Have you heard of the Alice Brown Elementary School in Langley? Read on to learn the interesting history of Alice Brown and her connection to the Christians that met at the Langley Gospel Hall! Did you know she at one time rode a horse to school every day?
Alice Mary Brown was born in North Dakota on May 11, 1906. Her parents were William and Kathleen (Katie) Brown. They met and were married in 1903 in North Dakota. The Brown family moved for a time to Asquith, Saskatchewan, and then about 1911 they move to Langley Prairie, B.C. They settled on a 30 acre farm that was located at the south-east corner of Fraser Highway and 200th Street.
William and Katie were both born-again Christians and had a reputation for practicing what they preached. They soon began a Sunday School in their home for children in the community. When several visiting preachers had a series of evangelistic meetings this led to the formation of a church which met in the Brown home from 1912-1931. In 1931 when the church decided to build a meeting hall it was located on their property directly next door! You can read up on the history of the building of this hall here.
Meanwhile, Alice attended Glencoe Elementary School which was located on the south-east corner of 50th Avenue and 200th Street. In 1913, she attended Langley Prairie Elementary School. All her schooling was completed in Langley. Alice made the career choice to become a teacher and this career path led to a number of administrative roles in the Langley School District:
- 1924 Began teaching at Belmont School at age 18
- 1928 Assigned Principal at Milner School
- 1934 Assigned Principal at Otter School
- 1943-1961 Assigned Principal at Langley Prairie School
- 1961-1971 Taught Grade 7 at Langley Central Elementary School
- 1969-1971 Librarian for the Langley Region
Alice Brown retired in 1971 and passed away on October 24, 1975 at the age of 69. In 1977 a new school in Langley was constructed and official opened November 18, 1977. It was named in her honor, the Alice Brown Elementary School.
We honor the memory of Alice Brown. Alice had a moment of personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and became a “born again” Christian. She drew strength from her faith in God and lived out an impactful life in the community.
Below are further recollections of Alice that are very interesting!
Al Malcomson, a retired RCMP officer, recounts his childhood memory’s of Alice Brown below.
“I had the privilege of knowing Alice when I was a small boy (1956). She attended our church at Langley Gospel Hall and this place was directly next door to her mom and dad’s place. I think the Burger King is on the site of the former church building. We loved her as a person and she was especially appealing to us kids. It is little wonder that she was such a successful teacher in her day. Alice never married and she lived out in Murrayville on the Old Yale Rd. just before Johnston Townline. We loved her cars. She always got a top of the line vehicle and she had an Olds in ’56 with an automatic transmission. This was in the days when the standard column shift ruled. I remember one evening service we came out of the church and discovered that her old home next door had been torched as part of a demolition on the property. It was an old white clapboard two storey affair and it was quite hard for her to see her old home and all its memories go up in smoke. That area now is totally unrecognizable compared to when we were kids. There were no McDonalds, Burger Kings, etc. We would sometimes go to a place on the Trans Canada Hwy.(just across from Langley Prairie Elementary) called Logan’s Drive In. You could get a burger, fries and a shake there for a very reasonable price.”
Harry D. McTaggart writes of his memories of Alice Brown:
I recall a story that Alice told me when I was the head teacher of Langley Central School. Alice was the teacher of the Division 2, Grade 7 class. She was recalling her experiences as a teacher at the old one-room Belmont Elementary School situated on 40 Avenue where the new Belmont Elementary is presently situated.
The creek behind the school quite often flooded, and since the outhouses were at the end of a pathway behind the school, it was necessary to walk through a fair expanse of water to get to the two-hole toilets. Alice Brown would leave her gumboots at the classroom door, and anyone needing to go to the outhouse would use her gumboots.
Alice Brown lived on the Brown Farm on the Fraser Highway and would ride her horse to and from school every day. As it would graze on the playground during the day, the students developed quite an attachment to her horse.
Alice Brown was highly respected by her pupils and by her colleagues. There was absolutely no question as to who was in charge in her classroom. She was a strict disciplinarian, but the pupils loved her.
Alice’s classroom was at one end of the upstairs hallway and mine was at the other. When the bell rang for pupils to return to class at the end of recess or noon hour, Miss Brown and I would be at our stations at the top of the staircases. If any pupils were running or being noisy, I can remember the sharp penetrating sound of Miss Brown’s hands slapping together-a most piercing crack. The pupils straightened up right away because they knew Miss Brown meant business.
I think Miss Brown must have remembered the names of all pupils that she ever taught. She certainly committed the names of my three children to memory, and never missed one of their birthdays.