Friday, February 19, 2016

Peace River’s warehouse district spurs railway line

Sources: North from Edmonton, The Northern Alberta Railways, Keith Hansen, MA; Peace River Remembers; Oxford Dictionary)
PRMA2008.056.004 - view of the warehouse district from the river
c. 1920s.

In the early years of Peace River, there was an area of town on the east side of the river referred to as the Warehouse District in which many businesses and industry resided close to the Peace River – convenient to river transportation.

In the original plan of April 7, 1921, corrected April 30, 1952, as seen in Keith Hansen’s North From Edmonton, The Northern Alberta Railways, there are at least 13 businesses south of the railway bridge. Among them: Palace Transfer, Midland and Pacific Grain Corp. Ltd.(2), Dominion Fruit Ltd., Alberta Pool Elevators, Canadian Propane,  J. H. Ashdowne Hardware Co. Ltd., BA Oil Co. Ltd., Consolidated Fruit Ltd., Hudson’s Bay Co., Ogilvie Flour Mill Co. Ltd., Horne and Pitfield, and Marshall Wells Warehouse.

Let’s look into the history of Palace Transfer. In October of 1928, Tony Tretick arrived in Peace River from Saskatchewan to buy Palace Transfer, a dray business, which used a low truck or horse-drawn cart to deliver freight – barrels, heavy equipment and such. At the time, he had two drays with teams of horses for each. The company’s warehouse was near the railway bridge on the east side of the tracks.
Tony sold Palace Transfer in 1941 and started a new trucking business – Tony’s Truck Service, which hauled freight for many years to Keg River, Hay Lakes and Fort Vermilion. He only hauled in winter, as the trails were impossibly impassable in the summer. The Peace River – Fort Vermilion trip took three days at the best of times. Needing summer work, Tony started farming at Fort Vermilion in 1947 and sold the trucking business to the Stranaghan brothers in 1967.

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