Beverly has benefited from its many institutions and public services over its 100 year history.


Beverly PoliceBy 1913, the small settlement that had formed was in need of structure. The Village of Beverly was incorporated that year and Herbert. J. Swainson was hired as a constable. The indiscriminate firing of rifles was one of the issues that faced the council when Beverly incorporated as a town in 1914. That year, the town council hired their first police chief, Homer Stewart who served until he was replaced by Frank Walsh in October of 1916.

In the late 1940s, the force grew to three members, then doubled to six and at amalgamation there was an eight member force in Beverly.

Early on, the jail was behind the town hall and not only included the lock up for people but had a corral for the stray cows, horses and assorted other animals wandering in the area. Police and Fire were housed in the town hall. A room in the building also served as a courtroom for Emily Murphy who served as Justice of the Peace for the Town of Beverly.

From the beginning, the Beverly Fire Department was a volunteer organization. The town purchased new H. L. Beckle chemical fire engine in 1916. The fire department remained a volunteer organization with one pumper unit until amalgamation.

The first town hall was demolished and replaced by a single storey building east of the original hall. In 1937, when the province took over the administration of the town, the police and ire offices remained in the new town hall. The Mayor and Town Council were reinstated in 1949 and moved into the hall. The civic space was expanded in 1950/51 to accommodate two more cells and a separate police office.

Some who served were: Frank Walsh, Earl Floden, Tom Johnson, Norman West, Orest Shur, Alphonsus McIlhargey, R.B. McDowell and George Hanlan.


(Memories of Dale McIlhargey, son of Police Chief McIlhargey and Elmer Skrukwa, a police officer who served on the Beverly Police force until amalgamation)


The Beverly Community League split into the Beverly Heights and Beacon Heights Community Leagues in 1965. The first president of Beacon Heights was Sam Parker.

Beverly Heights retained the community grounds on 111th Avenue while Beacon Heights operated a rink and clubhouse at Jubilee Park and went shopping for a community hall. With the assistance of the Busy Housewives Society, a fund raising drive netted more than $6,500 in just one year. The new hall, the Avalon Theatre building at 4418 118th Avenue, was opened in 1971.

A new $104,000 Jubilee Park clubhouse with dressing rooms, a meeting room and kitchen was finished in 1975. That year, residents of Abbottsfield, a new development east of Beacon Heights, formed their own community league.

Two years later, Abbottsfield was left out in the cold when the City of Edmonton decided to concentrate its resources on facilities in Rundle Heights Park. The need for rejuvenation of programs at Beacon Heights led to the amalgamation of the leagues under the name Beacon Heights. Under the revised objectives of the hybrid league, emphasis was placed on family activities but there were to be recreational, cultural, social and leisure programs for all age groups.

Memories of Yvette Renauld, Hall Director
About mid to the late 70s I got railroaded into becoming Hall Director for Beacon Heights Community League. Somehow I’m sure Pat Moffitt had something to do with this.

I was responsible for setting up appointments for renters to view the hall for renting for weddings, Christmas parties, birthday parties or other occasions. If they decided to rent the hall I would get them to sign a contract and collect a damage deposit.

They would then make arrangements when to pick up the keys and pay the rental fees. Some would want the use of the kitchen. The renters were responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Usually I would meet the renters the next day to check the condition of the hall in order to reimburse the damage deposit. A few times the damage deposit did not cover the cost of the damages.

Later we had Dennis Hanson to do the catering for functions in the hall. After 3 years I had to give up my career as Hall Director as I started a full time job and couldn’t handle both.

Footnote Beacon Heights Community League appreciated your help in your hall career. I know I made a lasting friend and we had a lot of good times and many laughs.
Pat Moffitt

In 1972 ladies hockey was started in Edmonton and surrounding areas. One team was sponsored by GWG Garments. Many players came from the Beacon Heights Community. Rhonda Walberg, Bev Saprunoff, Leona Glubish, Pat Moffitt, Shelley Chaykowski, Barb Kolada, Jacquie Zadunaski and Elaine Bridge. The other team was the Edmonton Chimos.

