Langruth Past to Present
In the year 1907, two men of St. Thomas, Ont., got a touch of what was commonly known as the "Western Fever" and decided to seek their fortunes in the Canadian West. Their names were: George W. Langdon and W. Judson Ruth, later to form a real estate partnership of Langdon and Ruth. And now, forty-three years later, the former attempts this little sketch.
Western farm lands and fabulously-advertised Western townsites were attracting much attention of Easterners, not only for actual settlement, but more so for investments by thousands not intending to remove to the West. And thus these two scented an opportunity to try and help satisfy some of these peoples' ambitions, and of course to the mutual advantage of all concerned. So to the West.
After making inspection of a few of the many available and more likely propositions in prairie lands submitted by some of the numerous real estate firms and very eager land agents, they finally decided to at least have a look at a considerable area offered for sale to the west of Lake Manitoba. Now, this is the prospering and delightfullittle town of Langruth.
It was in the midst of a busy harvest season on the Portage Plains and there seemed to be a threshing outfit on about every second and third farm in a veritable sea of stooks stretching far and wide. A beautiful and unforgettable sight to the two Easterners especially as they had the full benefit of this magnificent view from a livery democrat driven out from Portage la Prairie. The driver delivered a letter from the owners of the land to the late Mr. Thos. Robertshaw of North Lakeland, who joined the party in giving the district a casual look-over. This land, covered as it was with poplar trees and willow scrubs, appealed to them as being more Ontario-like than the open prairie, besides having the advantage of established markets and with a new branch railway line pointing through it. In fact, the railway grade had already been constructed to a couple of miles further north though the steel had not been laid. A very important consideration was the terms under which this block might be handled being such as to agreeably correspond with their financiallimitations. So not withstanding the soilof some of it at least was not exactly the best they had seen elsewhere in the West. Such disadvantage was easily offset in their minds by advantages evident not to mention other advantages they thought they could foresee and which the years have since vindicated. So after a later inspection, they finally secured what appeared to be a choice eight sections of this block. This is to be only a starter for their proposed operations.
The Kinosota ridge, the most prominent of many former beaches of prehistoric Lake Agassiz which more or less are parallel to the Western shore of the present Lake Manitoba appealed to them not only as a splendid roadbed but as the vertebrae of a future magnificent mixed-farming district only awaiting development. This ridge extending a distance of approximately 60 miles to near Kinosota, the site of the former Hudson's Bay Company trading post, near the head of the lake and an average of about four or five miles out from its Western shore had been used as a trail no doubt ever since the first habitation of man in these parts and only a few years previous had been surveyed by the Government as a public road. It was at that time a quiet picturesque driveway along the gently winding ridge and not as yet disfigured by motor traffic, though the travelled pa th was for the most part quite narrow and more or less, encroached upon by trees. Another trail, also then recently surveyed followed the more open country near the lake. It was used by early settlers much more than the Kinosota trail. It was commonly known as the Sandy Bay Trail but the registered name is the T otogan T rail. This trail has long since been abandoned.
Another recent improvement by the Government, though taxed to the assessable lands over a period of thirty years, was the construction of drainage ditches across the splendid slope towards the lak e in a little over four townships' area. These ditches, though placed at strangely irregular distances apart, were fulfilling admirably their intended purpose in removing the surplus water that formerly accumulated behind the ridges and kept the land to the East of them constantly, more or less,. water-logged and practically unfit for cultivation.
In addition to the dormant agricultural possibilities of the district, the winter fishing on Lake Manitoba was already an industry of importance, especially to the early pioneers. Though the hardy fishermen of those days were obliged to haul their frozen catch many miles to market, chiefly to Westbourne and Gladstone. They didn't have comfortably heated vans either. It was the open sleigh and faithful slow-moving team. But the catch was usually wonderful and well need it be for the prices were very meagre indeed. It was a common sight to see loads of frozen fish, mostly jackpike and pickerel, piled up on sleighs and which after a haul of perhaps 20 or 30 miles, frequently in frigid weather, brought only two or three cents a pound. One old-timer says as low as half a cent a pound.
