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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - December 1, 1956, Winnipeg, Manitoba WINNIPEG SATURDAY DECEMBER 1 1956 THE SS Minnesota of the pioneer Red river steamboats was the hussy of the lot Adventurous she sought fame and ex- and finally came to a tragic end but not be- fore changing her name and leading a full life Her sister ship the SS Manitoba was almost as bad Built at Fargo in 1875 by the Merchants tional Steamboat Line they were alike as two peas in a pod in appearance With their racing and cavorting were the talk of the times The SS Minnesota by lying around the dock at the foot of Lombard street late in the season of con- the honor of ing the first shipment of wheat from Manitoba It was not the SS Selkirk as sc often stated This was busy plying back forth between peg and Selkirk that CAPTAIN Charles B mens a kindred soul ing been a pilot captain and also part owner of sels on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and five years in the department during the Civil War carrying troops and supplies up and down river encouraged the SS Minnesota in her escapades He defied the possibility of being by delaying the departure of the ship on its presumedly final trip of the season in order that the farmers would have time to load their wheat Threshing machines and fanning mills were scarce in Manitoba in those days He leit on Saturday tober 21st and within 48 Molly hours after he reached sher's Landing the Red ri- ver was frozen over and navigation practically closed for the winter However it turned mild again and another trip to Winnipeg was made by her just for the heck of it She had been the first arrival in the spring April and she intended to be the last to leave which she was on October From Fisher's Landing the 412 sacks of famed wheat were shipped by rail to Duluth by vessel from there to Sarnia where it arrived on November 17th Then by rail to ronto A W Burrows editor of the Winnipeg Free Press October 27 received a letter from R C Steele Bros Toronto praising the quality of the wheat re- and thanking Captain Thimens and those sible for SS after her usual time of sailing to receive the wheat on board He also stressed the importance of having direct railway com- through dian territory at the liest possible time THE SS MINNESOTA again featured in special events when she brought Lord and Lady Dufferin to Winnipeg from Fisher's Landing on August The popular ral was the first representative to visit They went home in September on this same steamboat and saw the en- gine on a barge at Fisher's Landing waiting to be brought to Winnipeg for the first railway in Manitoba This Countess of Dufferin now stands in front of station During the winter the SS Minnesota was rebuilt at Grand Forks and the City of Winnipeg It was forty feet longer than before making it 190 feet long and had 10 additional staterooms Furnished with a piano and the saloon fully carpeted she was the pride of Captain James Sheets in charge now as she steamed up the A s s i b o i n e with flags flying on May 24 and stopped at landing of the frontier lage of Grand Valley near the present site of don Man His pride was short-lived as the Assiniboine river was too shallow for this Red river steamboat On August 12 she came to grief near Poplar Point where the heads were blown out of her cylinders to kirk her machinery was taken out and she was then towed by the larger and newer SS Princess in the direction of Grand Rapids A severe storm up and battered her fully Finally she broke up and drifted upon the shore 40 miles from Grand It had been intended use the SS Manitoba her sister ship which had been rebuilt at Grand Forks also on the Saskatchewan river but the accident on the Assiniboine river decided the of been content cruise in safe waters and not let grandeur her she might have had many years usefulness on the Red Ri- ver of the North i s Kjg t Here is a picture of the SS Minnesota one of the pioneer Red river steamboats who later had her name changed to SS City of Winnipeg Had the saucy ship to cruise in safe waters she might never have come to grief on the Assiniboine river near Poplar Point At one time the ship boasted a piano and a saloon You Have To See To Believe H GO east young man! East to Atikokan where in the space of a dozen years an isolated community of trappers and a handful of workers has developed in- to a bustling town of people Atikokan is growing faster and faster and er at a dizzying spiral that will wind to a total of 000 by the early And some civic boosters are setting their sights for a city of This is a young ity with dazzling high salaries an ex- standard of living and an accent on family life The sound of carpenters saws and hammers is still heard on the of Atikokan as they try to keep pace with the room growth of a town which is building schools at the rale of more than one a year four in the next three years to be exact For Atikokan has been built one of the most fabulous developments of modern times A lake dreds of feet deep has been drained to make iron This is an aerial view of a section of the lous Steep Rock Mine At the upper left hand of the picture the trees mark the shoreline of the lake that has been drained to make way for mining operations The mine expects to take something like tons of iron this year ore accessible to the Steep Rock Mines To dp this a river has been diverted and modern machinery and methods have been brought into play STANDING ON T H R rim of the lake with great trucks toiling up the sides with their burden of iron ore and dredges ing night and day is like being on the edge of the Grand Canyon The rim of trees marking the o 1 d shoreline dips sharply into the depths From Steep Rock Mines which are still expanding came gross tons of high grade ore last year compared with tons in 1954 Next year's figure will beat this by at least a million tons it is ex- In addition the powerful Caland ore inter- ests have leased holdings from Steep Rocks Mines When it goes into tion it will add to the wealth and the workers No town ever had it so good as Atikokan and the amount of civic boosting would shame the in- habitants of Texas One op- timist told me that though temperature es compared about the same as Winnipeg that it was warmer because the rock and the valley kept out the wind I dutifully recorded in my note book and then stepped out into the streets to be swept off my feet by a This I was informed was an exceptional circum- stance But the boosting is understandable In 1943 there were only 250 people in Atikokan It was tive makeshift and few were optimistic enough to guess that the mine would change everything But change it has OWEN LINDSAY year-old chairman of the Atikokan school board is a good example of the of the town Lindsay came in 1945 when the figure had jumped to about 600 There was one school which only went to grade nine or 10 It had 60 pupils In 1956 they have 30 in three schools of 10 rooms each They have 31 teachers in the public schools seven ers in the separate Ro- man Catholic school and nine teachers and a pal in the high school The total enrollment is children The modern Atikokan hospital records a birth a day and will tell you that the town has the highest birth rate in Canada Young people who are starting families settle there The pay is high the educational dards are high too To at- tract good teachers the school board offers far better salaries than the big cities Where trappers shacks stood houses with picture windows are ranged around crescent shaped streets Pine trees and scenery that have all the beauty of summer re- country add to the beauty There are lakes within 10 minutes drive where you can fish and swim The town has s swimming pool where youngsters learn safety rules This symbol of growth points out how much the town depends on the mine It shows the town literally being supported by the muscular man who mining industry Atikokan in the midst of a mining boom hasn't for- gotten that the town's as a tourist area is astoundingly As it goes the road situation somewhat the place However they are planning to extend the highway to Fort Francis which would make it more accessible to visitors There is also talk of a road linking the town to Dryden which is about 90 miles away as the c r o w flies but several hundred as the roax goes THE HOTELS are ern and townspeople have a first class movie house which they ize heavily Television is piped in by a private com pany and those who sub- scribe have their choice of two American networks which is more than peg offers In this at- Bob Clarke with his weekly paper has his circulation at thing around papers and it is continuing to grow The paper records that plenty is going on There is a flourishing little theatre a ladies choir and other Concerts are frequent and they are vily attended The friendly like to meet together AND AS A final hint to the ladies There are ty of eligible young lors who could be ed to set their ambitions on one of those new homes are going up Atikokan is quite z place You can take my word for it Or better still go and see for yourself
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