Saturday, 24 April 2021

No Need for Running on Fumes

Photo from McKee Archives at Brandon University

In the late 1960’s the focus of Reston seems to have changed to #2 Highway from the railway. The Peanut had its last run in 1961 and citizens were much more mobile than in generations that came earlier.  Reston House owner and community supporters Ed and Rita Gulas decided to build a hotel on the highway and add a service station to the east as well. The official opening of the Reston Esso Station and the Reston Motor Hotel was held in February of 1966.  Reeve Carl Wedow cut the ribbon and Father Currie of Souris dedicated the structures. Ed later operated it as a Texaco station and had bulk plant with Ed as well as his son Greg driving the fuel truck until 1970. The garage did oil changes and sold tires.  I found the following article in a December 1971 Brandon Sun that details the taxidermy that graced its walls.  Sounds like an interesting place that I'm sure sticks in the memory of some of my readers! 

Gary and Barbara Watt were next to own the shop beginning in 1977 and continuing for the next 30 years. Being a licensed mechanic, Gary operated a general repair shop and sold Texaco gas.  Over the years he was a dealer for different fuel companies including Gulf and Co-op and he operated a CAA Roadside Service and did towing. It was a family affair with Gary’s dad Alex involved at the beginning and his children Marc and Ashli working there as well.  Several young men worked and learned with the Watts before going into mechanics for themselves.  Gary and Barb looked after Randy and I well for the years we were driving many miles in opposite directions to work when we were first married. I for one seemed to flirt with driving on fumes as long as I could.  I still remember his good-natured chuckle with me when I ran out of gas with a list of Things To Do on the dashboard that began with "Get Gas". They sold the business in 2007 and it became the home of Caldwell Customs for a while. It is not used now but the building is well maintained and remains as a welcome to Reston for highway travelers and residents alike. 

Taken from The Sequel (2009) page 46

Friday, 16 April 2021

Reston Community Hospital in the Rearview Mirror

Reston Community Hospital in 1964 as found at McKee Archives

Health Care is never far from our minds but the past year with Covid-19 has made sure of that. Looking back at the past of the Reston Health Centre has been an interesting diversion for me this week.

Having a hospital in Reston was apparently a long ongoing discussion that first began in 1919. At that time, hospital facilities for many locals were in Virden and more serious cases went to Brandon or Winnipeg. In 1934, Dr. Alva Chapman called a meeting to discuss the establishment of a "Cottage Hospital" for Reston.  This is an interesting concept explained here  as early socialist medicine but it never got off the ground in Reston.  Nursing care in the patient's home was common with ladies of various skills and training from the community. Doctors made house calls, prescribed and filled limited medications in the early days.  Winter house calls were often dangerous for the doctor, nurse and driver and the snowplane built by Sherman Dayton in 1936 came to the rescue of many.  Many births took place at home with the help of a midwife. There were also a few maternity homes in Reston for birth and recovery over the years including Katie Fraser, Helen Kay and Emily Holton beside Dr. Clark on Fifth Street.

Finally, the building at 523 First Street was constructed in 1951-52 as a 10 bed facility. Everyone did not agree at the time that it was a good use of funds and many debates were held around kitchen tables and on the streets of Reston.  Once completed, it soon proved to have been a good decision and was actually deemed too small.  It was enlarged in 1960 to have room for 7 more beds and an emergency room, operating room, lab and X-ray suite. In 1981, a 20 bed personal care home,
 the Willowview, was added along with a new kitchen, dining and activity room and hairdressing room. Summer of 1984 saw the first residents move in.   In 1988 the Auxiliary funds constructed a solarium in the front area of the Personal Care Home and the outside space has been made welcoming with a gazebo and courtyard. In 2002, the former hospital side was made a Transitional Care Facility and in 2006 a Palliative Care suite was added. It is an attractive and important building in our community.  The reputation of the staff for their excellent and loving care is known far and wide. 

1969 Reston Community Hospital Annual Meeting as found in Brandon Sun

In its early days it really was a community hospital, full of joys with countless births along with the illness and death.  Candy Stripers were recruited from Reston Collegiate to volunteer to help the staff with their duties and introduce the girls to the medical field.  The name came from their red and white striped aprons.   A local hospital board looked after expenses and revenue, staffing and ambulance service.  Hospital Aid and Helping Hands committees took on fundraisers and projects that directly benefitted the community hospital and patients.   

The Reston Health Auxiliary/Hospital Aid was active in raising funds to purchase needed furnishings, medical devices and needs for the patients like televisions, books and magazines. The Reston Fun Fair began in 1951 and was a major contributor of funds over the next many decades.  

