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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire
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W. M. "Billy" Smith built the first steam flour mill, at the foot of Main Street on the banks of the slough. It had a daily capacity of 40 barrels, later increased to 80.
The first hotel of any importance was the Blake and Wallace Hall, later called old Portage Hotel. Located on Portage Avenue between Garland and Main Streets, it was established prior to 187l. For a number of years court was held in the hotel and for a time it also served as the Portage post office.
No record of Portage la Prairie's history would be complete without a mention of John S. Sanderson, who holds the distinction of being the district's first pioneer to file a homestead claim.
John Sanderson and his home. Courtesy of the Manitoba Archives.
Mr. Sanderson, born at Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland, on Sept. 27th, 1841, came to Canada during the year of Canada's Con federation, settling first at Fergus, Ont., before coming west to Por tage la Prairie in 1872.
He filed his homestead in Winnipeg before coming here. On the northeast quarter of 35-12-7 he and his wife, the former Sarah Green, built a home where they raised five children. Their last sur viving child, Richard, retired in Portage la Prairie.
A provincial cairn was erected on the Delta road, a few miles north of the city, to honor Mr. Sanderson, and his descendants who are still farming land in the area.
Going back to 1870 - Thomas and Charles Logan built a flour mill in the west end of town. They later sold it to Billy Smith. Charles went farming, and Thomas went into a general store busi ness on Main Street.