Coleville, Saskatchewan

Coleville, Saskatchewan

For the California town see: Coleville, California

—  Village  —
Coleville is located in Saskatchewan
Coordinates: 51°42′38″N 109°15′25″W / 51.71056°N 109.25694°W / 51.71056; -109.25694
Country Canada
Province Saskatchewan
Rural Municipalities (R.M.) Oakdale No. 320
Post office Founded 1907
Hamlet established
Village incorporated 1953-07-01
 - Mayor
 - Federal Electoral District Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar M.P.
 - Provincial Consituency Kindersley M.L.A. Bill Boyd
 - Total 1.27 km2 (0.5 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 - Total 248
 - Density 195.6/km2 (506.6/sq mi)

Coleville is an oil and farming village in western Saskatchewan, Canada, namesake of the Coleville oilfields. The population consists of approximately 250 steady residents, swelling to 400 or more when the price of oil rises. The village is named for Malcolm Cole who became the community's first postmaster in 1908. Coleville is located in the Rural Municipality of Oakdale No. 320, Saskatchewan, and is the only population centre in the municipality.



Coleville today has groceries, liquor vendor, a hotel, credit union, post office, and a library. In addition, Coleville maintains a skating rink and a two-sheet curling rink, and at nearby Laing's Park—also referred to as the three-mile park, in reference to its distance from town—are several ball diamonds and a nine-hole golf course, complete with a pumpjack hazard which is not open anymore.

Coleville is located within the Sun West School Division. Children attend the Rossville School located within the community for grades a K–7. For grades 8–12 students are bused to the Kindersley Composite School, located approximately twenty minutes away in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. The Warwick School, a one-room schoolhouse for the area that was closed in 1940 and was moved to Main Street in Coleville in 1946 where it served as the R.M. office. When the R.M. office was moved to a new building in the 1980s it continued to serve the community, first as the local Scout and Brownie hall, and now it is a playschool.

A plaque outside the Municipal Office on Main Street commemorates the area pioneers and the meeting of the Medicine Hat and North Battleford pioneer trails.

Author of such children's books as, The Mystery of the Turtle Lake Monster and Suspicion Island, Jeni Mayer, was born and raised in Coleville.


Early settlers

In 1905, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company surveyed the area in preparation for a railway line, and the prospect of rail service attracted settlers to the area. The first settlers arrived in 1906, most of whom had shipped their effects to Battleford, the site of the Dominion Lands office in the area. With the nearest source of wood being on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, approximately 110 kilometres (68 mi) away, most of the first homes constructed in the area were sod houses, either frame structures covered with sods, or else built entirely out of sods. These structures generally collapsed after a few years, however one sod house built by English immigrant James Addison, between 1909 and 1911, has been occupied continuously from its construction to the present.

The site for the Hamlet of Coleville was purchased from Charles Farris, and built on his purchased homestead NE 6-32-23-W3. In 1913, Charles Cole submitted names to the railway, and Coleville was chosen for the station and townsite.

The hamlet was incorporated into a village on July 1, 1953.


The grade was built for the Biggar–Loverna line of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1912, and steel was laid in 1913. The construction of the rail site in Coleville began in 1913 with the construction of the railway station and coal box. Jack Binks, section foreman, was the station's first occupant, and George Barrett was the first station agent. After the construction of the station, a water well was required for the steam engines. In 1914 a two-pen, four-car stock yard and hog chute were built, and a 18 metre (60 foot) well was dug by hand. A pump house was built, and the Coleville water tower, which is still in use today, was erected. The first pumpman was Mike Crown. The Bigger–Loverna line became part of the Canadian National Railway in 1923. The section toolhouse was built in 1926, and in 1953 a two-car loading platform was built, and an electric pump was installed in the pumphouse.

The station was closed in 1979, and the tracks were torn up in 1998.


Soon after the arrival of the railroad in 1913, a grain elevator was built by the Scottish Co-op. Bill Donald was its first agent. This original elevator was replaced in 1940 by a new elevator with a storage capacity of 45,000 imperial bushels (1,600 m3). The Alberta Pacific elevator was built in 1917, with Joe Barrows as its first agent. The elevator had a capacity of 23,000 imperial bushels (840 m3). It was bought out by Federal Grain in 1943.

