This photo was found at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick among the collection of the Ridge View Seniors Group. The hand written notation at the bottom gives the date as 1887. Now digitally restored, it is currently the oldest known photograph of the Keswick Ridge Superior School.
The book On The Ridge by Evelyn Gordon and Harry Grant gives the following details:
"The new Keswick Ridge Superior School of two departments was built about a half-mile above McKeen's Corner. It was a proud moment for the people of the Ridge when it opened in 1885 under the principalship of a Mr. Fairley. A license of either superior or Grammar School level was required for the principal. Among those who laboured unceasingly to establish this school were Dr. B. Coburn, Messrs. James, Thomas, Robert, and Nathaniel Jewett, and Mr. Fred Long, who donated the land on which the school was built.
In about six months the new building burned. Although burdened by what was then a large debt the determined people would settle for nothing less than a new school-house which they built and opened in 1887."
The reorganized school district of Keswick Ridge was formed in the early 1880's through consolidation of the three smaller districts McKeen's Corner, Macnaquac and Keswick Ridge. This union gave the new district sufficient student population that it could apply for superior School license. In order to establish a Superior School, the district had to meet certain criteria:
Graduates from the advanced department were eligible to enter university or college with same qualifications as any student from the city schools of the province. As a result of its Superior School status, the school at Keswick Ridge was one of the first rural schools in the province to provide advanced educational training to its students.
The Keswick Ridge Superior School was built on a parcel of donated land on the Keswick Ridge Road, centrally located between Keswick Ridge and McKeen's Corner. Six months after it opened, it was destroyed by fire but the residents quickly put their losses behind them and reconstructed another school on the same site. On several occasions the school was at risk of losing its Superior School Grant due to it's small student population. However it managed to retain its charter as a Superior School until a new high school was built in 1952. From 1952 until its closure in 1969, the building served as an elementary school and thereafter was used briefly by a kindergarten class and a local Boy Scout Troop. The building then stood vacant for several decades.
The Keswick Ridge Superior School has had a long and distinguished history as the center of education for Keswick Ridge, Mactaquac and McKeen's Corner. Some of New Brunswick's finest educators have trained local students here over the years and in turn its graduates have gone on to become valuable contributing members, not only of this community but far beyond its borders."
See more photographs of the school, past students and teachers [here].