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A couple of machine shops were doing a rushing business attend ing to the repairs of about 75 steam threshing outfits, worth $150,000 which were operating on the Portage Plains. Thirty tractors and portable steam engines were counted around the Watson Bros. Machine Shop one day!
Implement dealers could scarcely keep up with the demand for plows, patent stackers, seed drills, mowers and selfbinders.
All lines of business were well represented. Four banks did the business of the town and of the farming community. Two large breweries supplied the demands in that line of business, covering a large territory. A brickyard was operating east of the town. The semi-weekly Liberal, The Review and The Saturday Night were the eyes of Portage.
The registry system had divided Manitoba into four large districts, and with the introduction of the Torrens system a staff of from ten to fifteen registrars and clerks were employed in the Land Ti tles Office.
The big brick central school, which cost $35,000 furnished, was found to be inadequate to accommodate over 700 school children and ward schools had to be opened.
Six religious denominations had churches. The Roman Catholics were just completing a large new one, and the Methodists had erected a big brick edifice in 1891 at a cost of $13,000.
Town streets were lighted by arc lights, and over 1300 in candescent lamps were in use in public and private homes.
The telephone boasted an exchange list of 100 subscribers. Smith Curtis and George H. Webster, C. E., prepared plans for the damming of the Assiniboine River, for the purpose of providing water-power for electric and manufacturing purposes. The scheme involved the flooding of what was known at that time as "The Slough," to convert it into a beautiful lake.
Across the river, a valuable section of country was opened up by the N.P. & M.R., and settlers were flocking into it. It was adapted to mixed farming especially, and possessed great stores of valuable wood and shelter groves, along with rich native grasses, easily cut and cured into the best of hay.
It wasn't only these things that attracted people to the Portage Plains. The 'whole plain was underlaid at a depth of from 8 to 20 ft. with a water-bearing strata of sand that was easily tapped by driving