A century ago…

By Sandra L. Brown

August 24, 2017 9:33 AM


Lloydminster was a mere dot on the prairie map. 
Progressive change was often driven by community issues, varied opinions and hardship.
A considerable crowd of ratepayers from both the town (Saskatchewan side) and village (Alberta side) of Lloydminster held another meeting in hopes of securing better fire protection. 
A heated argument was soon underway. 
Some folks thought they should start from the beginning; whereas others thought they should pick up where the last discussion ended. 
Naturally, in true democratic style, a vote was taken. 
This resulted in favour of a discussion from the early stages for a jointly organized fire brigade.
The mayor indicated the village did not want to pay their share of fighting fires, nor did they assist in paying for the town’s engine. 
When the town and village became their own identities, the village agreed to purchase their own engine to supplement that of the town. 
Both Councils had reached an agreement in 1908 concerning the costs of firefighting – each would be responsible for their own costs and help fight fires on either side of the border.
After haggling over assorted misunderstandings and whether previous resolutions could be considered as official; it was decided they needed to get down to business and remedy the situation. 
After a show of hands to “cut out the past”, those present decided to leave it up to the Town and Village Councils to settle a joint agreement.
It was agreed that both fire brigades would jointly support each other and pay for their own costs.
War news and letters from the front included the biggest massed attempt of artillery fire by the British and Germans since the war began. 
“Aerial activity is tremendous and the heaviest losses yet are recorded. 
This may be a prelude to a gigantic move forward by the infantry.” 
France declared “Victory alone can bring peace.”
Upcoming events in August included an exhibition in the town, auction sales, community picnics and meetings. 
The 2-day exhibition in the village was scheduled to be held in September.
Church services held at a district schoolhouse came up with a brilliant way of encouraging folks to attend, “Seats are free and one collection.”
Books were provided and a hearty invitation was extended to all folks.
Once again, the topic of a night constable was mentioned. 
An epidemic of petty stealing was spreading throughout Lloydminster. 
Fresh produce from gardens, cut firewood from laboriously stacked piles and lumber at building sites were going missing. 
The thief or thieves naively thought “exchange is not robbery” when two wheels off a fairly new wagon were replaced with old, worn-out ones. 
This wagon was in safe keeping as its owner was serving overseas at the warfront. 
Some folks thought they knew who was responsible and were keeping a watchful eye on their property. 
After saving only a desk and safe from a recent fire in the Massey-Harris warehouse, thieves later broke in and destroyed the typewriter and pried the desk open with a plough share.
Rainfall from March to July 1917 was a scant 2.77 inches. 
Referring to the weather’s many lame attempts to rain it was humorously printed, “If it is not careful it will make a mistake and we shall have some.” 
Recorded during the same previous five month span, there were 9.6 inches in 1915 and14.5 inches in 1916. 
Though crops were undamaged, there was a light frost northwest of Lloydminster in mid-August.
The Lloydminster Co-operative Association was selling baler twine at $18 for 500 feet. 
Selling out on their first car load, they were recommending farmers to place their orders soon as they could not guarantee when the next load would arrive by train. 
A competitor sold his limited supply at 18 cents per pound for 500 feet.
Fast forward 100 years…Lloydminster is now a significant dot on the map. 
The fire brigades have expanded for efficient community service. 
Thievery has increased with the theft of wagon wheels being upgraded to chrome wheels and rubber tires or the entire vehicle is stealthily removed from its owner. 
The prairie weather has given us more than our fair share of rain this season. 
Bearing in mind there’s always reason for optimism, the only constant in life is change.

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