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service was commenced on the two lines on December 1, 1882.46 With the completion of the railway, trading centers sprang up overnight at Gretna, Stephen, and Morden.
Morden was laid out in 1883 where the Pembina Mountain Branch crosses the Dead Horse Creek. The town grew rapidly as business interests from Mountain City and Nelsonville, having been bypassed by the railway, quickly moved to Morden. Stephen, built a half mile north of Schoendorf and eight miles east of Morden, had arisen when railway construction reached that point in 1881. As railway construction con tinued on in the next years it was quickly eclipsed by Morden and businesses soon relocated there. By 1884 Morden had two elevators, a flour mill, numerous stores, and served as the trading center for the western portion of the West Reserve.
The first trading center in the present Rural Municipality of Rhineland, the main center in the eastern portion of the West Reserve for many years, was Gretna. Established in 1883, the town was laid out where the Southwestern Branch crossed the international boundary. The land on which the townsite was located had originally belonged to the village of Neuanlage, but was sold to the CPR in 1881.47 The name Gretna is believed to have come from W. W. Ogilvie who built the first elevator in Gretna in 1882-83. Ogilvie, as the story goes, originally came from the village of Gretna Green in Scotland and named Gretna after it. 48 It should also be mentioned that Gretna's elevator was one of the first square plan elevators built in western Canada.
Serving as the main trading center for the east half of the reserve and competing with Emerson as a port of entry from the United States, Gretna grew by leaps and bounds in the first years.
The first building to be erected in 1883 was that of Christian Pieper, an agent for Ogilvie and an early machine dealer. He was followed by other businessmen from other towns who saw new opportunities in this railway town. Erdman Penner, a Mennonite from Russia who had operated stores in Tannau and Niverville in the East Reserve, and Neuanlage in the West Reserve, moved his operation to Gretna in 1883. Enoch Winkler, a native of Waterloo County Ontario, came to Gretna in 1883 to start up a lumber business. Winkler had come to Manitoba in 1874 and had built up a lumber business in Emerson. He had also acted as an interpreter for the Mennonites in 1875, and thus recognized a unique business opportunity when the railway reached Gretna.
Other businessmen arriving in 1883 included: W. H. Tyson, an implement dealer from Emerson; 1. R. Hoffman, the first postmaster and formerly a merchant in Emerson; A. Goldie, who built the Anglo American Hotel; W. Schramm; W. 1. Potter; Levi William; Henry Ritz;