These teams were the start of Women’s hockey in the city. The GWG Geebees played and practiced in the Edmonton Gardens. In a few years more teams were formed and a league developed. It was a lot of fun playing hockey especially in tournaments. Women’s hockey grew across Alberta and Canada and went on to be an Olympic sport. One year the GeeBees went to a tournament at a place near Toronto. Rick Bodnar from Beacon Heights coached the team for a couple of years.


beverly-beverly-heights-signOut of a desire to develop a playground and organize fund raisers for the Beverly boys softball team, the first meeting of the Beverly Community League was held in 1949 at the Beverly United Church. R.A. Wright was elected president. But it proved difficult to persuade townsfolk to participate. In desperation, the 1953 executive postponed all programs indefinitely, hoping their action would awaken in the community a sense of urgency. It didn’t work.

Five years later, the Beverly Home and School Association revitalized the community league and a 1958 communique in the Beverly Page proclaimed in bold type: “WANTED – 1000 FAMILIES”.

Residents were urged to “Invest One Five-spot for 12 Months of Entertainment.” The campaign was successful and the following year the Beverly Community League and the Lions and Optimists Clubs joined to build a rink and rink house at Floden Park.

Buoyed by the response, a campaign was launched to raise funds for a recreation complex. With a boost from a recreation grant from the provincial government, construction on the Beverly Recreation Centre at 40th Street south of 111th Avenue commenced in 1961. The centre officially opened in November 1962 – just ten months after Beverly amalgamated with Edmonton. When that happened, the facility passed into the city’s ownership.

It wasn’t until September 1978 that the building was purchased back from the city by the Beverly Heights Community League. The price tag was $195,000. In 1960, the Beverly Community League became the Beverly Community Recreation League and in 1965 it was renamed the Beverly Heights Community League. By the end of the 1960s, it was the largest community league by membership in the city.

With the high demand for facilities, the community league proposed to build an addition to its hall but opposition from nearby residents scuttled the plan and so the recreation centre was purchased instead.


Located at 12045 34 Street, Abbott School was officially opened October 26th, 1960 and is named for long time Beverly custodian, Abraham Abbott.

Abbott School“Abbott School opened in style” read the headline in the Beverly Page as the Edmonton areas only school named for a custodian was officially unveiled. More than 300 residents crowded the auditorium to hear Percy Lawton, Superintendent of Beverly Schools, pay tribute to Abraham Abbott, who came to Beverly in 1912, served in the First World War and then became caretaker of Beverly Central School in 1922. It was a post he held until his retirement in 1959 – a remarkable 37 year record of service.

“During these 36 years, Mr, Abbott has been a faithful servant of the schools and a true friend of the children,” Lawton told the gathering. “When I took the schools from Mr. Thomas long ago, I was told, in Mr. Abbott, you have a jewel of a man. He is the most honest and responsible individual I ever met. I have known him for 36 years and no truer words were said of anyone.”

Lawton concluded his remarks by observing that, “Mr. Abbott didn’t gamble, drink, nor smoke with the result that he always had some money… to give away at the most crucial moment.”

The school named in Abbott’s honour was built on land east of 34th Street and north of 120th Avenue, purchased from the Konopacki family in 1959 for $33,000. Designed by J. Gardiner of Patrick Campbell Hope and Associates, construction commenced in December 1959 under the supervision of Whitham and Company contractors. The school was completed in August 1960 and readied for the start of the school year. The official opening was October 26, 1960.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located at 4610 121 Avenue, the school officially opened November 13th, 1953. It was named for the district of Beacon Heights.