The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool was formed in 1924, and built an elevator in Coleville in 1925, now called Pool A. Alf Beal was the first operator. Pool A had a storage capacity of 30,000 imperial bushels (1,100 m3). In the late 1970s Pool A was sold and torn down. The Scottish Co-op elevator was purchased in 1948 by the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and became Pool B. The Federal Grain elevator was acquired by the Pool in 1972, and became Pool C. Pool C was torn down in 1998.

The Colevile Post Office

One of the first settlers was Malcolm Cole, who came with his father in 1906, and set up a post office and general store on his homestead shortly thereafter, in the summer of 1907. He named the post office Coleville, derived from his own last name, and the suffix -ville. His brother, Charles Cole, who arrived in 1907, was the postmaster from 1908 until 1917. Around 1914 the post office was moved from the Cole homestead to the townsite of Coleville. When John Brent turned the post office over to H. L. Dumouchel, the post office was moved to the Dumouchel store.

Before railway service to the area, mail was carried in from Battleford. After the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was built, the mail was carried from Scott by R. A. Cummings of Kerrobert.

Cork obliterators (used to cancel stamps) in the second half of the 20th century are comparatively rare; however, cork obliterators created by H.L. Dumouchel (acting postmaster from 1928 until 1950) were still in use until they were lost in a post office remodelling sometime after 1951.


Postmaster Served
Malcolm Cole May 1, 1908 – September 8, 1908
Charles E. Cole December 1908 – July 2, 1917
John Brent* August 1, 1917 – August 28, 1950
W.J. (Jim) Tate* October 16, 1950 – July 1, 1968
Carol Werner July 11, 1968 – present
  • While John Brent retained postmastership, H. L. Dumouchel was acting postmaster from 1928 to Brent's retirement in 1950.
  • Dora Marie Tate was appointed active postmaster for two months, from May 1, 1968, until July 11, 1968, while Jim was transferred to Dodsland. Jim was then promoted to postmaster for Kerrobert.

The Colevile Rural Telephone Co.

The Coleville Rural Telephone Co. came into being on Friday, January 28, 1916, following a meeting of a group of ratepayers in Dumouchel's Drug Store. Shortly thereafter a charter was granted by the Department of Telephones and the company was started by issuing a debenture. On February 5, 1917, a tender of $11,298.40 by Heise, O'Bready and Small of Elstow was accepted for the construction of the system. The switchboard was located in the store of A. G. Bridger, who was also publisher of the district news sheet. Bridger resigned in 1919, and George Manning became secretary-treasurer and operator. His salary was $40 a month plus long distance commissions. In 1921 this increased to $60 a month. The linesman was Ed Hogarth, who was paid 50¢ an hour plus 10¢ for mileage.

Subscribers paid an annual rental, which covered switching fees and operator costs. Landowners paid a tax levy on phone lines running through their property, which covered repairing and building lines. The levy was based on the quarters of land through which telephone lines ran. There were two rates. A quarter of land which had a line passing through it paid a 'straight' rate, and a quarter of land in which someone lived and had a phone paid a higher 'take-off' rate. Since the 'straight' rate levy was charged regardless of whether the owner had phone service, land owners without phones could be paying as much or more as land owners with phone service. In spite of attempts to reform this system, it remained in place until the government took over the service. In addition to the annual rental and line levy, there was a special levy to pay back the debenture.

Financing for the company was always difficult, as the large rural population meant the construction and maintenance of many miles of poles and wire for each rural subscriber. In the early years, subscribers who could not pay rentals had their phone removed at their expense; however, by the time of the depression in the 1930s, this was no longer practical or desirable. Instead, subscribers were able to pay off their debt by assisting in the erection of new lines and the maintenance of old ones. Because of the difficulties associated with providing rural telephone service, it was resolved by the Rural Telephone Company as early as 1930 that they ask the provincial government to take over telephone operation for the entire province. While the government did finally take over telephone service, this did not occur until the late 1970s.

Early on, use of the phones and the company's equipment was strictly regulated. There was a three-minute time limit for conversations. Those who did not have a phone were asked to pay 75¢ for using their neighbour's. Farmers and housewives faced fines or prosecution for the use of telephone poles as hitching posts, or incorporating them into their barbed wire fences or clotheslines.

