Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What have you done for us lately?

It's terrible to be forgot on your birthday!

Especially when you've worked hard and served people well. It's frustraing to be ignored because all of the attention is focused on the "new kid" and you're basically told you're not worth noticing anymore.

Who cares if a Governor-General officiated at your birth? Who cares if when you were new you were told you're "one of the best in Canada?"

No matter how nice, pretty and shiny the new kid may be, don't you deserve some recognition and support as well?

On 21 August 1912 the Minister of Education, the Honourable John R. Boyle, laid the cornerstone for the new Manual Training School here in Lethbridge, and on 10 October, Canada's Governor-General, the Duke of Donnaught, officially opened the building. Today this building is better known as the Bowman Art Gallery.

The school was created to teach night classes as well as manual training classes for grades six to ten. This was Alberta's first Manual Training School (what we would now consider vocational training). The building also accommodated the school board offices and board room.

In 1915, the school's funds and teaching staff were reduced and vocational classes cut. The building was then converted to a high school and used as such until 1928.

(cadets posed in front of the Bowman)

From 1929 to 1963 the building served as the Bowman Elementary School.

(grade 2 class in front of the Bowman Elementary School)

The City of Lethbridge purchased the building from the School Board in 1963. The Civic Museum was first organzed there. The museum soon moved out and into the Galt Hospital.

The City then leased the building to the Allied Arts Council. In this capacity it has to this day served numerous community arts organizations and contains a gallery that features regional artists. Since its conversion into the Bowman Arts Centre, the building has been one of Lethbridge's most prominent and most beloved venues, a showcase for arts and other cultural activities.

The Bowman was declared a Provincial Historic Resource in March 1982. The building, designed by Whittington Architects, is a mixture of design styles -- primarily Colonial Classical Revival but with Georgian influences.

C.B. Bowman, its namesake, was an early Lethbridge businessman who served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of Lethbridge School District 51 from 1905 to 1912. C.B. Bowman was also an alderman for several years and acting mayor when Mayor Henderson died in office. HIs wife, Florence, was one of the first nurses at the Galt Hospital and their son, Paddy, earned an Order of the British Empire for service in the Second World War.

The Bowman turns 100 this year. Doesn't it deserve recognition, support and much more from this community which it has served so well?


  1. Even tho it's showing its age, I love this building. Does anyone know what will become of it once the 'new kid' is operational?

  2. The Bowman will not be forgotten! It's been a great building that's served so much of Lethbridge's community. Let's just hope its put to good use after the new Arts Centre is opened.


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