(The following information is from page 37 to 39 of Chronicles of Crandall, 1971)
In 1905 the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company surveyed a route
through this area for a main line to the Pacific coast, also a townsite on the
Robertson Ross homestead, 20-13-24 W1. The railway officials named the towns
in alphabetical order. Pope was named after Mr. J.C. Pope, the man who was
responsible for the purchasing of land for the right-of-way and townsites in this
section of the province.
The line was completed and with daily passenger service by June 1909.
The first Pope station was a box car by the crossing west of the village, with Mr.
and Mrs. Cox as the occupants. Mr. Cox was the first station agent. Some of the
others that followed were Jack Lalonde, Murray Summerland, Mr. Thomas, Mr.
McMann and Austin McKay. The big station was built in 1909 and was opened
by the holding of a community dance. The story is told that the night of the
dance (New Year's), a wild storm came up and all the people attending the dance
lad to stay at the station all night. Many did not arrive home until the following
afternoon. In later years it became the home of the section foremen.
Two trains that will be remembered by the older generation will be the
evening and morning locals. Many a traveller will remember spending the night in
the station to catch the 5:20 to Brandon North or Winnipeg, especially in the
winter when the roads were bad. One thing that will stand out in most people's
memories will be the huge pot-bellied stove in the waiting room being filled to
capacity with glowing briquettes. With the coming of diesels, the section and
siding were no longer required and the siding was taken up and the station
building offered for tender. Mr. Gordon White tore it down in 1961-62.
Pope had two grain elevators at its beginning, the Security and the
Atlas. After a number of years of service, the two companies amalgamated and
then became known as the Northern. The Atlas elevator about this time was
closed and later removed. The Northern Company eventually became part of the
National Grain Company organization. This list of grain buyers may not be
complete and not necessarily in order: Arthur Wright, Howard Mitchell, Mr.
Gibson, Percy Skuse, Alex Gilmore, Dave Sutherland, Jack Murdock, Herb
Lorimer, Charlie McDuffy, Archie Esplin, Allan Drysdale and Gordon White, the
Prior to Pope becoming a town, the first post office in the district was
east and south of the Scotia Cemetery and was named Logoch in 1884. Mr. and
Mrs. James Stevens, settlers from Scotland, took care of the postal duties for the
first number of years. It was taken over by Mr. William Angus in 1890 and
stayed in his hands until it was closed in August, 1932. Pope became a postal
centre on April 1, 1909 with Mr. Robertson Ross as postmaster and the office
was in his old log house. It is believed that the post office was moved to the
general store when Dick Marvin was the proprietor. The post office had been
kept in the store until 1966; after this date, it is kept in the Gordon White's
home. In January 1970, a petition was circulated in the Pope area and presented
to the Federal Post Office department stating the necessity of keeping this
service open to the public. We would like to believe that the petition helped, as
word came forth from Ottawa that this office would not be closed for the
present time. Mrs. Gordon White is the present postmistress.
Robertson Ross erected a building which was to become the Pope store.
Tennant Bros. of Arrow River put in the stock, with Bill as manager for two
years. Other storekeepers were: Dick Marvin, Ed Hardy, Jack Alien, Donald
Robertson and Gordon White. Gordon White sold his clothing line out by public
auction on April 10, 1963, and his groceries the same way on April 10, 1966.
The original store was burned to the ground in 1926. The building put
in its place (Anwoth Church) was also burned a few days before Christmas in
1941. Jack Alien was the proprietor of both stores. The fire broke out when the
family was getting ready to attend the Crandall Christmas Concert. People
coming to the concert that night in Crandall observed the glow in the sky
reflecting on the ice crystals in the air like a huge cross. The third store was built
by Mr. Donald Robertson.
Mr. and Mrs. George Arthur (the latter being Mable Kerr of Hamiota)
had a business enterprise consisting of shoemaking and repairing, harness making
and also the I.H.C. agency.
Alex Duguid was the first blacksmith, followed by Mr. Jim Robinson,
Their shop was directly north of the store. This building was bought by Mr. John
McGhee and moved to his farm. Mr. Angus MacKay also had a blacksmith
business and his shop was north of the Samuel Laird home.
Mr. Walter Beasley started up a garage business after the Second World
War but later moved to Oak Lake to carry on in the same line.
Mr. James Angus, Sr. and Mr. Bernie Strachan were two of the first
pioneers of the Pope Livestock Shipping Association. Mr. Lou Strachan, Mr. Clare
Anderson and Mr. William Coburn also took turns at the head of the
Association. No doubt many other men took an active part in this venture. When
Mr. John McCoubrey was councillor, he purchased a set of weigh scales from the
Village of Hamiota and had them installed at the stockyards at Pope for the
convenience of the farmer. Mr. Clare Anderson and his son Jack bought the
stockyard from the C.N.R. They dismantled it, took the material to their farm,
and rebuilt it for their own use.
The village had a hall (Maple Shade School), community-built barn for
horses, a manse and an outdoor skating rink (south of the store) which attracted
the people for many miles around.