Overwhelmed by the hundreds of new students pouring into the district every year in the early 1950s, the school board passed Bylaw No. 5 on March 14th , 1952, which authorized borrowing $306,372 for new school site and erection of a new building. The money was used to build the six classroom Beacon Heights School, which was officially opened Friday, November 13th, 1953.

More than 300 people turned out for the opening ceremonies, where supervising principal PB. Lawton called the school the first step towards a new system of schools for the town. “When the Beverly Heights school, south of 118th Avenue on 47th Street is completed, the children in the lower grades will not have to cross the busy 118th Avenue on their way to school,” he said.

Enrolment at the new Beacon Heights School was 240 – more than a third of the Lotal of 625 children in the four Beverly schools. The opening of Beacon Heights brought the number of classrooms in the district to 18 – equal to Beverly’s number of instructors. But perhaps the most welcome feature of the new facility was its water and sewer installations – which were a first for a Beverly school. Running water was made possible when the City of Edmonton permitted connections to city mains three-and-a-half blocks from the school.

Designed by Patrick Campbell-Hope and Associates, the building was put together by R. Vollan Construction. Its total cost was $126,000 – $4,000 under budget. A story in the November 14th, 1953 edition of the Edmonton Journal reported that the six rooms with 11 foot ceilings “are well lighted with large windows and semi-indirect lights, modern desks, specially treated green blackboards and the floors are covered with linoleum in a variety of soothing colors.” A well-equipped library and 70 foot long playroom rounded out the school facilities, The first principal was William Nekolaichuk.

A five-classroom addition and gymnasium was added in 1960. The $102,450 expansion was built by Platten Bros. Construction. A 1967 assessment by the Edmonton Public School Board found the school to be in poor physical condition – a quick 14 year deterioration. In a May 16, 1967 story in the Edmonton Journal, Principal John Sywolos noted that two-storey frame schools like Beacon Heights were often built quickly in the early 1950s and Beverly, feeling the crunch brought on by spiraling student numbers, did the “best they could, dollar for dollar”.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located at 117th Avenue and 38th Street. Opened 1913, demolished 1955

Beverly Central SchoolOne of the first orders of business of the new Board was the construction of a school. Duke MacRolling, a local builder, was commissioned to draw plans for a four-room schoolhouse. MacRolling also served as building commissioner for the school, which was constructed in about three months and opened in September 1913. The Beverly Central School quickly became the most well known and used gathering place in the fledgling community.

The two-storey building, with four classrooms, was wood framed and faced with brick, There was no electricity and heat was provided by a coal and wood fired boiler system in the basement that sometimes couldn’t cope with the bitterly cold winters. City water was delivered by water truck and pumped into a cistern in the basement for the school’s water supply. This tiny schoolhouse, out in the middle of a windswept field southeast of the modem day Drake Hotel, was a place of learning for thousands of local children from Grade One through Grade Eight over the next 40 years. Beverly students went to Highlands Junior High for Grade Nine and their choice of Eastwood or Victoria Composite High for Grades 10 through 12.

Stories of life at Beverly Central are legendary, because there was no electricity, school ended earlier during the winter months. If it was a windy winter day, the boiler could not keep up and if the school got too cold, students were sent home early. By September 1950, the old school house was literally tumbling down. The brick veneer on the exterior began crumbling, forcing a four-day holiday for the school’s 136 pupils, Engineers of the department of public works found what the Edmonton Bulletin called the “tumbledown old schoolhouse” unsafe when they tested the structure September 16th and pushed a section of brick veneer from the exterior wall out into the school yard.

The rest of the brick veneer was peeled off and, in its place, four by eight steel sheets of black ten-test cladding became the facade. That’s how the venerable structure, in its last years of life, came to be known as the “Old Black School.” Its 40-year life at an end, the school was demolished in 1955 by Adby Construction. The schoolyard of R.J. Scott Elementary now occupies part of the original site. Ironically, title searches conducted by the school district in 1955 revealed that much of the land of the Beverly Central School site had not been registered in the name of the Beverly School District back at its beginnings but had remained in the name of the previous owner.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located at 47th Street and 115th Avenue. Opened January 28th, 1955 and named for the district of Beverly Heights.

