When the Free School Act was passed in 1865, schools in Nova Scotia became open to all children. As a result, hundreds of one-room schools opened in Hants and Kings Counties in the following decades.

Jumping forward to the early 1950s, when school districts were consolidated, many of those community one-roomers became obsolete. More than a hundred one-room schools were affected, for example, by Central Kings opening in Cambridge in 1952. Kings County had 112 school sections at the time and some, such as section number 78 in Aldershot, held two or more one-roomers.

Many of the one-room schools affected by consolidation became obsolete and were sold to private interests, were torn down or became functional as community halls. Typical of what happened to some of the single-room schools is the amazing fate of the Meadowview building in section 78. This section comprised Aldershot, Meadowview and the area that generally has been known as the Pine Woods.

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The Masonic Lodge #58 of Kentville celebrated its 150th anniversary last year and a historically appropriate collaboration, one involving the old railway, took place.

First of all, the Lodge has some solid railway connections. The Lodge was organized in 1869, the year the Windsor & Annapolis Railway, while incomplete, was officially opened with a celebration in Kentville. But there’s more.

Behind the drive to complete the line was one Thomas Timmis Vernon Smith, later simply Vernon Smith, who is appropriately recognized as a railway pioneer. What is little known, however, is that Smith, the driving force behind the railway’s completion through the Annapolis Valley, was also a Master Mason.

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