A Man of Many Trades

During the early years of settlement every community had an individual or two who stood out above the rest and who contributed more than his share toward the welfare of the community he or she lived in. Such a man in the Elk Point district was William Soldan, commonly known to all of our residents as "Bill."

Mr. Soldan moved to our hamlet in 1924. Later he was joined by his family. Prior to this he had lived in Two Hills, Primula, Killam and Vermilion.

William Soldan was a blacksmith by trade and shortly after his arrival in Elk Point he established a blacksmith shop in the area of the present day United Church(4822 50 Avenue). When he wasn't working in the blacksmith shop he was caring for Dr. F. G. Miller's power plant which was located nearby. This power plant supplied electricity to Elk Point's first hospital which was located on the lot east of where our United Church now stands. In 1925 Mr. Soldan sold his small blacksmith shop and in 1927 he built a large garage building on the corner lot south of the C. J. Markstad store (now owned by Steve Wolanuk at the NW corner of 50 Avenue and 50 Street). For many years William Soldan did mechanical work on cars, trucks and tractors. He also had a machinery agency. When a much larger power plant was needed to supply electricity to our village as well as to the new hospital which was built in 1928, he became the plant operator. This power plant was owned by Dr. F. G. Miller and Dr. A. G. Ross and was located on the lot where our post office now stands(5014 50 Avenue). It had four large generators which supplied direct current to our village.

Mr. Soldan had the misfortune of losing his garage and machinery agency by fire in 1939. He rebuilt soon after on the lot where George Ewasiuk now operates his garage(SE corner of 51 Street and 50 Avenue). William Soldan was a "Jack of all trades" - there was hardly anything he couldn't repair. Something which seemed impossible just took him a little longer to figure out. He was known as the "farmers' friend." During the busy harvest and threshing seasons he often worked half of the night repairing some broken part so the farmer could proceed with his work without delay. After working most of the night he was back on the job first thing in the morning. Throughout the years Mr. Soldan custom hauled grain for many farmers in the district. At different times he operated a threshing machine and cared for the tractor during its operation.

During the winter months Mr. Soldan was in charge of the village outdoor skating rink which was located across the street from his garage (now the Elks parking lot on the SE corner of 51 Street and 50 Avenue). He not only flooded it but kept it clear of snow at all times. When Elk Point's first curling rink was built in 1940 he became the caretaker. Somehow he even found time to curl on  Dr. F. G. Miller's rink along with C. A. Johnson and Joe Mah.

Mr. Soldan was a community minded man who worked for the betterment of our village. He served as chairman of the Hospital Board for a number of years and also assumed other duties such as repair work at the hospital. He also helped to form the Elk Point Gas Co. during the late 1940s - he was one of the original directors of this company and also in charge of its operation. In 1950s Mr. Soldan lost his second garage by fire but again was able to rebuild and continue in the garage business.

Mr. Soldan was in honest, hard working man who was well known throughout our district. He had many friends and was well respected. Twice married, he raised a family of six children Sam, Olga, Kathleen, Elizabeth, Evelyn and Edward.

Mr. Soldan remained very active until he suffered a severe stroke during the early 1950s. His garage was sold to Ralph Riemer soon after. Mr. Soldan was a very determined man because of this he made a partial recovery. He was, however, confined to a wheel chair during his remaining years. He passed away in 1968 and was buried in our west cemetery.  Mr. Soldan contributed a lot to our community to as far back as 1924. He played an important role  in Elk Point's early growth as well as its past history.