Using the design from Beacon Heights School, the Beverly School District authorized the construction of Beverly Heights School in 1954. The opening of the school in early 1955 at long last took the load off of the Beverly Central School – now on the verge of demolition – and had been carrying the load for more than 40 years. With Percy Benjamin Lawton as chairman and a dedication from Hon. A. Aalborg, Minister of Education, Beverly Heights School was officially opened January 28th, 1955. It was the first time the provincial Minister of Education had proclaimed a Beverly school open and the significance of the event was noted by Mayor Charles Floden.

Constructed for $125,000, the eight-classroom school was quickly filled as young families poured into Beverly. But, as the children aged and fewer new families moved into the district in the late 1960s, enrolment began to decline. The school’s lack of gymnasium and library proved to be detrimental in the eyes of the Edmonton Public School Board and by 1971 the Board was proposing to close the school and shift students to nearby R.J. Scott and Mount Royal schools, Opposition from parents and community groups managed to stall that plan for a time, but by September 1980, enrolment had tumbled to fewer than 50 students and only two of the school’s eight classrooms were in use and the inevitable followed. A decision was made to close the school.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located at 36 Street and 117 Avenue and opened in 1955

East Edmonton Christian SchoolIt was 1945 when a group of Christian parents formed a society with the aim of establishing Christian Day Schools where their children could be educated in accordance with their beliefs and convictions. Under the leadership of Rev, P De Koekkoek, pastor of the First Christian Reformed Church, the Edmonton Society for Christian Education was founded.

In the autumn of 1949 the Calvin Central Christian School began classes in the basement of the First Christian Reformed Church in Norwood. Initial enrolment was 21 pupils. Property was soon acquired at 102nd Street and 110th Avenue and, through donations of money and labour, a new school was built and opened in September 1951 Enrolment topped 80 students.

Each successive year brought with it an increase in enrolment and, by the autumn of 1954, the maximum of 134 students had been reached and Faith Lutheran School, applications were being rejected. The young society purchased property at 36th Street and 115th Avenue and in the spring of 1955 a five-room facility, Calvin Christian School-East was constructed. It opened its doors in September and the enrolment of both schools reached 240 pupils.

While Canadian schools did little to mark the proclamation of the controversial new Canadian flag on February’ 15, 1965, the Calvin Christian School held a ceremony which featured the lowering of the Red Ensign by grade six student Nick Spronk and the raising of the new Canadian maple leaf flag.

Principal Peter S. Uitvlugt read the proclamation and led an assembly of students around O Canada, the new national anthem. Parents and friends also joined in the ceremony, which was the only one held in the area The school building was sold in February 1998 to the Faith Lutheran School and April 1st, 1998 became the Lutheran School Society.


North of 121st Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets. Opened December 1915 and closed June 1918. It was named for Colonel Farquhar of the Princess Patricia Renteria, who died in action during the early days of WWI.

Farquhar SchoolWhen the Beverly School District decided to build a second school, trustees selected a location that had been considered but rejected for the first school because the site was too far north and too wet. They hired Ernest W. Morehouse to design a school that, as renderings show, featured some of the renowned architects classic Georgian Revival flourish. Morehouse, who was one of the best known architects in the formative years of The Highlands neighbourhood, also drew the plans for the mansions of Magrath and Holgpte, the Ash Residence and the Highlands Methodist Church as well as many commercial blocks.

Trustees considered naming the new school after postmaster Thomas Dando but settled on Colonel Farquhar, who died in action during the early days of the First World War. The high water table created problems right from the beginning for contractor H. Valk and his construction crew. Even before the school was officially opened with a concert and dance Monday, December 20th, 1915, water was entering the basement through holes in the foundation walls. Plaster was falling from the walls and ceilings and window ledges were coming apart.

