Turn the clock back to 1961 and beyond. Roam those old dirt roads once more and visit friendly neighbours you knew so well. From its beginnings before 1930 to its dismantlement in 1961, making way for the Squaw Rapids Hydro-electric Dam, to the day in 1962 when the river rose and water erased footprints forever, there's a lot to remember and to comment on.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mossy Vale School Class: War Dramatization (1944)

The theme of this interesting picture, taken behind the school on the north side of the Tote Road (at the top of the hill where the kids used to slide down), was the Second World War and the contribution that local Canadians were making overseas. The play may have been penned by Miss Leitz. Madeline, who played the part of the nurse, remembers that the school was overly warm during the performance, and that she unfortunately fainted. At the time, some of her classmates felt it was funny that it was the "nurse" who became ill and required attention. It can now be added that the nurse from the school play went on to spend a long and dedicated career in nursing in Windsor, Ontario. Miss Leitz obviously chose well.

From left: Madeline Morris, Art Wall, Bernice Nelson, Betty Smith, Adeline Wall, Beatrice Nelson, Allan Halladay, Alice Reimer, Jackie Wall, Robbie Symonds, Olga Wall, Clarice Nelson, Joyce Nelson, Cecil Reimer, Dale Nelson. Teacher: Miss Leitz.

Photo courtesy: V. Weighill

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Smiths and Browns: Early homesteaders

(Top photo) Bonnie, Tom, Thelma, and Dorothy Smith, and Duff Brown.
(Centre photo) Dorothy, Tom and Wesley Smith.
(Bottom photo) Walter Brown.

Photos Courtesy: A. Smith

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fishing at Mossy Vale

(Top two photos) Hjalmer Larson, a Reno Hill neighbour and ardent Mossy Vale fisherman, thought "The Petaigan" was a great spot for fishing. He used to drive his Model A down to the bridge and fish off the shore there. Following a rain it could be a pretty muddy place, a fact demonstrated by the caked blotches that are visible on the pants he wore the day the first photo was taken, where he proudly displays his prize catch of the day!

(Bottom photo) George Northrup with Pete Enns, successfully back from a day of fishing. Is this a rare snap of Pete's yard and driveway? ... Looking into this classic picture of Pete with hands in back pockets, brings to mind his unique character and signature whistle. He was in some ways quite possibly, the quintessential Mossy Valer.

Photos courtesy: H. Larson

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Teachers of Mossy Vale School: 1943 to 1961

The school at Mossy Vale was basic, small and until close to the end, without electricity. The "Library" was a small cupboard in the corner and the wood stove in the opposite corner would turn red when stoked but throw marginal heat further than a few feet. Yet, through the shear determination and dedication of a handful of women who "chose" to come and teach there, the children were treated to fine learning experiences. Phyllis Hagen was the first (Sep-Dec 1943) and Louise Kemp was the last (1960-61). In between were: Irma Leitz (Jan-June 1944), Edith (Young) Vereschagin (1944-46), Helen Geppert (1946-47), Marian (Adamson) Larson (1947-49), Thelma Hamilton (1949-52), ? (1952-53), Betty Oram (1953-54), ? (Sep-Dec 1954), Phyllis (Bradshaw) Atkinson (Jan-June 1955), Irene Sawatzky (1955-57), Illa (McCann) May (1957-58), Coral Backstrom (1958-59), and Anne (Boyarchuk) Morris (1959-60).

Your assistance with the provision of missing dates and/or corrections where inaccurate will be greatly appreciated.

Photo courtesy H. Larson (Lavern Larson: the last bat at Mossy Vale School, 1961 or 1962)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mossy Vale School Students, Circa 1948

From left: (back) Cecil Reimer, Madeline Morris, Doreen Brown, (middle) Joan Reimer, Alice Reimer, Jack Morris, (front) Clara Hamilton, Marvin Reimer, Lloyd Reimer, George Reed, Marina Morris.

Photo courtesy: B. Boschman

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Leaving Mossy Vale

The recently built home in this "moving" picture taken in December, 1961, is evidence that Geordie and Katie Smith had intended to spend their lives farming at Mossy Vale. While still wielding hammer and saw in 1959, one might imagine their shock upon learning from Saskatchewan Power Corporation agents that the dreams they were building, were not to be completed. Here, on an otherwise bright and cheery morning, Katie and Geordie document the last of several truck hauls they had made during those final days, and more importantly, preserve their last memory of the home they never got to finish and would never visit again.

Photo courtesy: K. Smith

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mapping the Flood Basin of the Projected Hydroelectric Dam

This map detail of the district with land elevations drawn on it, circa 1959 and possibly created for (or by) the Saskatchewan Power Corporation (just guessing—correct or additional info would be appreciated), appears to anticipate the extent to which Mossy Vale would be flooded. The blue overlay (added by me) approximates the water levels as they are today. The locations of the Petaigan Bridge and the Mossy Vale School have been added to the map. (Guessing again, but it would appear that the heavily shaded quarters refer to "farmer owned" lands while lighter shading might indicate rented or leased lands. At the time the map was likely created it seems logical to assume that the Power Corporation was preparing to negotiate the takeover of land they would require for the lake they were about to form.
(As with all posts on the Mossy Vale Saskatchewan blog, "click" on the image to open a larger version. An additional click will often reveal a larger image yet. In the case of this map, it does!)

Source of map: unknown

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Sobering Image: Petaigan River, Bridge and Shore, 1962

As I was growing up I used to wonder what the gradual flooding of Mossy Vale would have looked like as it occured, and now I know. By comparison to the earlier post showing the Petaigan River before inundation, this is anything but the picturesque spot "our river" represented. Surely a memory we'd like not to have, or to dwell on, and difficult to post here, but to my mind worth acknowledging. This is an example of the cost of progress.

Photo courtesy: A. Hamilton

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mossy Vale School Students, 1957-58

A lunch hour photo on a warm-enough day after Christmas. A section of the portable concert stage has been removed from the school and lies temporarily propped against the wall and awaiting storage while a couple of wooden benches, also for the concert, lie upside down in the snow on the right. From left: Kenny Brown, Jim Adamson, Brian Smith (a.k.a. Boots's Friend, kneeling), Patsy Brown (standing), Verna Reimer (in doorway), Lloyd Wall (sitting in front), John Smith, Warren Adamson. Missing from photo: Harvey Reimer, who was away with his parents who were cooking at a Cumberland House camp, and Rita and Bruce Adamson who lived close to the school and therefore went home for their lunch.

Photo courtesy: I. May

Mossy Vale School Teacher, 1958

Teacher (1957-58), Illa McCann, with student, Bruce Adamson.

Photo courtesy: I. May