In 1919, in this valley, bordered by the Coteau
Hills range, was a place surveyed by the Canadian National
Railroad and known as Mile 55, the end of the steel. The land
was part of the Neal Oliver Sr. land. Because of the growing
population and volume of supplies that were needed, and the
mass production of grain that was being grown in the virgin
soil in such a few short years, the government could see that
Mile 55 would be an excellent spot for a central market place.
Work on the railroad commenced in 1920, starting from where
the line had left off at Dunblane, coming through the hamlet
of Demaine to Beechy.
With the news of a railroad came the first merchants
who set up a hardware store and a blacksmith shop. The population
of the fledgling town consisted of these two men until 1920
when the first merchant brought in his wife and two children.
Other businessmen followed and now it was time to have a town
survey. The first four blocks were measured out and the hardware
store was on Lot #1, Block #1 on the corner of Railway Avenue
and Main Street. The corner at the other end was chosen for
the general store. In between these two shops, there was another
general store, hotel, and meat market. A third general store,
pool hall, and hardware store made up the first block of Main
As the hamlet grew, two restaurants, two livery
stables, a garage and farm implement agency, and a lumberyard
were added. By the summer of 1921 the railroad was definitely
a reality. On December 21, 1921, the train came puffing in
to stop at the temporary station, a box car.
early post offices were established in school districts. These
mail points were operated out of the settlers’ homes,
or little country stores. Mail was transported from Herbert,
crossing the river by mule team and wagon twice a week, regardless
of the sometimes less than desirable weather conditions. When
the railroad was completed, the CNR took over the mail-hauling
contract for delivery to Beechy, with locals contracted to
further deliver the mail to the rural routes, a practice discontinued
in the mid fifties.
the growth of population follows a very real need for health
care. Initially, homesteaders’ wives
served as midwives and caregivers. In 1924, the R. M. of Victory
#226 was petitioned to pass a buy-law that would enable the
municipality to hire a practitioner.
Our first hospital was in a private home which
had two extra rooms built on for wards. The building carried
on as a medical center until 1966 when the new Beechy Union
Hospital, an eight-bed facility, was opened. Due to economics
and decline in the population, our hospital was closed by the
reigning government in 1991. This caused dismay and anxiety
for the people; even though the population had lessened, the
mileage to the nearest hospital had not. To the credit, courage
and hours of volunteer work and dollars, the RM and village
now maintain an ambulance. The deserted hospital has been turned
into a clinic with a doctor and staff. There is a trained paramedic
and first responders staffing the ambulance service.
Spiritual needs had been taken care of with individual
church groups in the outlying rural area in private homes.
With the growth of the town, it was time for the churches to
grow too and the four churches include Anglican, Roman Catholic,
United and Christian Fellowship.
first school age children attended classes at the Jonesville
School three miles south of the hamlet.
The country schools eventually closed with the pupils of the
R. M. of Victory #226 now bussed to Beechy. Click here for Jonesville 100th Anniversary
In 1922 the first grain elevator was built. Prior
to that, individuals had set up open bins to accept grain.
Several grain companies operated in the area over the years.
Now, in the new century, the prairie giants have disappeared
from Beechy. A new marketing facility, West Central Road and
Rail, was established in 2003.
When the population reached the required 100
permanent residents, plans were made to organize a village
status. That occurred in 1925. The Council could now pass and
carry out their own bylaws. Thus it was that a dog tax was
levied, streets were improved and sidewalks along Main Street
Electricity came to the village in 1926 by way
of a light plant. Service was offered from sundown to sun-up,
and Monday mornings so the women of the village could do the
washing. Then a 24-hour service was established and continued
until 1951 when the Saskatchewan Power Corporation took over.
Residents could now indulge in some of the modern 110 A.C.
With the arrival of the railroad came the telegraph.
Some rural areas had telephone services with barbwire fences
being connected together from one farm to another and using
radio speakers and headphones. A rural telephone company was
organized and continued until 1968 when the Saskatchewan Government
took over the telephones.
Although times may have been hard, on the average,
the population was a young one and there was time for fun and
recreation as well as work. One of the first baseball teams
in the district was organized in 1911. War and hard times such
as the depression of the thirties interfered with the team
roster. As time marched on, the sport was never lost and Beechy
still fields a team today, the Beechy Breakers.
The first organized hockey game was played in
1935-36, with a pick-up of players from Demaine rivaling a
pick-up of players from Beechy. They played on open-air rinks
or frozen sloughs. By 1941, the entire team had joined the
forces. After the war, hockey was resumed and the Beechy Bombers
team was born. Minor hockey was organized and sponsored by
the Beechy Legion in the early fifties.
first indoor skating rink was built in 1952 with limited funds,
volunteer labour and a lot
of community spirit. Since then, two more rinks have evolved.
And that same cooperative spirit maintains and operates a modern
artificial ice skating rink and a three sheet ice surface curling
rink. In 2000, the new Beechy Community Hall became a reality,
replacing the former Legion Hall that had served many years
of dances, banquets, wedding receptions and other functions
requiring space for gatherings of more than twenty people.
In 1948, the Village Council built a racetrack
and the first harness horse race meet was held in 1949. The
track was registered with the Standardbred Racing Association
in 1950, and pari-mutual betting was licensed. For many years,
the dirt track supplied excitement and a welcome addition to
Sports Day. Later, the little track was shut down to registered
racing, and was used for training by local horse owners.
The first agricultural fair was held one mile
south of the village in August of 1922. In 1936 the Victory
Agricultural Society was organized and was granted its charter
in 1945. The society has sponsored many projects besides the
fair through the years: machinery demos, Baby Beef Club, orchard
project, field days, summer fallow contest, seed fair and standing
crop competition, shelter belt planting and community rink.
The society erected a fair building on the Memorial Sports
Grounds in 1954. The Multiple 4-H Club continues to thrive.
The Village of Beechy and surrounding R.M. of
Victory #226 has seen many changes of seasons, generations
of people, most of one century and into a new one. The area
remains a land of opportunity and an abundance of optimism.
The pioneer spirit was, and still is, alive and well.