At that time and for a number of years previous a colony of Icelandic people settled at or in the vicinity of Big Point and a few others, further north along the lake. Another small colony had settled at Marshiand where they found favorable grazing lands along the Big Grass Marsh. To the south in the Lakeland district there had been some sett/ers for years, though with very little land under cultivation in most cases, as also further north sparsely scattered settlements as far as Kinosota and principally along the lake. Here and there a thriving rancher occupied a choice grazing range, also chiefly on the lake front. Big Point was a favorite ranching site for years before the advent of the Icelandic people. Of these early ranchers an outstanding successful one was the late Mr. Matt Hall, Sr., of Lakeland, a man very popularly known to most everyone in this part of the province.
The nearest settlers to the present Langruth at that time were about two or three miles in each direction. To the east was Big Point Hall and which was probably among the first community halls in the province. To the north Thos. G. Moorehead and Robert Long had located a few years previously, the former having a little store with a Post Office in it named Hollywood after his former home town in Ireland. To the west were Arthur Wright and Robert Grey and to the south Henry Culley had recently taken up a Hudson's Bay section. Within these limits there was not a resident or clearing.
The partners had a special friend in the Hon. Hugh Armstrong, who was then the Provincial Treasurer, and who accompanied the writer in waiting on the C.N.R. General Manager with the result that the station site was definitely established. Of course, this meant a townsite. A half interest in 80 acres adjacent was transferred to the Railway Company as was the custom with townsites. The Company agreeing to do the surveying into town lots. However, the first survey, made in 1908, followed a set plan for C.N.R. townsites regardless of existing physical features with the result that a resurvey was necessary in order that Main Street would conform as near as possible with the ridge road and also be widened. This meant considerable delay as later the straightening of a be nd in this road at the southern end of the townsite. The ridge having been followed for better crossing of the little creek known to old timers as McKeever's Creek and no doubt so-called from being at one time the favorite camping ground of some "improved Scotchman". This same McKeever may have found this to be a good place for the trapping of beavers as the wings of a former beaver dam existed and may have existed for very many years.
The Railway Company requested the writer to suggest a name for the new townsite and as there appeared to be no existing name for the district, four different names were sub mitted. The first on the list was "Armstrong" and the last, a combination of the partners' names i.e., "Langruth". It seemed a rather unlikely name when the writer wrote it down for the first time but Langruth was selected as being presumably the only one on the list which would not be duplicated in Canadian Post Offices.
Meanwhile, two and a half sections of the last to the east of the townsite had been disposed of to Haney brothers, James and Fred. They were from Strathroy, Ont. James Graham was of the same place. He was the purchaser of a sec tion to the west of the townsite and moved to their lands in the spring of 1910. Malcolm McLarty, of Goderich, Ont., purchased a half section to the south and moved with Mrs. McLarty to their land a little later the same spring. Haney brothers brought with them a number of men to clear the land and construct buildings. They also brought a considerable amount of equipment. At that time the steel had been laid to Langruth and they arrived on the first train carrying passengers and freight.
Previous to that, for a number of years the terminus of the Oakland Branch was for a time Delta and later T otogan. A little hamlet on the White Mud River, a few miles up from Cawdor, then known as the Landing or McArthur's Landing. A townsite had been surveyed at Totogan and a number of lots sold but all buildings of this little town soon disappeared with the extension of the railway further north.
In April of the same year, 1910, the writer, who had in the meantime taken over his partner's real estate interests, brought with him from Ont. a practical builder to construct the first buildings on the townsite. His name was Alfred T. Williams. Mr. Williams made the first clearing on the townsite and constructed a temporary house for himself a little east of where Hannesons' store stands. Until then the only indications of a coming town were the survey lines marking the streets and lots. Mr. William was Langruth's first resident. Indeed, Mr. Williams reported seeing a moose on the townsite shortly after his arrival and, of course, coyotes and jumpers were much more numerous than at present. Coyotes especially of ten made the nights hideous with their mournful howling. Also an occasional bear prowled about.
