Episode 11: About Ritchie

Sam records while Morgana, Chris, and Robert Geldart talk in the field outside Ritchie School.
Curious Edmontonian Morgana Folkmann (second from left) had some big questions about Ritchie School.

Ritchie is a beloved older neighbourhood near Mill Creek Ravine. In this episode, we gathered residents’ questions about a school, a meatpacking plant, and some trees in the area. And then we took a walk to find out the answers together.

spoilers below

 

Our crowd sprawled out on the grass.

As we travelled throughout the neighbourhood, we were helped along the way by both experts from the City and residents in our troupe of neighbourhood explorers.

Our first question was from Morgana Folkmann. Morgana was concerned about the old Ritchie School, built in 1913. The current owner – Conseil scholaire Centre-Nord – is planning to demolish the building and build a new school on the site.

This is not the first time the school has been under threat of destruction. It’s been plagued with infrastructure problems due to being built on a slough. Kids attending Ritchie in 1963 had fun with the idea of their sinking school. The illustrations below are from a book they created to mark the school’s 50th anniversary: The History of Ritchie.

Senior Heritage Planner Robert Geldart tagged along to talk about the ways the City has tried to encourage the school board to preserve Ritchie School.

The Gainers meatpacking plant was our next stop. Carol Columberg asked us if anyone else remembered the time the cattle escaped from the plant.

Carol also asked us the third question, about trees in the neighbourhood and when the street trees on 75 Ave. and 93 St. were planted.

In the background, you can see the tall trees that Carol was curious about.

While the exact details of planting were difficult to track down we did find out about the history of tree planting in Edmonton neighbourhoods and some of the more popular trees.

This Edmonton Journal photo from 1969 shows the infamous fire left animals fleeing the plant.

All of the photographs above from the walk were taken by Matt Hundert. Thanks to the Ritchie Community League for sponsoring this event.

Further reading:

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