At the school boards meeting of August 8th, 1916, a motion was passed which authorized caretaker John Abbott to “secure such help as is needed to perform the work of draining the basement and cleaning out and widening the ditch of the Col. Farquhar School.” The work didn’t solve the problem and, as water continued to play havoc with the foundation, the bills for repair work kept mounting.

Faced with cash flow problems, the trustees voted to close the school in June 1918. It sat empty for several years and repeated attempts to sell it were unsuccessful. Finally in 1928, the building was sold as salvage for a paltry $1,300. The total loss to ratepayers was more than $25,000.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located between 118th and 117th Avenue and 33th Street and 40th Street. Opened May 1st, 1950 and named after the old school on the site.

Named for its design configuration, which resembled a capital “H,” this six-room school house was built to help alleviate overcrowding and to eventually replace the Beverly Central School. At its official opening on May 1st, 1950, the $60,000 school was touted as the first school in Western Canada to use all steel plating for exterior walls and roofing. The new facility soon came to be nicknamed “the tin school”. Designed by Fred H. MacDonald, the school was financed through the issue of $140,000 worth of debentures.

A modern school with a water system, indoor plumbing, drinking fountains and flush toilets (but no hookup to municipal water) it created a stir in the community. Many of the young students, who didn’t have indoor plumbing at home, needed to learn how to use the toilets. Nearly 500 people turned out for the official opening – citizens, school children, government and school officials from local jurisdictions and from distant Rocky Mountain House, Lacombe, Red Deer and Olds school divisions. The ribbon signifying the official opening was cut by Ivan Casey, Minister of Education.

The school, with its six classrooms, library, playroom and teachers’ offices was built to accommodate 310 students. But R.J. Sheppard, superintendent of Edmonton Public Schools, prophesied correctly when he told the gathering that the new facility likely wouldn’t be big enough, “I have no doubt that almost before the building is completed and occupied, you will wish that it had been built larger,” he told the audience. Quoting recent vital statistics on school populations Mr. Sheppard said that “by 1953 there will be an increase of 600,000 children in elementary grades within Canada,” a one-third increase to what were, in 1950, record enrollments.

Like Colonel Farquhar School so many years earlier, the new H Central School experienced that sinking feeling from bad soil conditions and it was demolished sometime after 1962.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located at 11602 50th Street. Officially opened October 18th, 1957. Named for long time principal and school superintendent, Percy Benjamin Lawton.

Lawton SchoolThe eight-classroom Lawton Junior High, a facility called “modem concrete and veneer” brought Grade Nine instruction to Beverly for the first time in its history. It was also designed by Patrick Campbell-Hope and Associates, the school district’s favourite architectural firm of the 1950s. The facility featured a science lab, gymnasium, home economics, manual training (industrial arts) and typing room – features not previously combined under one roof in a Beverly school.

The school greatly helped alleviate overcrowding, which had reached serious levels in 1956. But as more families poured into “booming Beverly”, the need continued to escalate and just three years after it opened, a nine-classroom addition, built by Walters Construction Limited, was completed at Lawton.

Ironically, it was Beverly’s amalgamation with Edmonton that cost the town any chance of getting a high school. If citizens had voted against amalgamation, there are indications that plans to build a new high school would have proceeded to the design stage.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located at 11610 38 Street. Officially opened March 24th, 1959. Named for inspector, teacher and trustee for Beverly Schools.

JR Scott SchoolThe 10-room R.J. Scott School, also designed by Patrick Campbell-Hope and Associates, was constructed in 1958 at a cost of $166,800. It was erected by Poole Construction and officially opened March 24th, 1959.

The school was named for R.J. Scott, inspector, teacher and trustee for Beverly schools. Scott began his teaching career in Ontario in 1908 and moved to Alberta in 1912 where he was principal of an Edmonton school. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929 and that year was appointed inspector.

