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in 1895 and surveyed a new townsite. The townsite had originally been Hudson's Bay Company property, but had been sold to John Wardrop of Toronto. He had in tum sold the land to speculators in the area such as Ritz and Wide meyer of Gretna."

It is interesting to note that Gretna merchants played a significant role in Altona's early development. Not only did Ritz and Widemeyer own large chunks of Altona real estate, but Gretna merchants such as Christian Pieper, Otto Schultz, William Esau, Isaac Loewen, John Kehler all opened businesses in Altona. Apparently short term econom­ ic prospects outweighed town loyalties or more long range interests. Many of Gretna's original merchants had come from other centers when Gretna offered better opportunities and they were quick to see the advantages Altona offered. It should also be noted that early businesses in these towns were very fluid with ownership changing daily.

Altona developed quickly into an agricultural service center and in July of 1896 there were already three elevators, six general stores, three wood and machinery dealers, one blacksmith, a flax warehouse, a liquor store, a boarding house, a hotel and a school operating in the town." This rapid growth necessitated another subdivision of land

Altona's second Public School was built in 1899 and remained in use until it was torn down in 1938.

Credit: W. J. Kehler

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