As it appeared that a public stopping place was the most needed building to get the proposed new town, the writer had Mr. Williams construct what was known as the Boarding House. But before this was completed three enterprising men of Big Point, who were: Bjorn Bjamarson, Freeman Helgason and A.S. Helgason (Sophie) formed into a partnership known as The Langruth Trading Company. It was a general store building. It proved to be a going concern from the start. It was on the site of the present modern building of this firm and which has continued under the able management of Mr. Bjarnarson except for an interval of three years when he and his brother Karl operated an implement business just south of the store. The store business had been taken over by Helgason Bros., joined later by C.F. Lindal. The original building which was enlarged and improved from time to time was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1936.
Mr. Williams and his able gang were kept busy during the next few years constructing buildings both in the village and country. He passed away in January, 1920 at his residence at the south of the village where the writer and family have since resided. Mr. Williams was for a few years a police Magistrate.
As for the boarding house, it was operated by three or four different parties. The first being Wm. Lightfoot, who came West with the Haneys. It was, of course, traded by the writer on farm lands and in the spring of 1913 was secured by Wm. Grant, a hotel-man of Portage la Prairie and enlarged to give Langruth a hotel. The boarding house was the southern part of the present Ridge Hotel as far back as the kitchen..
The next building was Robert Long's implement warehouse and a residence, or at least a stable, which was used as a residence. It was used as a house while they were moving in from the farm. They moved with their little nephew adopted son, Charlie McLaughlin, who as C. W. McLaughlin was destined to become one of the most successful business men. He had the expanding implement, auto and garage business after Mr. Long's death in 1919 and until his own untimely death in 1948. Two years before his death, Mr. McLaughlin replaced the former buildings by a modern garage and implement building which was unfortunately destroyed by fire in January of the present year. In fact, Langruth has had much more than its share of destructive fires.
Going back to 1910, Mrs. Williams having arrived from Ont., and Mrs. Long were our first women residents. Mr. Williams next constructed a residence for himself across the street from Mr. Long's and which also was destroyed by fire a few years ago. A few smaller buildings were built (ater in the years and in 1910 the new town was off at a fair start.
In the spring of 1911 two brothers, also of Big Point, Finnbogi and Erlendur Erlendson (Fred and Ed) constructed our second general store and for a number of years carried on a very successful and expanding business. This building was on the site of the present modern store of Johanson Bros. Within three years Erlendson Bros. had also constructed the two finer residences opposite their store. The first baby born in Langruth was Arnold, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Erlendson. He was born in 1912. A little later the first baby girl, Catherine, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Erlendson.
The same spring Mr. Williams constructed a manse for the Lutheran congregation and the minister, Rev.- B. Thorarinson, moved in from Big Point. Langruth got its first Post Office in 1911, with B. Bjarnarson as Post master.
Ivor Bjornson and Sigurdur Finnbogason were pioneers of 1911 and R.F. Matthews, from Ont., who had purchased a half sec tion of the original block, for a time occupied the Boarding House. Mr. Matthews later carried on a very successfullumber business for a number of years.
In the later part of 1911, John Hanneson and Magnus Johnson opened a barber shop and pool room which was taken over by Mr. Hanneson and his brother Tryggvi, who withdrew from the firm to enlist in the First World War. They took it over the following year. In 1947 the original building was replaced by a very substantial and modern one, a great credit to Mr. Hanneson and to Langruth. Now, Mr. Hanneson has his very able partners, his two sons, George and Leonard.
Until 1912, Poplar Leaf School was the nearest school, a cement building, which although getting slightly age-worn, still stands approximately four mile south-east of Langruth. The first Langruth children were driven to school with J. Falconer as their first teacher and R.F. Matthews as the first van driver. That year Langruth School was constructed of substantial brick and formed a consolidated district of 37 sections. The first trustees were Thomas Moorehead, Robert Long, Bodvar Johnson, Chas. Parsons and A.T. Williams.
