On the way to the new high school location, you can see the curling rink on the left hand side. Up until the 1950s, just behind the curling rink stood the Agricultural Hall. It was the site of many Agricultural fairs, ball games and in 1925 Cliff Swan was granted a lease to use the building as a skating rink in the winter. Early in the internment of the Japanese Canadians, the “old dilapidated skating rink was turned into a kitchen and mess hall with more tents set up inside…” George Doi remembers walking to Slocan for meals here. When the Pacific Logging built the curling rink the old hall/skating rink was torn down.
Slocan School District #8 was formed in 1946 and managed school affairs for all the Slocan Valley schools. In 1970, it was dissolved and the schools at the north end of the Valley became part of the Arrow Lakes School District and the schools at the south end of the Valley were joined with the Nelson School District. The School Board offices were right next to the new high school and after 1970 the building was used by the school. In the 1980s it was remodelled to make a band room.
In a report written by Nancy Larsen in 1989, she chronicled the evolution of WE Graham school from a two classroom facility to a ten classroom complex including a full size gym. According to the report, in 1950 the residents of Slocan passed a bylaw to build a two classroom high school. The new Slocan School District (#8) purchased the lots further south of the existing school on Harold Street. It began as a two room high school and in 1951 an additional room was added and it was then named WE Graham school. In 1964 the gym was built and over the next 25 years it expanded to include 3 more classrooms, a shop and 2 portables.
As a part of the purchase agreement, the City agreed to close Arthur Street behind the school so that the students would have a playground and this was done in 1953.
WE Graham school was named for one individual who was an integral part of the community in so many ways. Nancy Larsen also gives us a brief look at William Edward (Ed) Graham. He was one of the early settlers of Slocan and started here in the mining rush of the early 1900s. He began working in McNeish’s store in 1920 and bought McNeish out in 1938. He continued to operate the store which included the post office and telephone switchboard. In the late 1920s he had one of the few cars in town which made him the ambulance and taxi service. He was Justice of the Peace and City Clerk, the latter for 25 years. He initiated the construction of both schools in town and served on the school board for 20 years. He was also mayor from 1961 until his death in 1964.