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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire
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To date, this building has not been replaced by any other structure.
The town of Portage Ia Prairie had a debenture debt of $236,- 757.66 in 1887 and whole blocks of property could be obtained for one dollar. It was a rock bottom situation.
It took imagination and clever culinary ability for a housewife to make meals for a family out of the scanty stock on the pantry shelves. Luckily, meat could be procured by any settler who had a gun and the wherewithal! to buy a few shells for it.
A story rela ted to those times was a bou t a settler who decided to give his young son the chore of replenishing the larder in order that he could have more time for the farm chores. He was a man of few words and the hunting lesson was brief. Taking his boy into the woods, he walked a short distance with him until he came across rabbit tracks in the snow. Then, handing the boy the gun, he said, "See those tracks, son? Well, follow them because your dinner is at the other end."
The civic business was reorganized in 1888, however, and by the following year the town was back on the road to prosperity.
Thomas H. Metcalf and son, Charles, saw their grain and oatmeal business picking up; George Beattie opened an agency business in 1889 or 1890 and Michael Blake was hearing the doors of the old Portage Hotel swinging open more frequently. James Richmond, in his feed and livery stable business, also welcomed better times.