The school served as a community centre, church service, social events and public meeting place in general. In 1919 it was necessary to divide the teaching room in two and a few years later a separate building was constructed for a third room and later a fourth room was added. At present rooms are over-crowded and it is necessary to use space in the Community Hall for a fifth class. A substantial new six-room school building is now contemplated, thus showing the growth of the population during the pa st few years. The present trustees are: Mrs. V. Bjarnarson (chairrnan), Mrs. G.W. Langdon, V.A. Johnson, H. Tomasson and Helgi Thompson.
In 1912 Edward Armstrong opened our first butcher shop. I. Olafson has the first livery business and John Oliver had the first blacksmith shop. J.H. Johnson had the first "fish house".
Mr. Williams was the proud possessor of the first automobile in the year 1911, which proved to be quite a hit. Many would pay a small fee for the thrill of having their first auto ride at our 1st picnic. During the years that followed, Langruth kept up well with the auto pace so that by the year 1920, auto traffic had apparently become such a public menace that our first Lakeview council found it necessary to pa ss a by-law limiting the speed to ten miles an hour in the village of Langruth and Amaranth. The speed limit elsewhere in the municipality was 30 miles an hour.
A second picnic was held the following year and with such success that the ambitious committee of 1913 decided to make it something specia1. In fact, they invited the premier, Hon. Rodmond Roblin. Mr. Roblin graciously accepted and plans were la id for a real gala day. The weather proved ideal and the people flocked from far and near. Not everyone then had a auto but close to one hundred were parked along the streets. We also had an special train from Portage. A Scotch piper arrived to lead the jubilation of the "baby town's third birthday". Eleven baseball teams took part in a grand tournament and, of course, most of Sandy Bay were camped north of the village for a few days. The premier got a rousing reception and expressed himself as surprised at the big turn-out. He predicted great th ings for the district. Mr. Roblin was followed by our local member, Hon. Dr. Armstrong, and also Arthur Meighen, the new member for Portage la Prairie and destined to become Premier of Canada. Mr. Roblin assured us that the telephone system would be extended to Langruth the following year and that the railway would shortly be extended about fifteen miles further north. This letter request by the way did not come from the Langruth people. They were quite satisfied to be at the end of the line. That picnic was a real "hum-dinger" and it put Langruth on the map. Of course, some of our good friends were kind enough to ascribe much of that hilarity of the occasion to the fact that the Ridge Hote! had just recently been opened. To say the least, Billy Grant did a rushing business that day. That of course, was prior to the days of the Liquor Control Act.
A new townsite was shortly laid out at the end of the proposed extension. It was named Amaranth as suggested by Councillor Robt. Johnson. It came from the name of the township which he and his brothers "Ed" and "Jo" Cooper had come from in Ont.
Like many other Western towns aí some time or other in their history Langruth had its own little oil excitement. Billy Grant was drilling a well behind the hotel. D.C. McArthur, a geologist and a former Landing boy, used to stop at the hotel and examined from time to time the samples brought up by the dril1. When drilling was down a considerable distance, some joker one night poured a little oil down the pipe. This led to considerable excitement and a party came up from Portage. Also a supposed oil man from the E.S.A., who pronounced the possibilities as really good, at least according to the Portage Review, which carried a front page article on the subject. Of course, our "oily" hopes soon vanished but a heavy suspicion rested on Billy Grant.
That year Steini B. 0lson, of Big Point, established our first separate lumber business which he successfully operated for a number of years. Mr. and Mrs. Olson are now residing at the Coast. Also in 1913 Gudni Thorleifson, of Big Point, took over the blacksmith business and later the implement business from Bjarnarson Bros., which together with the auto business Mr. Thorleifson continued for a number of years in a new location. S.B. Benedictson and John Finnson were pioneers of 1913 and Wm. Holmes, who later operated a dray which was taken over by his son Alexander, who retired only the present year after thirty years in the business.
