by Sam Soldan
The Soldans arrived in Canada from Austria in 1903, set. thog in the Two Hills area known as Lanuke. William (Bill) was the youngest in a family of seven and was also seven years old at that time.
He married in 1914 and settled on a homestead at Primula, located approximately sixteen miles southeast of Elk Point on the west side of Telegraph Creek. In 1918 he left this homestead, returning to the Two Hills area, moving in 1919 to Killam, where he apprenticed as a blacksmith under his brother-in-law. In October, 1922, he moved to Vemilion, where he went into the General Store business.
Bill moved to Elk Point in April, 1924, and started a blacksmith and horseshoeing shop, which included horses from an area as far north as Bonnyville east to the Saskatchewan border, and south nearly to Vermilion. This shop was located in the vicinity of what is now the United Church Christian Education Centre.
His wife, Rose, and three children -- Olga, Sam and Kathleen -- followed in June of that year. They took up residence in a one-room house located at the west side, and next to, the blacksmith shop. For that first winter, a room was added, covered only with a canvas roof. The following year he purchased a two-room house located in the vicinity of Dr. Didow's dental office.
Bill's mechanical ability came into the forefront at this time. A few years prior, Drs. Miller and Ross had purchased a small air-cooled Delco power plant for their hospital. He soon took over its running and maintenance. This was followed by exclusive upkeep of Dr. Miller's topless 490 Chevrolet and Dr. Ross' Model T. Roadster.
The blacksmith forge was used to sterilize hospital band ages and instruments as it could be done more quickly this way. This once resulted in a container blowing up, leaving a rather ornate display on the soot-covered rafters and walls of the shop. In 1925 he sold the blacksmith shop. In 1927 he opened his first garage, built in the new town site of Elk Point, locat ed where the present Co-Op now stands. This included a farir equipment agency. The old blacksmith shop was moved be hind this garage and used as an implement warehouse.
With the building of the first hospital, in 1927, a power plant was built by Doctors Miller and Ross. Bill became the first plant operator. This plant serviced not only the hospital but the village of Elk Point at that time.
William was involved in the curling and skating rinks, the Hospital Board and Natural Gas Co.
In 1929 his wife died. In 1932 he remarried -- the present Mary Soldan -- having three children -- Elizabeth, Edward and Evelyn. He passed away in 1968, predeceased by daughter, Olga, in 1950. The Soldan family resides in or within a close range of Elk Point at the present time. Mary, who, in the past was active in church and community affairs, resides in Elk Point, as does Ed, employed at the local hospital; and Elizabeth, who is an R.N., and a musician of note.
Sam graduated in pharmacy in 1948, following service overseas. He now resides in Vermilion.
Kathleen, and Evelyn, who is a lab technician, reside in Edmonton.
William Soldan and first wife Rose children Olga and Sam 1920
William Soldan and daughter Kathleen on a Wallis tractor in front of Elk Point's first garage.
STANDING, Left to Right: Sam Soldan, John Soldan, Nick Sakowski, 1931.
William Soldan and second wife Mary with children Elizabeth Edward, and Evelyn