Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Text Size

Watts

Later Edition of Hanna Hornets Later Edition of Hanna Hornets

 

Watts is approximately 7 miles west of Hanna. The railway came through late in 1912. Before this time some say that the location went by the name of Copperville.

The name Watts was the surname of a C.N.R. employee. The quarter section Watts is located on was reserved for the townsite when the railway survey was made in 1910 and 1911. The land was never filed on for a homestead. The station and loading platforms were built soon after the steel was laid.

In 1913 Mr. J.L. Boyd started a feed mill and livery barn which he operated until going overseas in 1916.

The Home Grain Co. elevator was built in 1915 followed by the National elevator in 1916. The Watts store and post office was built by Mr. Newton in 1916. He was the first postmaster, and people of the district enjoyed regular mail service here after having depended on small post offices scattered around such as Obelisk, Copeville, Lillico, Hand Hills, Dowling Lake and after 1912, Hanna.

The Bullpound Creek runs very close south of Watts, and as the nearest bridge was one mile east, it was soon moved to the present site.

Travelers, grain haulers and others were able to get a meal at Mrs. Cheechoo's during these early years.

The grain companies and the C.N.R. had very busy times in the middle and late 'teens and nearly all of the 20s. Until the Hanna-Warden line of the C.N.R. was built, grain came from as far north as the Endiang district, and from an area south as far as the east side of the Hand Hills Lake. On peak days during these years there was as high as 43 trains per 24 hours. There was a telegraph operator in the station for a short time.

In 1919 Merrill Newton, son of the postmaster started a lumber yard.

The National Grain Co., the Home Grain Co. and Merril Newton built nice houses at this time.

The community was thriving and the Alberta Government Telephones built a party line in the district, and also a private long distance outlet in the Watts store.

In 1921 Mr. Jim Peace built a blacksmith shop, and also a small house, which he operated until about 1924.

In 1922 Mr. J.L. Boyd reopened his livery barn, and was able to service those who hauled grain from the bumper 1923 crops. Mrs Boyd served meals to those who wished them. Several granaries were built in town by farmers so they could more readily deliver the grain when the price was most satisfactory.

In 1923 Mr. and Mrs. N.H. Lund, old-timers of the Annasheim School District bought the Watts General Store and Post Office; also this year the Alberta Pacific Grain Co. built an elevator.

In 1925-26 H.R. (Roy) Embree built a small repair shop, where he and Bill Bolton made repairs to anything and everything.

At about this time the Calgary road was rebuilt just north of town and a new bridge put across the Bullpound Creek. Population of the hamlet was at its peak during these years, numbering thirty persons in the approximately eleven families residing here.

In 1927 on June 7, the old Home Grain elevator, burned, and by fall a new elevator stood in its place.

In 1929 Roy Embree built a large modern garage. In 1930 the main road to Calgary was moved one mile south of town and coupled with the hard times, Roy closed the shop during the thirties.

These time saw many changes. The grain companies were open and closed according to business. The Alberta Pacific Grain Co. bought the National elevator, and the C.N.R. maintenance men were moved to larger points.

In 1937 the need for a high school in the district became necessary and the people of the district under the leadership of Mrs. J.L. Boyd and Mrs. C.S. Phibbs got Sullivan Lake School Division agreed, and a high school was opened late in September in a vacant house, with Mrs. M.D. Cook as teacher for 13 or 14 students in grade 10 and 11. Some children batched in the other vacant houses in town, and even in a granary someone moved into town.

The next year Silver Valley school building was moved to Watts and nine grade 9 students were added to the roll. Later St. George School was moved in for public school, and later still St. George was moved to Youngstown after their school was burned. Watts had the largest one roomed school still in operation in the Sullivan Lake School Division. Two buses served it, and took the junior high and high school pupils to Hanna.

During the early 40s three houses were sold and moved away. In 1945 Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Boyd bought the Watts store and Post Office.

In July 1948 the Alberta Wheat Pool house burned and a more modern house was moved in.

During the 50s times were better and the village went ahead again. The Alberta Pacific Grain Co. built a new house for the agent, the Alberta Wheat Pool built a new annex, the power line was brought in and the village even had one street lamp.
In 1960 Mr. J.L. Boyd retired as postmaster, but kept his general store business. Hanna post office serves the district again. The C.N.R. sold the depot and the loading platform.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

MidgetTeam1960

Midget Team, 1960

More in this category: « Lillico Hand Hills »