In October, 1913, M. .Iohnson's pool room and barber shop just north of the hotel took fire in the night and there was much excitement in the successful effort to save the hotel which was full of guests. Late, in 1915, Hanncson's store was constructed on the site, Mr. Johnson having re-built across the street.
The outstanding event of 1914 was of course the First World War and we are proud to record that the people of Langruth and district were soon taking their part liberally in patriotic efforts and that a number of their finest young men volunteering for Overseas service. As these magnificent efforts in our community in both World Wars is being fully dealt with elsewhere in this volume I only wish to add that we believe the entire district of Lakeview has a war record surpassed by few municipalities of its size and population in the West. To those who actively served their country our highest esteem and admiration, and those who did not return we hold in revered memory.
May 16th, 1914, the village had anarrow escape from a terrific bush fire which started about two miles to the south and was carried by an unusually high wind through the heavy bush east of the railway, consuming everything in its path. It also leaped across the railway as it neared the village. Langruth had at that time outside communication only by railway telephone line, although the local lines were then under construction and a number of car-loads of poles were piled up on the station grounds. The C.N.R. sent up a special train from Portage to protect the station buildings and these poles and to remove some cars of their ties and lumber. In the meantime some of the poles of the railway line got burned down, thus closing off all comrnunication and the Portage Review carried a large headline article to the effect that by last reports from Langruth, there was little hope of saving the village. Fortunately, the next issue of the paper could state that "the residents, men, women and children, by backfiring and bucket work finally won a heroic fight against the fIarnes."
By June 30th the local lines had been installed.
The same year, 1914, the !ate Mr. Pickell, the enterprising publisher of the Portage Review established the Langruth Weekly Herald which continued to faithfully serve Langruth and district and the districts further north during the following eleven years and proved to be a valuable contribution to the advancement of these communities. Unfortunately, the financial re turns to Mr. Pickell were not at all commensurate with the paper's usefulness and accordingly it was obliqcd to cease publication. Local writers contributed freely to its columns and the late David S. Sands, of Bluff Creek, will ever be associated in our minds with the Herald for his very interesting and witty column. Also our Mrs. Thorleifson, as "Hecla" contributed a column in her usual able and pleasing stvle and "Big Ridge" spent many an hour endeavorina to boost things through its pages.
It is interesting to note the names of the various local advertisers who took space in Vol. 1, No. lof the Herald. They are given in order beginning with page 1:
Carl F. Lindal became associated with the Langruth Trading Co. in 1914 for a couple of years and later carried on a butcher business almost continuously until his death in September last. Mr. Lindal possessed considerable music al ability and took part generously in social events as well as frequently directing the music at Lutheran church services and presiding at the organ. Shortly after he came to Langruth Mr. Lindal instituted the Langruth Brass Band which we were quite proud of. However, it only existed two or three years. Some of its members enlisted for Overseas service and the Band never revived following the war.
That year Mrs. Anna Baker constructed a boarding house which she successfully operated for a number of years, A.S. Helgason withdrew from the Trading Co. and upon hís return from Overseas opened the first confectionery, Miss Valdimarson opened a millinery store and Wm. Grant disposed of the hotel to Thos. W. Brown and moved to Amaranth. Also Dr. H.J. Hjaltson became our first resident doctor. We had other doctors over a number of years but the past few years have been without a resident one. However, we have been efficiently served by our very faithful nurses, Mrs. Bjarnarson and Mrs. Matthews. Percy Halldorson was also a pioneer of 1914 and Mrs. Sigurborg Gottfred.
I wish to men tion two of our outstanding teachers. Mr. G.I.H. Garrett arrived from London, Ont., in 1914 and Langruth was his first school in the West. Mr. Garrett later became one of the outstanding Collegiate teachers of the province and was for a number of years Principal of Portage la Prairie Collegiate. Mrs. Thorleifson who taught for a total of seven years, besides being a faithfuJ and efficient teacher, has always taken on outstanding part in all good causes of the community. Mrs. Thorleifson instituted our first Sunday School.
