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Manitoba Pool Elevator #91



The following is from pages 65 to 66 of
McConnell Little Town Lost, 1982

(Click on Picture to Enlarge)
Bill Winstone and Harvey Pollock

The Manitoba Pool was started in 1924, but we didn't have a Pool elevator until the crop year 1928.

I well remember that first Pool year 1924, because I had a good deal of wheat sown on newly-broken sod-land that was badly frozen by a series of early frosts. The Grain Trade asked for and got from the Board of Grain Commissioners a new grade of #2 Feed Wheat. However, the Manitoba Pool refused to recognize the new #2 Feed Wheat grade and all feed wheat was paid for as #1 and the #2 grade was dropped not only for Pool wheat but for all wheat. That was a first victory for the grower.

Right from the start of Manitoba Pool operations there was a policy of looking toward owning our local elevators, but in those first years our hopes were concentrated even more on development of the three Prairie Provincial Pools with the hope that they could replace the traditional trade practices with something better for the farmer. However, the financial collapse of 1929 defeated that.

I think that the first Pool Elevators appeared in 1925.

In 1927 our point was organized with a Provisional Board and the board members went out and canvassed the territory. They got a pretty good "sign-up" but our district was not large - with the Hamiota line to the south and the Strathclair line to the north. Head Office thought we should try anoher canvass which was done in the winter of 1927-28 and we got the "go ahead" sign from Head Office.

Provisional 1st Board McConnell Pool Elevator #91:
A.C. Little President
T.J. Caves Vice-President
Geo. N. McConnell Secretary
C.C. Brown, C. Watt, W.J. Pollock, and C.E. Winstone.

The board held a great many meetings and after much discussion and some advice from Provincial management it was decided to buy up and demolish the old "Canadian" elevator and build the new Pool elevator on that site, which was done.

J.C. Richardson who had been the local grain buyer for Bawlf was engaged as elevator agent and I believe that Andrew Pollock delivered the first wagon-load of wheat to the new elevator.

This local certainly owed a great deal to Geo. N. McConnell our first secretary who went on to become a director, Vice-President of Manitoba Pool Elevators and later a position on the Board of Grain Commissioners where he continued to serve the cause of western farmers until his death in 1962.

The local was fortunate in their agents, as it was in the hands of J.C. Richardson for thirty years and then Mac Hamilton for seventeen years, both men who could be relied on to do the best they could for their farmer customers.

Sometime along the way Pool Elevators did away with the "street spread" and the other grain companies had to follow suit and the savings to farmers were enormous.

In the thirties when the southern part of the province was plagued with severe drought and grass-hoppers, and the northern areas were free from those troubles, a motion was introduced at the Provincial Annual meeting sponsored by two representatives, one from Dauphin, I think, and Swan River, that all operating expenses be paid out of general revenue; and if a point was short of money for capital expense that it be paid by the stronger points on a loan basis, to be repaid later by the elevator association so helped. This was passed at the Winnipeg meeting I attended and felt that this was an example of "Co-Operation" at its best. Because McConnell was a small point, our contributions to that cause weren't great, and we always seemed to have enough to pay our way, but not much more.

Sometime in the late 1920's a judge from Nova Scotia, Lyman Duff was appointed to head a Royal Commission to consider the problem of Branch Lines in Western Canada. After spending a great deal of time looking into the matter and hearing the lamentations of the railway executives, the Commission recommended that a great many of the branch lines be abandoned. So in the summer of 1940 we had our first hearing by the Transport Commission on closing down the Hallboro-Beulah Branch. By working hard at it, we managed to convince the Transport Board that it was desirable to keep the line. We had to repeat the performance in 1960, and this has surfaced once again.