Historically, the foot of the lake at Greenfield was seasonally inhabited by native North Americans. it was called Ponhook until 1850 when the name was changed to Greenfield. The natives were Mi'kmaq of the Algonquin tribe. The Mi'kmaq name for our Medway River was Wigadoon.
The Mi'kmaq did not have a fixed settlement. They followed seasonally to wherever hunting and fishing was plentiful. in the early 1800's, the Mi'kmaq were converted to Christianity by the Jesuits. Around the same time, they started to settle the riverbanks and build permanent living quarters.
In 1830, the first white settlers, Samuel Hunt and his family, made a permanent home in Greenfield. Their later house, known today as First Settlers Place, stands next to the school at Greenfield Corner. The second person to establish a family in Greenfield was Gorham Freeman. With his interest in the forest industry, the abundant forests became a source of employment for many people who moved to the the area.
Today, forestry and recreation are the main industries in the area. The natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, school and extensive community infrastructure make Greenfield an attractive home for people working in nearby towns.
The first school opened when there were only eight families in Greenfield. A replacement was built on the west side of the river after a small schoolhouse on the plains proved too small. Both whites and natives attended this second school.
A third school was built on Mill Hill as the community grew. It was a two-story building known as the "Red Schoolhouse". The main floor was used for the school with primary through grade 11 and the upstairs was a community meeting room. Those who wished to further their studies generally went to Bridgewater or Liverpool.
In December, 1945, a new two-room school, built by the people of Greenfield, opened and served the local communities for many years. This school was across the lane from where the fire hall was later built. In 1956, all students above grade six were sent to Caledonia.
Greenfield's remote location makes it impractical to bus young children from the area to other schools. Nonetheless, people from the Greenfield area have had to work hard to keep our school. The Queens District School Board closed our school in June 1987. However, they could not break the will of the people who were fully prepared to operate our own free public school in Greenfield. After concerted pressure, the Queens District School Board reopened the Greenfield School in August, 1987.
The school, built in 1945, was beginning to show its age. A facilities review, conducted for the South Shore Regional School Board in 2000, determined the 1945 school no longer met requirements, yet, there was little prospect of building a new, small school in Greenfield by conventional means.
A society of local volunteers was formed following a public meeting and asked to find a solution. Many months of discussions, negotiation and planning led to a three-way development agreement signed by the South Shore Regional School Board, the Province and the Society on October 11, 2007.
The result of this innovative three-way initiative is our current, state of the art, small school serving grades Primary through six. This school, built and maintained by the Society, is rented to the province at a much lower cost than a conventionally built school. This consolidated elementary school is the successor to all schools in Greenfield, Buckfield, Middlefield, Bangs Falls, Labelle and the vicinity.
According to Statistics Canada, the population in most rural Nova Scotia communities continues to decline. The Greenfield area has defied this trend and seen a 31% population increase from 2001 to 2006.
School enrolment statistics for a very small school can be volatile due to the small denominator used in calculations. Enrolment in 2009 has increased 52% from a low in 2007 and is back in line with traditional levels.
The Greenfield area offers seasonal and full time residents an unusual variety of infrastructure and activities. Our church, fire department, fully equipped gymnasium and fitness centre, sport court, ballfield, outdoor rink, playground, senior citizen's club, public library and other facilities, make Greenfield an attractive rural community. These, in addition to countless opportunities for outdoor recreation, two general stores and our proximity to nearby towns, make Greenfield very attractive for those who prefer to live in a rural setting.
The area has maintained its quiet, scenic beauty. The backbone of our community is the dedication of those who reside here and take pride in its heritage. The many facilities available for the youth of the community make Greenfield a great place for families. Our facilities far surpass those found in most villages our size and often rival those found in much larger places. Our safe and nurturing ways also help children grow to be confident and successful.