I wish to add that our womcn's patriotic organizations during both wars was simply marvelous. The groups were: Womcn's Institute and Ladies' Aid Society. What community could fail to be outstanding with such wonderful women. I wish to mention specially another who has been an outstanding leader in all worthy community efforts and beginning with our Langdon pioneer days, namely, Mrs. Helga Hanneson.
Thus far I have been dealing with pioneer conditions together with some pioneer events and personages, being the main purpose of this "sketch". From now on I propose touching only on some special matters.
The year 1916 was important for the institution of the Langruth Agricultural Society and the holding of our first Fall Fair. This organization existed as a going concern during the following nine years and each year conducted a very successful Fair which became recognized as among the best fairs of the province for a small community. Other activities directed by this Society was plowing matches, dressed poultry shows, two short courses in Agriculture and later Boys' and Girls' Fairs. Thus the Agricultural Society proved to be of incalculable value in promoting good farming and good domestic work. Its first officials were: President, Matt Hall; First Vice-President, Thos. Gaunt; Second Vice-President, Bodvar Johnson; Secretary- Treasurer, G.W. Langdon. Other directors were: Magnus Peterson, Martin Jackson, Joe Johannson, A.N. Smith, S.B. Olson and O.H. Hanneson.
By the year 1917 many of the rate-payers of the district had become desirous of breaking away from the large Rural Municipality of Westbourne and forming a separate municipality. In addition to the inconvenience of the municipal office being at Gladstone we desired to retain all possible business for our own district. Also, it would appear that the eastern portion of Westbourne was at times not getting equitable treatment in some matters. A petition was therefore sub mitted to the government and a large delegation accompanied its presentation requesting the separate municipality. However, Westbourne Council made certain suggestions to the government including that the eastern part have three councillors instead of only two as previously and this delegation accepted for the time being and until after the war.
In the early part of 1920 a petition was again submitted to the government to form a separate municipality. The rate-payers of the present Lakeview area had voted favorably on a by-law to construct a "Memorial Agricultural Hall" which project was fostered by the Agricultural Society and to be in memory of the men of the district who had fallen in the First World War. But although the cost of this proposed building was to be taxed only to the lands in this area there appeared to be unnecessary delay on the part of the Westbourne Council in taking further necessary steps to secure the funds for this purpose, thus reviving the separate municipality question. The writer was elected a councillor of Westbourne with a view of promoting this proposed break-away and in drafting the petition in this connection suggested the name "Lakeview" as appropriate. Again a large delegation of our rate-payers waited on the government and this time our request was granted and Lakeview was proclaimed a municipality as at April IOth, 1920. Lakeview originally included approximately ten townships and extended as far north as the north end of township 20. It was divided into six wards.
The new municipality had its little troubles at the start but the following year the Auditor's report gave us the following commendation: "Vour municipality has every appearance of being efficiently and economically managed and if you could only collect a reasonable amount of your outstanding taxes you would be in a very favorable position."However, within a few years Lakeview was feeling the effects of the general depression which was putting so many municipalities and business firms in financial difficulties. The situation in Lakeview was aggravated by reason of many soldier settlers having abandoned their lands, leaving unpaid taxes and such lands being owned by the Government were not subject to tax sale or further taxable. In many instanees there were some excuses for these abandonments, as many of the lands selected for the soldiers by the government were inferior. Lakeview eventually came through it all successfully, thouqh it was necessary to request the government toadminister direct the areawhere there was the most difficulty in collecting taxes, namely, the northern two wards area. This request the government assented to as at September 1st, 1927, and from that time Lakeview has had little difficulty in financing its curtailed area of approximately six townships and as now divided into four wards.
