The Early 50s
Many important developments occurred in Elk Point and area during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It started with the salt plant being built near Lindbergh by the Alberta Salt Co. in 1949. This plant, which was later renamed the Windsor Salt Company, provided much employment to Elk Point and district residents and contributed to the economy of our community. The formation of the Elk Point Gas Company in late 1949 gave our village a natural gas supply which provided much comfort to all our homeowners.
Possibly the most important of all our new developments was the building of the bridge over the nearby North Saskatchewan River. This bridge replaced the ferry which had operated continuously since it was installed in 1914. Just prior to the building of our bridge, the Department of Public Works had announced that a new paved highway was to be built between Vermilion and Elk Point, and work on it would start immediately.
Another important announcement was made in January 1951 when it became known that a $180,000 grant had been made to the Elk Point Municipal Hospital for an addition that would provide 25 extra beds. Prior to this time, the hospital was badly overcrowded and space was a necessity.
In June, 1952, Canadian Utilities Ltd. also announced that the last of the power poles had been laid between Vermilion and Elk Point and soon electrical power would be flowing through these lines to Elk Point from their Vermilion plant. Prior to this, power had been supplied to our village by a local plant owned by Dr. F.G. Miller and Dr. A.G. Ross.
In September, 1953, it was announced that a new contract for the completion of Elk Point's water and sewer installation had been granted to R.D. McLeod of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Part of the equipment needed to finish the job had already arrived and work was to start in a few days. During the early 1950s all surrounding country schools started to close down due to centralization. The students of these schools were then bused into Elk Point where they continued their education. All these developments were very important to our village and surrounding district as they all contributed to our economy and growth. Our population during the early 1950s did not exceed 600 people, however, since then Elk Point has continued to grow at a rapid pace.
Other 'news' items taken from the Elk Point News section of the St. Paul Journal during the early 1950s were:
In 1952, eight Grade 12 students graduated from our high school and were awarded scrolls by Dr. F.G.Miller. The graduates were: Evangeline Scraba, Elizabeth Soldan, Helen Sumislawski, Doris Weigerinck, Ann MacDonell, Emerson Arnold, Carl Hall and Larry Babcock.
Elk Point lost many of its early pioneers during the 1950s. They included Mrs. Sarah Frances (Ma) Caskey, Mr. F.E. VanArnam, Mr. Peter Keitges, Mr. Alfred A. Ham, Mrs. Elizabeth Milholland, Mrs. Arvilla Lambright and Harry Ramsbottom..
In March, 1953, a tragedy occurred in the Elk Point district when death was the grim fate of William Harasym. His 1952 Pontiac stalled on a level crossing two miles west of Elk Point and was hit by an oncoming freight train.
Another news headline announced that the Elk Point Chamber of Commerce had organized a "Friendship Train" to Edmonton. It was scheduled to leave on Tuesday, June 24, 1953, and was to pick up passengers between Heinsburg and Edmonton, where they were to be entertained by many Edmonton businessmen. Two years prior to this, hundreds of Edmonton businessmen had visited the 'many towns and villages between Edmonton and Heinsburg on a similar tour.'
Judging by another headline, bingos were as popular as ever. In a 1953 edition, it was announced that Emerson "Buck" Eaton was the winner of a combination refrigerator and deepfreeze. Our dollar during the 1950s wasn't as inflated as the dollar is today. You could still buy a top line car or truck (new for as little as $1775. Gasoline was selling in the neighborhood of 50 cents a gallon.) The early 1950s were exciting years that offered much to the growth and economy of Elk Point and surrounding district.