Scott first worked in Beverly in 1939 when he was inspector of the Sturgeon School Division, which at the time included Beverly schools. He retired as a provincial school inspector in 1955 and was appointed official trustee of Beverly schools acting in place of the school board.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located at 11005 34th Street. Officially opened December 9th, 1966. Named after the Reverend Robert T. Rundle, Methodist missionary.

Rundle Heights ElementaryStudents who attended the 12-room Rundle Heights School in its opening year were given the first opportunity to study and learn from the diary of Robert Rundle, the Wesleyan Missionary who, preaching as he worked his way west in 1840, arrived in Edmonton that autumn.

He was the first resident missionary of any church in the area and was one of the first white men to speak out against the liquor trade, which was being used to sway First Nations peoples. During the week of the opening ceremonies. Principal D.C. Willows expressed the hope that his students would learn from Rundle the value of doing a job well, valuing certain principles and living by them. An addition and modifications to the school were completed in 1972.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located at 11917 40 Street. Officially opened March 25th, 1957.

St. BernadetteAcclaimed for its hexagonal shape and individual heating in each of its 10- classrooms, the opening of St. Bernadette School generated great excitement in the community. At the official ceremony, W.E. Frame, the chief superintendent of schools for the provincial department of education, presented the keys to the school’s first principal, Mrs. E. McNamee.

The Board hoped to have the school ready for September 1956, but the construction timeline was just too tight and classes didn’t begin until March 1957. In the meantime, the 140 grade one to nine students were taught at the Slovak National Hall on 118th Avenue at 46th Street.

“That building was so old that the squeaky floors were distracting the students and teachers alike,” Charuk recalls. “And so classes were moved to the temporary St. Mary’s Church and that was the beginning of the true classroom concept.”

Based on schools at Taber and Grande Prairie, Alberta, the design for St. Bernadette’s featured a round floor plan with five-sided rooms for maximum light penetration, minimum hall space and no need for a basement. It was known as a Maxim-Lite school and was the brainchild of the Lethbridge architectural firm Fookes and Milne. Contractors were Southern Alberta Construction of Lethbridge, the company which also erected the Taber school.

Built on a thrifty budget of $193,000 plus land costs, there wasn’t enough money for adornments like a fancy sign and so, when a contractor wanted $25 a letter to make the sign in metal, long time Beverly resident Fred Nash came to the rescue, picking out plywood scraps from the construction site. He cut the letters with a fretsaw, sawed a broom handle into one-inch lengths for mounting studs and crafted the school’s sign, which adorned the front entrance for many years.

Excerpt from “Built on Coal” by Lawrence Herzog


Located at 3643 115 Avenue, officially opened December 4th, 1960.

St NicholasCompared with the Beverly Roman Catholic School Divisions round St. Bernadette School, St. Nicholas School was a more conventional rectangular design, but it was still noteworthy.

It was designed by the teachers, with an entrance planned for accessibility and the noisy areas like the gym and the industrial arts shop physically separated from where quiet was needed.

Construction on the $357,222 building began in October 1959 and was completed in August 1960. The school featured 12-classrooms, home economics room, workshop, science room, library, typing room, medical room and gymnasium. Enrolment the year it opened was 200 students.

When St. Nicholas added Grade 12 to become at last a full fledged High School and offered classes in all 12 grades, the hopes of pioneering priest Father Peel had been realized. The last wish of the Beverly Roman Catholic School Division, when it turned over its assets to Edmonton for amalgamation in 1962, was that the high school would continue. It didn’t, and, to this day, Beverly students must leave the district for grades 10, 11 and 12. However, now students don’t have to pay the $100 to $200 annual non-resident fee as they did until amalgamation.

The Roman Catholic School Division later opened two more elementary schools – St, Jerome at 3310 107th Avenue and St. Sophia at 3010 119th Avenue. St. Sophia was later sold and converted to use as the Abbottsfield Recreation Centre.