In 1935 George Manning died, and his wife carried on in his capacity until October 1, 1937, when Pat O'Bready, along with his wife Irene, took over as operator, linesman, and troubleman. They were paid $800 per year plus commissions, though this salary was on paper only. In 1940 the company began to emerge from the depression and gain solid financial footing, and in February 1942 the debenture debt was retired.

In 1950, a wind storm on April 15 damaged or destroyed nearly the entire telephone system, which took six months to repair.

In March 1954, Saskatchewan Government Telephones bought the Coleville Telephone plant for $2,301 while the Rural Company remained agent for the town. A new switchboard was installed, and private lines were made available. In 1956 black wall or desk cradle phones arrived, and the old box-crank phones were reclaimed. On July 1, 1957, Pat O'Bready resigned as linesman and operator, although he retained the post of troubleman. Six months later the Rural Company resigned as agent for the Government Telephones.

By the 1960s, 24-hour service was being provided. Previously official hours had been from 8 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. (depending on season) on weekdays and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sundays, although there was always someone available for emergencies. In 1965 the automatic dial system was completed, and calls were no longer routed through the operator. In 1967 the Coleville Rural Teleqhone Co. Ltd. was sold to the Kindersley Rural Telephone Co. Ltd. for $1, and Coleville was allowed one member to sit on the Kindersley board. In 1977 the government took over the Kindersley Rural Telephone Co.

Directors of the Coleville Rural Telephone Company

Chairman Served
D. F. McKinnon 1916–1926
W. J. Nixon 1927–1930
A. Grant 1930–1933
A. Seversen 1933–1940
Ross Farris 1940–1946
Reg Blackburn 1946–1956, 1966–1967
Maurice Close 1956–1966
Secretary-Treasurer Served
A. G. Bridger 1916–1919
George Manning 1919–1936
C. Earnest Wright 1936–1943
Irene O'Bready 1943–1959
Wallace Bruce 1959–1967
Directors Served
C. E. Cole 1916, provisional
U. A. Donald 1916, provisional
W. A. Connor 1916, provisional, 1916–1929, 1935–1938
James Butterworth 1916, provisional
D. F. McKinnon 1916–1927
A. G. Bidger 1916–1919
J. E Butterworth 1916–1918
K. A. Berg 1916–1926
Curtis Wilsie 1916–1922
W. J. Nixon 1918–1930, 1934–1936
George Manning 1919–1936
G. Close 1922–1924
Tom Weir 1926–1932
Ira Homes 1926–1929
R. Kenedy 1928–1931
C. Johnston 1928–1931, 1935–1941
A. Grant 1929–1932
R. Quickfall 1930–1931
R. Allen 1931–1934
Charles Blackburn 1931–1933
A. Severson 1931–1940
R. Hogarth 1932–1935, 1946–1949
G. Benjaminson 1932–1935
J. Dand 1934–1935
A. M. Cole 1935–1938
C. Ernest Wright 1936–1943
Ross Ferris 1940–1946
R. G. Close 1938–1944
G. Patrick 1938–1944
E. Clemence 1936–1944
John Holmes 1945–1962
A. Snyder 1940–1946
H. Berg 1944–1966
R. V. Blackburn* 1944–1967
Irene O'Bready 1943–1959
A. Dillabaugh 1946–1966
Maurice Close 1949–1966
John Groves 1962–1967
John Sproule 1966–1967
Jack Connor 1966–1967
  • R. V. (Reg) Blackburn also sat on Kindersley board as Coleville's representative from 1967 to 1977
Linesmen* served
Ed Hogarth 1920s
J. Pemberthy 1930s
Pat O'Bready 1937–1959
Ed Danielson 1959–1967
  • many local people also worked on the lines as operators

Local businesses

The Dumouchel Store

Construction on Dumouchel's began in 1913 and the building opened in 1914. The south side of the building consisted of a hardware store and a drug store/doctors office, with living quarters on the upper floor. Dr. Lucase and his nurse assistant served in the doctor's office. On the north side was a hall where school, church, meetings, and various social activities were held. In October, 1921 the post office was moved into the portion of the building formerly occupied by the doctors office, and H. L. Dumouchel ran the post office and looked after the medical and veterinary needs of the community. Harry Quickfall took over the hardware section and ran it as a grocery for a number of years, an later the Dumouchels operated it as a general store until it was purchased by Ed Chynoweth in 1950. Ed changed the name of the store to Ed Chynoweth and Sons. Initially he sold Massey-Harris parts and equipment. When oil was discovered he began to sell oilfield supply parts and a line of hardware, and rented the living quarters above the store to oilfield workers until they could find housing. When the Mittens sold out in 1958 Ed's became the only hardware in town. Ed sold the store to the Gaylords in 1965, but continued to work there. The store finally closed for good in 1972, and was later torn down.