I might mention two special enterprises - both under the Reeveship of Mr. Hall, narnely, the establishment of the Muskrat Ranch in the Grass Marsh area and the Community Pasture comprising 45 sections, also in the western area. The former has yearly been bringing substantial re turns to the municipality and the latter is proving a great boon to the farmers and stock men. Also about that time we got a good start in improved road machinery. Under Mr. Thordarson's reeveship the Council has been keeping well astride the times in road machinery and doing considerable splendid work, particularly in road building. Also, the present year saw the construction of a substantial new municipal building, a credit to the municipality and, of course, municipal men in particularare quite proud of it. And although our taxes have been elimbing a little due much to increased school expenses and the general inflation, the rate-payers no doubt feel they are getting good value for their money. The following comprise the present Lakeview Council: Reeve, G.F. Thordarson; Councillors, J.L. Gardiner, A.M. Johnson, V. Bjarnarson and R. Bott, with J.E. Morrison, Secretary-Treasurer.
This implement warehouse was in 1920 secured by R.L. Stevenson to open our first separate garage and later he and E.P. Gibson constructed a hall of part of this building and an annex which was used for public and social meetings until the construction of our first community hall.
Mr. and Mrs. Gibson warrant some special mention. Mr. Gibson was our assessor at times. He was a elever cartoonist and frequently delighted audiences with his skili and humor. Mrs. Gibson was our Municipal Secretary-Treasurer from shortly after Lakeview was established until September, 1927. Mr. and Mrs. Gibson are now residing at the Coast.
As to the proposed Memorial Agricultural Hall, our first Lakeview council decided not to proceed with this project in the meantime as the general outlook did not warrant it and particularly on account of the high cost of material and labour at the time.
In 1923 Langruth Community Club was organized and the immediate undertaking of its members was the dismantling and removal to Langruth of a former community building at Marsbland which had been very generously donated by the Icelandic people for that purpose. This material we used in constructing the basement portion of our first Community Hall. It was roofed over at that and from time to time was further extended and improved as funds were raised for the purpose until eventually we had a very nice hall indeed. That is until early one morning in October, 1934, when our prized community hall was discovered to be in fiarnes and nothing could be done to prevent its total destruction. A second and very substantial building was soon under way. It was of first class material throughout and built with considerable forethought and care. In fact, we considered it a model community building. Full basement with kitchen and dressing rooms, fine stage and a gallery across the rear. We were indeed proud of it. But alas, it had only been completed a few weeks when it also burned down one morning in March, 1935, the fire beginning at about the same hour as with the former building. The ori gin of these fires remains a mystery though no doubt both were of incendiary origin.
A temporary building was used for the next two years when we constructed our third community hall, though on a much humbler scale than the preceding one. However, this structure has been gradually improved from time to time until we have our present splendid building, a credit to the community. Innumerable enjoyable functions have taken place within its walls as with our former halls and they have been of inestimable value in knitting our people together in worthy undertakings of social, educative and patriotic natures. Indeed, the very splendid teamwork of our community could not have been possible without our community centre.
Langruth and district have continued to forge ahead, especially during recent years. Up- to-date business have been constructed from time to time and many very nice residences both in the town and country. Besides our splendid municipal building, a beautiful and modern theatre of Quonset construction was built the present year, a great credit to the enterprising proprietor, Mr. Joseph Karaz.
We have a very ni ce Veterans' Hall with annex for the Ladics' Auxiliary, a new curling rink was constructed two years ago, a new school projected as already referred to and the people have voted favorably for a Hospital which will have Government assistance in the construction. In December last Langruth was connected up with the Provincial Hydro System and which is to be extended to the farms next year. New lands are each year brought under cultivation and the country beams with prosperity. Indeed, the people are proud of their little town and district and are optimist ic about the future.
My former partner "Jud" Ruth now residing at the Coast visited us two years ago and it was all a surprise to him. The last time he was here Langruth didn't have a name and there was not a clearing on the spot. He later wrote us: "Langruth is one of the best little towns in the West."