Dick Hunt's Blog

February 14, 2010

Early Endiang, as I knew it.

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 4:04 pm

Early Endiang, as I knew it.
by Dick Hunt, February 14th 2010.
The one surviving building from Endiang’s earliest days is the Post Office, constructed in 1910 at its original site on the Correction Line, across the road from  the farm buildings of Sandy and Janet Campbell.  The old cellar is still there in the midst of a small grove of Willow Trees.  That building stayed there until the C.N.R. branch line went through in 1926, when it was moved to the present site.  It was then owned by Richard Sebastion Gregory-Allen and his wife, Ellen Rose Foreman (known as “Nellie”) and also contained the Red and White Store.

In fairly quick succession, new buildings appeared on the main north and south street.  The C.N.R. Station was on the intersecting road  at the north end of Main Street close to the access road to Carl Beohlke’s farmstead. Ed Mamb and his family lived there and Ed was the Station Agent for years. Coming up the street from there on the east side was the Livery Barn, (later to become the Blacksmith Shop owned by Ed and Walter Keibel).  I am not able to recall the next building on that side, but there was Sam Shaben’s Grocery store and Tommy Hilton’s Saddlery near the corner. Across from that was the  Endiang Hotel, built and operated by Bill Foster and his wife and two sons.  The first Endiang Community Hall was next to that at the south end of the street.

West across the street from the Hall was a building owned by Dave Porter and his wife and I believe they operated a meat market  there.   Years later the United Church acquired the site and had  a school moved in.  A service Club had a basement dug and the foundation poured for the building. It was moved onto the site  to become the home of the United Church in Endiang.  Lacking  steps to the basement, they called on me to build them which I did.  Then there was a need for new wall coverings .  Carl Beohlke and I canvassed the Saturday afternoon shoppers up and down the street and collected all the funds necessary to buy plywood for that.  Wayne Ballinger and I mounted the School Bell on the roof of the Porch. Then there was need for Pews.  Carl and I did the Saturday event over again and with a quote of $45.00 per pew, from Mr.  Creasey in Halkirk, collected all we needed for that.  I subsequently  conducted services there for two winters at the request of the Congregation.

There was also a small Real Estate office along there and then the Post Office. Across the street from there was a hardware store, eventually owned and operated by Jack Ritchie, who also had the J.I. Case agency.  Next was a Pool Hall and then next to that a Restaurant. Mr. and Mrs Jack Adams operated one restaurant there  beginning around 1937 after they sold their farm a mile north of town to my sister Ruth and her Husband Wilfred Hunt. Irvin and Ruby Hausher  bought that farm when Ruth and Wilfred and Kay moved to Airdrie in 1946. On the north end of that street was the Garage and Gasoline pumps owned by Ercy and Tillie Ballinger who also had the John Deere agency.

Turning west, there was an Imperial Oil Bulk Station operated by George Baird who had the Draying service too.  Arthur Johnson bought that business and ran it for years. He was also an operator for the Searle Elevator for some time.  The three elevators had a number of different operators over the years.  The Alberta Wheat Pool and the Alberta Pacific along with the Searle I knew very well as I hauled grain into and out of them all for years before I left the Ranch to study for the Ministry. Two other elevator men I remember well were Albert Webber and Cliff Hamilton.

Endiang was a water stop for the C.N.R. too as Island Slough was the source of the water pumped into the Water Tank in Endiang where the Steam Locomotives filled their boilers.  Ralph Waters cared for the pump and topped up the water in the tank for years.
And of course, when the town was built on it’s present site, a school was built on the corner where the present building, now closed, still stands. It was called “Endiang School”, the name previously of the original school three  miles east  of town which burned down, then replaced by the one in which I spent ten years which was one mile south.  From that time on the School I was in was called “Hunt Lake School, District # 2253. I had ten different teachers in those ten years and I will always be grateful to them for their ability to ground us in the three R’s,  a love of history, pride of Country and high moral standards.  To my knowledge, only one is still alive and she is Dorothy Grott.  Thank you Dorothy. I owe it to them that I am still an avid reader, chiefly of history and current events and that I have a gift for writing stories and articles, now totaling more than 400 in my computer data bank. The old Hunt Lake School became the home of Eleanor Gallagher and their family when it was moved to their farm.

West  of the Post Office there was a Lumberyard operated by Mr. Edwards.  His two sons were Morris and Everett.  I remember going there with my Grandfather to buy lumber for  a rowboat which he beautifully crafted for our use around the sloughs on the Ranch. He made the oars too with curved ends, from two by sixes.  I fell heir to those oars a few years ago and they are now in the possession of Rob,  my eldest son. In his younger days in Ontario William Foreman was a Ship Captain on a sailing freighter on the Great Lakes.  He told us of a Christmas Eve when the crew broke into a cupboard and drank up the Ships Rum, leaving him with a crew out of control on a stormy night.  Grandpa was born at Whitstable, Kent in England on August  30th, 1850 and  passed away on April 7th, 1930 in Victoria, B.C.
I am sorry that I cannot identify other buildings in the town or their owners.  I have not  been able to find the Endiang History  book.  I have many other memoreis of the town, such as the meeting at Bob Somervilles home which resulted in the Building of the New Endiang Hall. If it would be  a help, I would be delighted to write up that story and others which might be interesting to the Endiang Community of today. Please let me know and I will get at it forthwith and send them  along to you.
Sincerely, Dick.

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