The lumber yard

The North American Lumber Yard was located on 2nd Avenue West, and operated by Mr Stephenstrude, George Peterson, and Roy Pomeroy. It burned down in 1923. Later the Mittens opened up a lumber yard in the same location. It became the Pattison's lumber yard and remained in operation until the late 1980s.

For a number of years a Co-op lumber yard was located where the Coleville Hotel now stands.

The Coleville Hotel

Originally called the Prince Charles Hotel, the Coleville Hotel is located on the west side of the intersection of 1st and Main. Bill Crawford formed a company in 1953 for the construction of the hotel, and sold shares of the company to Coleville residents and others. Construction started in 1954, but the money ran out in 1955 after the completion of the basement and part of the framing. Crawford bought back most of the shares in the hotel at a reduced price, refinanced, and completed the hotel in 1956. A café has been operated in conjunction with the hotel since it opened. Other businesses operated from the hotel include the hotel bar, and a liquor board store. Other businesses that have operated from the hotel include an arcade, a hair dressers, and a movie rental place, among others.

The Coleville grocery store

Built by Burt Mitten and Art Brompton on the corner of Main and Third. It operated under the name of Coleville Foods for a number of years until the 1990s during which it underwent a number of changes in name and ownership. During this time an addition was added that housed a hardware store and the Coleville Post Office. It is currently run under the name of the Coleville Stop & Shop.

Other businesses

  • Former businesses
    • Chinese laundry (Chong Long)—located on 2nd Avenue West
    • Union Bank—located on 2nd Avenue West, first manager being a Mr. Gibbs. It was later bought by the Presbyterian Church
    • Jim Chynoweth's Livery Stable—located on 2nd Avenue West, next to the lumber yard.
    • The blacksmith shop—located on 2nd Avenue West, next to the livery stable.
    • Mitten Brothers Garage—located on the corner of 1st and Main. The Mitten Brothers also were International dealers, and Ford agents.
    • E. E. Curson's Pool room—located on Main Street adjacent to Mitten Bro's Garage. Contained a pool room, bowling alley, and had a barber chair out front. Sold to Mr. Brandhagen who opened a Red and White Grocery Store, IHC agency, and Imperial Oil Agency.
    • The café—built in 1913 by C. Spooners on Main Street. Operated by a string of owners before closing down in the 1970s.
    • Butterworths meat market—located on Main Street next to the café.
    • A. G. Badgers general store—located on Main Street, in addition to the general store the building also contained the Coleville Rural Telephone District switchboard, and a district newspaper, the A. G. Weekly. Bought out by the Mitten Brothers, who operated it for a number of years.
    • The Coleville Rural Telephone district office—located on Main Street.
    • The government telephone office—located on Main Street on the former site of A. G. Bridger's store.

Rural municipality

The R.M. of Oakdale, encompassing Coleville and the surrounding areas, was formed in 1908 with W. H. Whitley as the first reeve and H. E. Close as the first secretary-treasurer. Meetings were held throughout the R.M. until February 1915, when a lot and building within Coleville were purchased for this purpose. The R.M. office continues to be located in Coleville.


Coordinates: 51°42′N 109°14′W / 51.7°N 109.233°W / 51.7; -109.233


  1. ^ National Archives, Archivia Net, Post Offices and Postmasters, 
  2. ^ Government of Saskatchewan, MRD Home ([dead link]), Municipal Directory System, 
  3. ^ Canadian Textiles Institute. (2005), CTI Determine your provincial constituency, 
  4. ^ Commissioner of Canada Elections, Chief Electoral Officer of Canada (2005), Elections Canada On-line, 
  5. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Statistics Canada. Government of Canada. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 

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