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KOKO PLATZ (See map for location)
One of the most beautiful residential areas in Portage la Prairie is the one named Koko Platz which has a history all its own.
The land on which this housing project was developed was first the property of James Whiteford who received title from the Hudson Bay Company on Nov. 28th, 1869. He sold it to J. M. House the following year. The next owner, Nicholas Garland, brother of T. A. Garland and a great uncle of Mrs. N. W. McKillop, was a man long remembered. His name 'Nicholas' went with his appearance, long cur ly white hair and long flowing white beard. No one called him St. Nicholas, but almost everyone called him 'Santa Claus'. He remained a bachelor despite the fact that he always sat at the table reserved for ladies instead of at the mens' table in the hotel.
The land passed on to various owners for quite high prices until times changed and Margaret Roe, wife of Tom Roe, obtained the land in a tax sale.
Tommy Roe, as he was called, turned some of this land into a sort of salvage centre. Anything that was of no value to anyone was given to him and heaps of debris mounted through the years. If anyone ever wanted anything from the pile they just took it! However, he didn't consider it a business, but rather a hobby. He made his living by travelling across the country with his privately owned merry-go-round in the summer, and by cleaning city sidewalks with a horse-drawn rig in the winter time.
Mr. and Mrs. Roe never had faith in banks and when Mr.
Roe passed away in 1944 money was found hidden in the walls and various other places. With the money found, and with the land payment, Mr. Wilkinson who became the new owner, helped Mrs. Roe start her first bank account.
Mr. and Mrs. George Wilkinson built modern buildings and the area became an internationally known purebred stock farm. He retired in 1959, selling to Arden Christianson.
In July of 1960, Arden, John, and Conrad Christianson and wives became a corporation known as Koko Platz Development Ltd.
The name 'Koko Platz' has an interesting origin. Conrad Chris tianson says (Quote), "Before the first world war my father used to work with my uncle, Einar Eyvindson whom he nicknamed "Koko". (La ter on my uncle had this legally added as his second name.) When my father came back from the war "Koko" had a farm on the