Calgary’s rapid population growth at the turn of the last century caused the Public School Board to build 19 sandstone schools between the years 1894 and 1914. Stanley Jones School, originally called Bridgeland School, started construction in 1912 and was completed in 1913. Locally quarried “Paskapoo” sandstone composed the walls of the school and the roof was constructed of slate imported from Wales.
The land for Bridgeland School (Stanley Jones) was purchased by the Public School Board from the Canadian Pacific Railway for $24,000 with a down payment of $200. It cost $164,000 to construct the three-story, 15 room school. Despite the large number of schools built in the early 1900’s it was heralded as the most impressive of all sandstone constructs, boasting a “flurry or pediments, plasters, festoons and other ostentatious classical trim”. Designed by William A. Branton, Bridgeland stood out as a palace of education amid its bald prairie surroundings.
Stanley Livingstone Jones was born in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and educated at Acadia College before beginning his career as a school teacher in Manitoba. Around 1901, Jones re-located to Calgary, was admitted to the bar and began practicing law. He married Alice B Todd, of Walkerton, Ontario in 1904. The couple had been described as mountaineers; Mrs. Jones being one of the first female mountain climbers in Canada. Stanley Jones had always been an enthusiast of the war and a devout patriot of the British Empire. Stanley Jones left his law practice to participate, first in the Boer War (1899-1902) and in the Balkan conflict (1912-1913). In the latter conflict he also served as an observer and correspondent to the Canadian Press.
Stanley was a visible figure in Calgary, involved in many civic affairs and is responsible for the African War Memorial statue which stands in Central Memorial Park today. Stanley Jones was also one of the first (indeed, often rumoured to the first) Canadians to enlist in World War I. His correspondence with his wife was frequently published in the Albertan. News of Major Stanley Jones’ death was published in both the Herald and the Albertan on July 4 and 5, 1916, respectively. He had died of his wounds on June 8th after being taken prisoner by German troops, eight days before what would have been his 39th birthday.
On September 5, 1916, following the death of Major Stanley Jones, Bridgeland School was renamed Stanley Jones School.
2013 marks the 100th Anniversary of this iconic sandstone building. The weekend of October 4, 5, and 6th 2013 celebrates this event. Everyone is invited to take part, even if you have never attended the school. Please visit www.sj100.myevent.com for more information.