Tuesday 14 May 2024

Remembering the Fire Escape Chute

    For some reason, lately I have been thinking a lot about Highland School, my old elementary school.  I visualize how the interior looked, and the layout of the rooms.  The most distinct memory I have of the school was the metal fire escape chute that was attached to the side of the 1923 brick building.

     I could find no photos of the chute that was attached to Highland School, but I did find the photo above on the internet, that pretty much matches the memory I have of Highland’s fire escape.  However our chute was bit shorter and didn’t go up quite so high.

    Our fire escape chute was a very attractive temptation to us kids.  We were not allowed to play around it or try to climb around inside it, but of course, if we happened to be on the school grounds on a weekend for some reason, with no teachers around, we enjoyed trying to climb up inside the structure and slide down.

    When I was in the third grade, my classroom was on the second floor of the school building, and in our classroom was the short double doors that opened up onto the top of the chute.  Again, our teacher never allowed us to mess around or open the doors, but I can still visualize those doors, because they provoked a potential adventure in my young mind.

    Thinking back, I remember doing fire drills (as well as tornado drills and atomic bomb drills) during my stint at elementary school, but unfortunately, we never got to do any fire drills using the chute.   That would have been quite exciting.

    Below is an old photo of Highland School, as it appeared in the 1920‘s, shortly after it was built.  By the time I attended the school the landscape had changed, but the building itself looked the same.  The fire escape chute was on the left side.   After about the third year of my attendance, an addition was added on to Highland which included a new cafeteria and additional classrooms, but the old original school building continued to be used for classrooms and for the gym.

You can see my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


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