My First Glimpse of Elk Point
Our family arrived in Elk Point during the fall of 1925. Since there was no railroad leading into Elk Point at that time, all our belongings had to be shipped by rail from Warspite, Alberta to St. Paul; and then reloaded into horse drawn wagons for the balance of the trip to Elk Point.
In 1925, Elk Point was just a small hamlet. I doubt very much if the total population exceeded 75 people. Counting all the places of business as well as the homes, there may have been a total of about 35 buildings. In 1925, the main street ran east and west - just the opposite of today's main street. There were no buildings north of 51 Avenue. At that time, the entire area north of 51 Avenue was a grain field which was owned by C.J. Markstad. The area which is now our main street was nothing but a mass of tall willows which extended to our present main highway. There was a large slough on our southern outskirts which had hundreds of water birds nesting on it. Still farther south was another massive growth of willows.
Some of the established places of business that I recall were: Johnson Bros. store, the Caskey Hotel, Charles Hood's Hardware and post office, MacDonald's drugstore, Joe Carrier's pool hall and barber shop, Sam Lee's Restaurant, Elk Point's, first hospital, which was located on the east side of our present United Church, Ray Keitges' store, the J. B. Caskey Livery Barn and the Oran Caskey garage.
One of the few buildings to the north was a small United Church. Further to the west was William Soldan's blacksmith shop, C. J. Markstad's General Store and Ford Agency, and still farther west was the Markstad residence. Hugh McLean also had a livery barn in. this area. With a few scattered homes, this pretty well made up our hamlet up to 1925.
There was no school in Elk Point in 1925. However, one was located 2 1/2miles south east. It was a one room school, painted White. It had its entrance facing the east and it had three windows on each side of it. In 1929 this school was moved into Elk Point, a room was added onto the west side and it then became Elk Point’s first. High School. This school is still standing, it is the east portion of our United Church rummage store.
In 1925 there was very little drainage in many parts of Elk Point. It didn’t seem to matter which way you stepped, you found yourself ankle deep in water. The main road to the south passed near a big slough and during the springtime this road was usually under water. A corduroy road was built by laying willows and poles across it to help build a bottom, however they seemed to disappear almost as fast as they were put down.
In 1925 Elk Point was still in the horse and buggy days. Although there were a few cars around, mostly Model T Fords, they were still out numbered by wagons and buggies. At that time, livery barns were more common than - garages and service stations.
There were very few hamlet restrictions in Elk Point in 1925. Many home owners had a barn on their lot where they housed a cow or two which supplied their milk and cream. Others raised chickens, turkeys and geese. Horses were also common within our borders. Dr. F. G. Miller always had a team of running horses behind his residence. During the winter they were used for making' emergency calls to outlying areas.
The residents of Elk Point in 1925 didn't enjoy the many comforts known today. They burned wood and coal in their stoves, they drew water from outside wells, burned coal oil in their lamps. There was no indoor plumbing and few homes had phones. During the springtime their wells usually became contaminated with the spring runoff, however they solved this problem by boiling their water.
Back in 1925 very few people ever talked about the environment. There were very few chemical's used at that time which effected the environment. At that time we all felt the world was doing a good job of caring for itself.
Elk Point has come a long way since I first saw it back in 1925. During the many years it has changed from a sleepy little hamlet to a fair sized thriving town, one not only rich in history but with a colorful past.