MARY'S GENEALOGY TREASURES
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Telephones in Spring Coulee

Pinepound Reflections
A History of Spring Coulee and District
page 120

Early maps from 1899 show the Alberta Government telephone lines from Cardston to Lethbridge. When the Spring Coulee Trading Company was built in 1907, there was a telephone exchange for many years, but not many phones. In town, phones were owned by Ralph Thompson, Harry Joliffe and the Trading Company, and in the rural areas by John Thompson, Ken Long, Herb Walters and Jesse Sherman. Agnes Long tells how they always left their door open, so anyone needing to use the phone, could. Sometimes when they returned home they would find money on the table for long distance calls. Primitive telephone lines were strung along fences - speakers were old radios and earphones used for hearing. Jim Hunter had one, as did Rene Peirens, Bill Woods and Orville Malmberg.

In 1934, the telephone company, once controlled by the government, was in disrepair, and our mutual - Spring Coulee - was formed with Harry Joliffe as president and Bill Woods as general handyman for telephones and lines. Geneva Woods was secretary for many years followed by Florence Fortner who continued until the 1950's when Alberta Government Telephones took over once again.

Most farms were on Party lines with anywhere from 10 to 26 homes. Each house had it own coded ring. Using a crank on the side of the phone, you called your neighbor by sending out their code - e.g. I long ring, 2 short rings . When any party was called the phone would ring in all the houses. Some people found entertainment by eavesdropping on others conversations. One long, long ring meant an emergency - everyone would pick up the phone and find out where the trouble was and go help.

By the mid 1960's we graduated to black dial phones with only four families on a line. On January 16, 1974, the new underground phone lines were installed and we now have private phones.

Electricity in Spring Coulee

Pinepound Reflections A History of Spring Coulee and District
page 120

Calgary Power came to the town of Spring Coulee in 1948, but who will ever forget the first electric lights from Paul Boettcher's little power plant with lines to each dwelling. Lights went out at midnight except for dance nights when they would stay on until the dance was over. Then on special days the power would be turned on, so the women could do the laundry.

The Rural Electric Association was formed in 1950 with Ernest Long as secretary and power turned on to the farms in 1952. The Rural Electric Association was sold to Calgary Power on November 21, 1979.

Post Office in Spring Coulee

Pinepound Reflections A History of Spring Coulee and District
page 113

The following records from, the Canadian Postal Archives in, Ottawa show the first Post Office established, in Spring Coulee on the first day of May in 1902 and the first Postmaster was W.H. Brown. The location was Section 29, then section 33, then the north west quarter section 28, and again moved to section 33. Because there was a gap of five years between 1903 and 1908, we assume this was the period old timers remember a Post office in an old log house in the Coulee run by Amos and Estell Peterson.

This location Would correspond to the recording of section 29. To complete the list up to the present day, there was Kirk Godlonton, followed by the present postmaster, Berry Gorham.

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Mary Tollestrup