Murrayville has a storied past, and thanks to an ambitious group of pioneers, the community is now rich with history and families.
A bell rung by hand signalled the start of class – a chime that echoed down the street.
Langley residents Jean Hope and Ellen Worrell attended Murrayville Elementary from 1935 to 1943, and their recollection of those years still holds vividly in their minds – as though the school were bustling with students only yesterday.
Like many students who came from far and wide, Ellen walked three kilometres, in all kinds of weather, to and from school each day. A long way to go for a six-year-old. Once in the classroom, 40 to 50 children sat in orderly rows, with seats attached to desks and inkwells at the ready.
It was a time when calls of “Red Rover” drifted across the playground, when anything British was right and good, and when air raid drills were a regular occurrence. On the surface, school then was very different than school today, but the laughter and the learning remain the same.
A heavy pot belly stove warmed the classroom until central heating arrived.
The Murray family fortuitously purchased land to farm in 1875, planting the seeds for the strong new community of Murrayville in Langley. As the area surrounding their farm grew, they opened the Traveller’s Hotel – a refuge for gold rush miners passing through and farmers in nearby rural towns.
To meet the demands of families settling in the area, Owen Hughes bought a plot of land in 1910 and completed a two-room schoolhouse on the property in 1911.
Two rooms weren’t enough for the thriving region, and the school was immediately sent back into construction. Once complete, Belmont Superior School had four classrooms for students from kindergarten through high school.
Within just ten years, the school was overflowing. High school students were sent to Langley High School and younger students stayed put in the renamed Murrayville Elementary School.
Four classrooms and a gymnasium were added to the school grounds.
Another growth spurt, and a new annex was built to accommodate nine classrooms.
When the school was decommissioned in 2004, it had 295 students from kindergarten to grade 7.
Reunion will honour this storied past and welcome ever more settlers to the community, with a collection of character homes in the schoolhouse and townhomes on the property.