The following is from pages 5 to 8 of
McConnell Little Town Lost, 1982
(Click on Picture to Enlarge)
VILLAGE OF MCCONNELL
When the western extension of the Canadian Northern Railway was surveyed through 12-15-23,
Mr. A.D. McConnell, who owned the N1/2 of this section, sold forty acres to the Canadian
National Railway for a townsite. Thus the basis for the town, to be known as McConnell, was
laid. The town was set out in blocks and lots. The road that runs parallel to the railway was
to be known as Railway Avenue, with two streets, Main Street and Academy Road.
Mr. J.H. McConnell was the first business man in McConnell, having built the first grain
elevator on the site of the present Pool Elevator, later sold to Canadian Elevator Co.
In 1910 the Corona Lumber Company (later Central Lumber and Implement Co.) opened a new business
and Mr. J.G. Simmie brought in a carlot of lumber and built a store, which opened for business
in 1911. A manse was also built in 1910 and in 1912 a hall was constructed. In 1915 a second
elevator was built by Mr. A.E. Arnold and was later sold to the Bawlf Company. So McConnell
now had two elevators, a hotel, general store and blacksmith shop. The hotel was built by
Joe Schaffer in 1912.
In 1917, Mr. G. McMillan was grain buyer for the Canadian Elevator Company, with Mr. R.M. Stone
agent for Bawlf. Mr. Simmie had the general store, Mr. Schaffer the boarding house and Mr. Wallace
the blacksmith shop. The section men for the railway were Mr. Frank Clark and Mr. Charles Kiech,
who later homesteaded in the Ste. Rose area. The station agent was Mr. G. McCormack and the minister,
Rev. Douglas. These men, together with the school teachers, comprised the business and
professional people at that time.
In 1918, the Central Lumber Company had been sold to the Monarch Lumber Company and in 1919, a
new business, Imperial Oil came to town, building an oil shed and putting up a bulk tank, which
was filled from "tank cars" brought up by the Canadian National Railway. Trains came up three times
a week, bringing in supplies and mail and taking out cream, eggs, grain and livestock. The small
community depended on the arrival and departure of the train for their every-day needs.
About 1920, Mr. Wallace left, so a new blacksmith, Mr. Anderson, arrived in town. By 1921, the
community was to see more changes - Mr. Angus Woods was now the agent for the Canadian Elevator
Company, with Mr. E.E. Hardy taking over the operation of the general store. Mr. Simmie became
the general agent for Imperial Oil. The Union Bank opened a branch which operated for a couple
of years. The bank building was later moved out to the present W. Bell farm where it was used as
a chicken house.
In 1922, Mr. Schaffer sold his hotel to Mr. W. Campbell and Jesse and Jay Richardson came to town
to operate the Imperial Oil and implement business, which was situated west of the present Ross
In 1923, further changes occurred. Mr. Campbell sold his hotel to Mr. and Mrs. Drewery of Basswood,
and left town. In 1924, Mr. Anderson sold his blacksmith business to Mr. William Arbuthnott.
Mr. E.E. Hardy continued to operate the general store. The two elevator companies, Bawlf and
Canadian were doing business in the area, Ross Richardson was operating a garage and the Imperial
Oil business. Mr. Simmie was their commercial traveller. Mr. Thomas Ball was foreman on the Canadian
National Railway with Mr. J. Meakin and Mr. William Atkinson as seconds. Mr. K. McLennan was the
In 1927, Cairns Brothers purchased the general store from Mr. Hardy and a new station agent arrived,
Mr. Hawes. Mr. and Mrs. Simmie had left town and Mr. Jesse Richardson and family were living in the
big house on the north end of the town and had become the grain buyer for Bawlf, buying grain,
selling coal and supplies. In 1925-26 Mr. Bob Watt Jr., was agent for the Canadian Elevator Company
for a short time. The Monarch Lumber Company was still in town but was no longer operating. Between
1926 and 1927 the Manitoba Pool Elevator Company took over the Canadian Elevators. Mr. Ross
Richardson moved a house into town from the "King" farm, which was later sold to the McConnell School
District as a teacherage.
In 1930, Mr. Drewery died and Mrs. Drewery continued to operate the boarding house and also opened a
little store in one corner of the building. About this time, the Bawlf agents were living in the
little house on Main Street across from the church. The unoccupied lots in town were looked after by
In 1932, Mr. L. Lutes came to town as station agent and was to make a lasting impression on the
sport's life of the community. He managed the ball team which brought many prizes and trophies to
McConnell. His influence had a lasting effect on the future teams in the area and the name of
McConnell was well respected in baseball circles.
Around this time, an open-air rink was set up between the store, which was owned and operated by
Mr. L.S. Findley and the former lumber company building, which was now operated by Ross Richardson,
dealer for Cockshutt Implement Company and also did commercial trucking, and later still, bought
the Imperial Oil business.