It was October 2007 and the closing date on our newly purchased property on Pelee Island had finally rolled around. Earlier that year we had scouted out cottages and vacant lots with the local realtor. We were in no real hurry to own a summer home or so we thought. In fact, our first intention was to buy a piece of land and just sit on it for a while. Luckily for us at that time there just happened to be an historic one room schoolhouse for sale that had been sitting on the market for quite some time. The owners, eager to sell, had just recently dropped their price. Upon viewing the property, we jumped at the chance to own a little bit of Pelee Island history.
Upon approaching the schoolhouse for the first time, I was immediately captivated by its sheer size and presence. Like a patriarch watching his descendants it sits rather stoically in place. In 1913 our beloved schoolhouse was built to replace a schoolhouse that had sat in its place and burned down in a fire. On that fateful day, a young girl by the name of Arvilla Thomas had the responsibility of starting up the pot belly stove before class. As the story goes, little Arvilla’s dress caught fire in the process and in imaginable distress she ran into the surrounding forest and perished as the schoolhouse continued to burn. Undaunted by this history, we made an offer on the place and within a few short weeks, it was ours.