Anglican Church located at 6310 Sycamore Street.
Soon the school had two pupils in every seat and a bench for extra children at the back of the room. The single teacher became hard pressed to handle the eight grade levels. Temporarily, an old bunkhouse became a second classroom until a new school was built: Henderson School.
Henderson School once stood at the current location of Henderson Park on Poplar Street in the Townsite. It was named after Dr. Andrew Henderson who was on the School Board for many years and worked hard to start a school in the Townsite. Construction for this four-room school began in 1913 and was completed in 1914. The school was not only attended by Townsite children but as well as Wildwood and Cranberry kids. Altogether it hosted 183 elementary children, after which older children would have to take entrance exams for High School education in Vancouver.
In 1919, the Elementary School was raised to a Superior School status, which meant that the first year of High School as well as an entrance class were added. Two years later in 1921, Henderson School then became a regular High School and an addition was added to the building to make more room. In 1922, another addition was added to make Henderson School a standard eight-room school.
In January 1925, a total of 300 students attended Henderson School. The enrollment numbers kept increasing, especially after the Second World War with post-war baby boomers. Plans were thus developed for a new Henderson School on Willow Avenue. When the construction of this new school was completed in 1957, the old school on Poplar Street was torn down and grass was added to create a sports park for children.
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