By Ed McAree – West Kelowna, B.C.
I was advised by a friend, formerly from Richlea, Sask., years ago, that the village was no more. A wonderful community, lost to the ravages of time.
In 1950 I was transferred to Richlea as ‘agent’ by the Monarch Lumber Co. Ltd. to manage their building supply yard. At that time, Richlea was a thriving little village with a wonderful way of life. Besides the lumberyard, we had a general store, a cafe, a hotel and beer parlour, a garage complete with a mechanics hardware and implement dealer, and 4 grain elevators.
Other amenities included a post office, a community hall, a small fire station, and that year the community added a skating and curling rink. Also a school and a United church.
I’ve included some pictures of the yard that will bring back a few memories, one of the office and living quarters. Notice the scale in front. We had a coal and wood department to boost our winter sales.
I have also included a couple of pictures of the yard. Most of our material came in by rail. At that time, our drayman, Dave Duncan, hauled it from the boxcars to our yard and he and I would unload, sort, and check it against the waybill to make sure it was all there.
Notice the way the lumber is piled to protect it from rain? It was also separated by lath every 5 layers to keep the stock straight and help it dry. All our ‘common’ lumber came in air dried in summer and frozen in winter.
The only kiln-dried material we stocked at that time was molding and boards for interior use. We had ample covered storage for our 3⁄4” stock such as shiplap and drop siding.
I have fond memories of that bygone era.