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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire
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the contract for the erection of the new Post Office and Customs House at Portage Ia Prairie. The price is $25,000.00."
When we consider the architecture of this building we can't help being amazed that it could be constructed at a fraction of the cost of some of the simpler, box-like structures of today!
Another Post Office was built on Saskatchewan Ave. in 1960, and since tha t time the one shown here has been the Portage Ia Prairie City Hall.
J ames Richardson & Sons, grain merchants and Stocks & Bonds, opened their business in Portage la Prairie in 1895 and have served the community ever since. This firm was the first exporter of grain into the U.S.A.; from both the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards to world markets; and first via Fort Churchill. (Since 1945 they have been located in the Anderson Bldg.)
Many of the present generation will, no doubt, find a news item, taken from the Weekly Review of August 1st, 1895, amusing or amazing. Quote - "Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Secord and four children reached Portage the other day after travelling all the way from Edmonton in a wagon. They made the trip, 1,100 miles, in 35 days and had a very pleasant time. Mr. Secord thinks he has the best team in the country. They have covered 2,100 miles since April lst."
Can you imagine 1,100 miles in a wagon with four children, during the mosquito season, being PLEASANT?l
It was nearing the turn of the century when more exciting things began to happen, one of these being the introduction of electric lights in 1896. Michael Blake was one of the original directors in this first electric light company.
Something which affected Portagers, as well as everyone in the British Empire, was the establishment of the "penny post" on De cember 25, 1897, which allowed a letter to be sent anywhere in the Empire for two cents.
Following that, much excitement WE.S created in Portage and across the country by the discovery of gold in the Klondike in 1898.
Many men endured the hardship of crossing swollen streams and guiding horses and donkeys up narrow, winding mountain trails to get to the place where gold nuggets were being panned.