River crossings over the North Saskatchewan River

The first ferry to operate in the Elk Point area was the Hopkins Ferry. It was located three miles west of our present bridge site. This ferry was installed in 1908 with John Ross being the first ferryman. He held this position for a number of years. This ferry gave the early settlers an outlet to the south and also gave the settlers to the south a chance to buy their supplies in Elk Point rather than having to go all the way to Vermilion.

In 1914 another ferry was installed in the general area of where our bridge is located. The first ferry-man was Charles Magnusson and he was followed by Ole Jacobson, Alf Monkman and Harry Keck. Paul Gusnowski who lived a half  mile, south of the river was also employed there for a number of years.  In 1919 someone purposely cut the Hopkins Ferry loose and down the river it went. Somehow or other it was stopped about ten miles east of Elk Point and  rather than float it back to its original site it was installed at that point. It was then called Moosewa Ferry and it served the  people in that area for a number of years. Instead of relocating at Hopkins, another ferry was installed in 1920 about six miles west of the Elk Point ferry and for years it was known as Spencer's Crossing.

During the many years of operation, a few accidents occurred at the Elk Point site, some which could have proven disastrous. In the middle 1930s Bill Soldan was hauling grain' with his truck. As he approached the north bank of the river he suddenly broke through the river ice. His hind wheels sank to the bottom, however his front wheels didn't and so he remained in an inclined position for a number of hours. He was finally winched out but only after he lost his entire load of grain.

In 1939 another accident occurred at this site which is worth relating. Just prior to the break up of the river ice a number of teenagers including myself went to the river to watch the annual event. With the river ice being unsafe to cross, a steel cage was in operation and it took the passengers across the river. Someone suggested going across in the cage and the operator, Harry Keck, soon had us loaded up, and we were away. When we had reached the middle point of the river, the heavy wooden anchor on the south bank pulled out of the ground and down we fell about eighteen feet. About this time the heavy wooden beam which was attached to the cable above came crashing down on top of the cage and narrowly missed slicing our heads off. Luckily the cage didn't roll upon impact,   otherwise there would have been a few deaths or serious injuries. As it ended up we all received a number of bad bruises and a good shaking up. A few minutes later we were picked up by boat and taken to shore. The remains of the steel cage moved about a hundred feet down the river about an hour later and by supper time the entire river ice was completely gone.  If my memory serves me right the following passengers on that ill fated ride were Floyd Cromwell, Harry Keck, Sam Soldan, Peter Andrishak, Jim Hutter, Bob Quinn and myself.