Historic Post Office - 302 Main Street, MelfortIn 1909, William Rutan, the first secretary of the Melfort Board of Trade and local elected Liberal Member of Parliament, presented a resolution from the Melfort Board of Trade to the federal government for the construction of a post office. A growing town population and an increasing number of new businesses strained A.E. Wild’s Maple Leaf Store, which offered basic postal service since the store’s inception in 1903. It is not surprising that local business men placed so much pressure for the creation of a post office, as mail services were essential in business transactions such as money orders.In June of 1910 the government bought a large piece of land on the corner of Main Street and McLeod Avenue to build a post office. When completed in 1913 the Romanesque style building had a 2 ½ storeys that joined to a 1 storey hipped roof armoury that faced McLeod Avenue. The Post Office also boasted steam heating, electrical lighting, and a corner tower of brick and Tyndall stone that housed a clock from Smith & Son of Derby England purchased for $1,500.00. In total, the cost of the brick and stone building was over $50,000.00.Although construction was completed by June of 1913, the Maple Leaf Store continued postal service until 4:00pm on Saturday, November 1st, 1913. The new Post Office officially opened at 8:00am on Monday, November 3, 1913. There were 5 wickets, and several hundred lock-boxes for rent for $2- $8 a year. Dr. Shadd was the first person to secure his box. The first head postmaster was Alex Irvine and the first customs officer was Dr. T.C. Spence.Over the years, the Post Office building has housed the Post Office, City Armoury, RCMP Offices, Public Library, and Customs House/ Office. Currently the building is owned by the City of Melfort and is undergoing restorations. For more information http://www.cityofmelfort.ca/p/historic-post-office
Construction of Post Office (1910-1913)
Melfort Co-operative OrganizationWestern farmers were controlled by the railways and grain companies in the early 1900's. The offer made by a buyer or drover (cattle dealers) was the only one available, and the farmer could either take it or go home empty handed. Many farmers found that prices on the Winnipeg market were higher, and they started to question why they were getting lower prices. These questions and concerns caused farmers in the Melfort area to look for a solution to their situation. Their solution was the formation of Melfort Grain Growers Cooperative Trading Association on January 22, 1914.On March 15, 1917, a meeting was held to discuss possible solutions for a problem happening among the farmers, the prices given by traveling drovers was still lower than the ones offered in Winnipeg. A decision was made that the co-operation would receive names of farmers with stock to sell and the numbers. As a carload was compiled, the secretary would name a day and each farmer would load his animals for shipment to Winnipeg. The results were so good that it became the main activity of the Melfort association.After 1920, the Melfort Co-operative Association continued to thrive. It is an extremely successful business to this day.