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There was more than Horatio Alger to Friesen's character, however. The depression made a deep impression on him, convincing him that local communities could provide a much better quality of life than the cities." He also became an ardent co-operator in the 1930's, albeit a non-ideological one, serving on numerous co-op boards and actively raising money for eva. While D. W. Friesen and Sons became a highly profitable business it was not untouched by the co-operative ethic. Employees over the years were allowed to enter profit sharing schemes, lending at least the appearance of co-operation. In a sense Altona reflected its premier businessman; aggressively entrepreneurial but firmly rooted in the co-operative ethic. Altona, as an historian described it, was "a benevolent company town with everything co­ ordinated about the co-operative" . 50

While Altona demonstrated the most dramatic growth after the war, other area towns also grew. These towns, however, lacking industrial development and administrative functions remained secondary centers with limited hinterlands. They did, however, remain important grain shipping points and served their immediate trading area with week to week requirements. They also provided a style of residential living not found in more industrialized towns.

Fig. 27 Population of Rhineland Towns 1941-1961
1941 1946 1951 1956 1961
Altona 1065 1438 1698 2026
Gretna 507 482 608 603 575
Plum Coulee 440 433 467 498 510
Rosenfeld 281 337 338 316

Source: Census of Canada; Statistic Canada.

Gretna Main Street -1955.

Credit: PAM

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