1965 clipping from the Brandon Sun about reopening lab and 1976 Hospital Aid Report
Copied from Trails Along the Pipestone page 480

The hospital has been a major employer over the years. Nursing care at all levels, clinicians, maintenance, cleaning, laundry, meals, activity staff each had their roles in addition to the doctors.  A list of those with hospital privileges (from the history books) over the years may bring back memories for current and former Restonites.  Please let me know if I've missed any.
  • 1951 - Drs. Alvin Burton Chapman, Frank Clark and James W. Cairns
  • 1952 - Dr. D. E. Bradley
  • 1956 - Dr. C. S. Wood
  • 1961 - Dr. Edward Verinder
  • 1962 - Dr. J. S. Klotzek
  • 1967 - Dr. W. G. Warrian
  • 1971 -Dr. H. J. Furston and Dr. Aquino M. Dizon
  • 1972 - Dr. Scott and Dr. S. G. Cleto
  • 1984 - Dr. Pierre Vanderspuy
  • 1995 - 2009 Dr. Mary O’Neil, Drs. Karen and Andre Louw, Dr. Pinear, Dr. Myburgh, Dr. Wepner, Dr. Coetze and Dr. Alberts.
Administration of the facility was locally based at first but was also in with District 10 in Virden for a time and with Melita as well. Health districts have certainly changed and expanded over the years. Our current district, Prairie Mountain Health, covers 66,000 square kilometers and employs over 8500 people.  Dr. Chapman would be astounded, I'm sure. 
Thank you to Janis McMorran for this photo of Dr. Chapman with his cocker spaniel Monty at the corner of his Drugstore building in the early 1950's.

Friday, 9 April 2021

The Massey Corner of Town

Postcard Image from Peel's Prairie Provinces website
The large building on the left in the picture above is dated from about 1909 and advertises as selling Verity Plows and Massey-Harris Company Limited Farm Equipment.  It stood at the busy crossroads of Fourth Street (Main Street) and First Avenue (Railway Avenue) for many years and had a few successors and even more owners.  The Massey corner's history is as follows. More details and pictures are always welcome!

The Massey- Harris Company had existed since a merger in 1891. They were the originators of self propelled harvesters in 1938 and the Ferguson combine in 1953 but continued to produce separate products until 1958 when the name became Massey-Ferguson.

James Wilborn Guthrie (1861-1946) came from his birthplace of Middleville, Ontario with his father William Reid Guthrie in 1882 to work on the railway. James later returned to homestead NE 30-7-27 north of Reston. He branched out and established a Massey Harris dealership on the main corner of Reston opposite the train station.   The signature of J.W. Guthrie can be found on this receipt from 1898 for a 15 shoe drill from the Massey-Harris Company for $30! 

He left full time work at the dealership in 1905 to sell various types of insurance, real estate and did farm management. J.W. continued at Guthrie and Bulloch, as it was known, until he retired in 1944.  
He married Annie Clementine McGregor in 1898, had 3 daughters and a son and lived in the huge brick house at 106 Second Avenue profiled here by Fletch Manning.  You may remember it was the funeral of this Mrs. Guthrie in 1935 at the Baptist Church that was its last event due to a structural problem .  

Note on Guthrie stationary 1911 for $100 for buggy from Guthrie and McMurchy

John "Jack" McMurchy was hired by Guthrie in 1904 to work at the Massey dealership and became a partner in 1907.  He was the son of Archibald and Mary McMurchy and brother to Archie and Colin who operated a livery stable and later Ford dealership and garage in Reston.  Jack married Nellie Elliott in 1908 and they had 4 daughters and 3 sons including Air Gunner Kenneth who was killed in 1945 near Germany. The house and yard that they lived in is described here in a wonderful description by Lucille Curtis. The McMurchys retired to Vancouver in 1948. 

From 1907-1911 the dealership was run by McMurchy and G. F. Birney.  The latter took on the position of RM of Pipestone secretary treasurer so Jack ran the dealership alone. The building was destroyed by fire in 1924 but was rebuilt shortly after. Imperial Oil gasoline pumps were installed in front of the business. 

Note for Van Brunt drill in 1927 from John McMurchy 

Lucille and Leo Curtis - thanks Lorie
In 1948, Leo Curtis took over the dealership from Jack McMurchy, purchasing his home on Second Avenue as well. Leo was well acquainted with Massey Harris products after farming in the Dublin district south of Reston and custom combining using a self-propelled Massey combine in Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota in 1947. Leo married his wife Lucille Paul in 1937 and they had a son and 4 daughters. He also purchased a meat market in Reston and added a locker plant to it in 1957. The meat business was sold to Henry Claussen in 1965. In 1954, Leo added the Dodge Desoto dealership to his garage. 
In 1959, fire claimed the business and it was rebuilt using the concrete blocks that you still see today. Leo and Lucille and their family left Reston in 1960 but continued to farm in the are and kept strong connections to family and friends.


The business was purchased by William D. Morrice,  son of Charles and Helen Morrice of Dublin district south of Reston who ran it as Morrice Farm Equipment until his death in 1965.

From 1965-67, Mel Williamson(nephew of Bill Morrice) and Jim King ran the business and King alone from 1967 as Reston Farm Supplies. Centralization meant the Massey dealership left Reston and from 1976-79 Mel and Ron Bulloch utilized the building for a fertilizer and liquid feed supplement business called Agserv.

In the time since then it has been home to John (Laddie) Morrice's welding shop, Williamson Trucking, TBA Sales, UGG elevator office, and now Bonneville Transport Ltd. 

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Whiskey in the Walls

Reston Recorder article reprinted in the July 12, 1948 issue of the Winnipeg Tribune 

Bet the title of this post got your attention! Reston's Reciprocity Liquor store to serve residents of Saskatchewan was located near the corner of First (Railway) Avenue and Third Street. When you think silly government regulations are a modern invention, remember this one! 

In about 1915, James Borthwick Townsley renovated the former liquor store and opened a dealership for Chevrolet and Studebaker cars.  Business was brisk with selling and repairing cars. Besides mechanical fixes, body repairs needed to be done after accidents involving novice drivers and poor road conditions.  

Jim Townsley first came to the area from Owen Sound, Ontario with his parents William and Barbara where they farmed in the Kinloss area at 22-5-26 from the late 1880’s to 1910. He farmed and ran the garage business for over 25 years until his death in 1947. He lived on SW 18-6-27 and later he and his sister Barbara Lily lived in their house on the west side of First Street where it meets Second Avenue.

In 1935 the garage was leased to Sherman Dayton. Check here for details on the snow plane he built during his decade in business here.  It was used for winter transportation for the R.C.M.P,  doctors and utilities repairmen in the later 30's and early 40's. In 1942, Dayton moved to Newdale to operate a successful John Deere agency there for the rest of his days.

William Lockhart started out farming south of Reston  and later moved to town to run a wood and coal business, run the theatre in the Berry Hall and had a cow pasture and barn south of the elementary school and sold the milk. He later took over the Cockshutt Farm Implement dealership in Reston. They built an office on the corner west of the Townsley Garage and used the space to the north of it to set up machinery. In 1948, William Lockhart purchased the garage. At this point they moved both buildings back from the street and connected them. After this, William was ready to retire and his sons Everett and Beverly took over.

from  Mc Kee Archives at Brandon University - approximately 1964 

This branch of the Lockhart family originally came from Ballydugan, County Armagh Northern Ireland. Thomas and Annie (Fraser) Lockhart lived in Lucknow in Bruce County, Ontario before moving west in 1896 to raise a large family including William in the Kinloss district south of Reston on SE 31-6-27. 

William married Lauretta Maude Kendrick in 1911 in Brandon and they began farming on the north half of 23-6-28 and had 2 sons Everett and Beverley.  Everett married Violet Gemmill in 1933 and had 3 sons - Dale, Layton and Murray.  Beverley married Norma McClement in 1949 and raised 7 children on the garage business they built - Corinne, Barry, Richard, Keith, Debra, Warren and Robin. 

 In 1957, they switched to selling Versatile and the bills over the years advertise their connection with Ford, Morris, Ford-Monarch Falcons, Honda Sales and Service, Shell Oil and Gas.  Welding in the shop and on farm was an important part of the business.  In 1973, Everett moved to Brandon and Bev' s son Rick took over his shares.

In 1981, Lockhart's Garage sold Versatile Farm Equipment, Mercury Cars and trucks and did complete overhauling. Rick and Bev sold cars for Wilton's as well as selling RCA televisions and aerials , later satellite systems. Repairing anything that came in was what they were known for. In 1988, Bev sold his half to Richard but his talents stayed on as an employee.  Norma opened her own video rental business first on the south end of Main Street with Bernice’s Fabrics and later beside their home on the south west corner of Second Avenue and Second Street.  I may be dating myself by admitting we borrowed a video disc player and dics from Norma many times.  We were so proud to get our own VCR and borrow movies on tapes from her as well!  In 1990 the garage business was closed out and Howard Moore bought it as a home for his electric business, Moore's Electric. 

Next time you drive past the building, you may give it a second look and wonder if any more smooth Scotch whiskey may be hiding in the walls. Imagine how smooooooth it will be after over 100 years!