Welcome to Herbert's
100 Year Celebration!
August 3-5, 2012
Residents & visitors alike were invited to celebrate the Town of Herbert's 100th Anniversary!
100 years ago...
In the early 1900s, the Herbert area began to be settled predominantly by Mennonites but also by people of British & Scandinavian descent. The destination point was a boxcar railway station with the name Herbert printed on it. The name honoured Sir Michael Henry Herbert, a British Diplomat. In 1904, the foundations of a village had begun. By 1912, Herbert was incorporated as a town with 709 residents. The rest, they say, is history...
Judy Voth's Speech from the 100 Year Homecoming Celebrations, August 2012
Hi everyone! Welcome here and welcome home!
I think that most of you know me although some of you know me better as Mrs. Voth- if you were one of my students. A few of you, perhaps, know me better as Judy Toews., daughter of Melvin Toews and Helen Lansberry and part of the third generation of original Herbert-ians/-ites? My sisters and I think of ourselves as rather a cross-section of the original settlers of Herbert being 1/4 Swedish, 1/4 English and 1/2 Dutch-German-Russian Mennonite. Except for Grandpa Lansberry all of our first generation emigrated first to Minnesota or North Dakota in the U.S. and then came north to the Herbert area when homesteaded inthe Schoenthal arean northeast of town. He was born there and the Toewes attended the Mennonite Church in Herbert. Mom was born in a house which still stands on Herbert Avenue. I was born here in the Herbert Hospital and I lived here until after I retired after 31 years of teaching so over half of Herbert's 100 years. I still have Dad's farm just west of town. I still happily and enthusiastically support local businessess and events and all of my grandchildren now reside in Herbert- our fourth and fifth generations here. So herein are my Herbert credentials.
I've spent a lot of time in the last few months thinking about Herbert and what it might mean to its residents and former residents. I know that I always thought that Herbert was like no other town- that is, not typical of other towns around us. Then I found this quote and I did some rethinking and a little editing.
You know you're from a small town if...
1- You can name everyone you graduated with
2- You know what 4-H means
3- You went to parties at a pasture, barn, gravel pit or in the middle of a dirt road- or at Coxley or the Reservoir
4- You scheduled parties around the schedules of different police officers because you knew which ones wouldn't bust you if you stayed in one place
5- You used to "drag" Main
6- You used the F word and your parents kneww within the hour
7- You could never buy cigarettes because all the store clerks kenwhow old you were (and if you were old enough, they'd tell your parents anyway)
8- When you did find somebody old enough and brave enough to buy cigarettes, you still had to go out into the country and drive on the back roads to smoke them. Or you and your friends smoked at the back of the cafe and if a parent or teacher came in, Bo Cat was suddenly smoking five cigarettes
9- You knew which section of the ditch- you would the beer your buyer dropped off
10- It was cool to date somebody from the neighboring town
11- You didn't give directions by street names but rather by references. For example, "Turn north by Ridley's house, go two blocks, go past "the Gin's" and it's two more blocks to the school
12- The golf course had only 9 holes and sand greens
13- You couldn't help but date a friend's ex
14- The town next to you was considered "trashy" or "snooty" but it was actually just like your town
15- You referred to anyone with a house newer than 1965 as the "rich people"
16- City people dressed funny and then you picked up the trend a year later
17- Anyone you wanted could be found at the cafe, the gas station, the Rocket Drive-In or the local bar
18- When you decided to walk somewhere for excercise, 5 people would pull over and ask if you wanted a ride
19- Your teachers called you by your older siblings' names and they remembered when they taught your parents- Yes- I did!
20- You could charge at any local store and write cheques without ID
21- It was normal to see someone riding through town on a small tractor or riding mower as a usual means of conveyance. One of your friends drove a grain truck to school occasionally.
22- Most people went by a nickname- often created by Larry Yeske- one of those we're missing this weekend
23- There was a curfew and the town constable would chase you home after 9 pm - if he could catch you! Remember the sirens at noon and 6 and 9 pm?
I could relate to most of those so Herbert was pretty typical for all of its unique charms. The truth is: I never intended to live in Herbert after I finished school. I'm sure that many of you relate to that. I intended to get my teaching certificate and get a job in a school... anywhere but here. Herbert was ...too small... too boring.. to behind the times... too lacking in opportunities... too interested in my business.. too judgemental.. and, as I perceived it , too Mennonite! So I was going to leave. However, before I graduated from High School, I began dating this Herbert fella from a large, loving Mennonite family who was already in his own business in Herbert. Suddenly the town became far more interesting to me. I began to embrace my own heritage and to see all that Herbert had to offer me including a teaching job in the Unit once I had my certificate. And, in a short time, I really did find my place here. Herbert was home and that was where our stories begin.
Herbert was not too small. It was a safe, clean, well-run community. There were thriving businesses in town right from the very beginning providing all the goods and services we really needed. I am old enough to remember the stores staying open on Saturday evenings when everyone came in to do their shopping and get together maybe at the Tuxedo for a maple walnut sundae at the end of the day. We bought everything from groceries to clothing to cars right here in town and we did our Christmas shopping here too, supplemented, perhaps, by the catalogue companies. I also remember my sister Cheryl and I pooling our resources to buy our first Beatles album "Twist and Shout" at Robinson's downtown and not that long after seeing them on Ed Sullivan. Most people bought all their groceries in Herbert where you could always charge or prepay accounts. I know that ours wasn't the only family that Bernard Wentland helped feed over the years. Our grocers would order favorite or advertised brands if they didn't ordinarily stock them. And they were very accomodating. One afternoon, I drove Mom downtown for her weekly grocery shopping. I dropped her off and then.. I forgot to pick her up again- it's a long story! Anyway, Shelby delivered Mom and her groceries to her door including her groceries from the other store!
We did all of our banking in town. Trust was a given- they knew where you lived! And you didn't have to sign over your first born to get a loan!
Herbert was not boring. We made our own fun often very inexpensively. Facilities were provided for curling, skating, swimming, football, ball games, golf, tennis and sleighriding. We had a library and there were music festivals, dances, drama clubs, sports days, rodeos and more. There were youth groups and school and community sports teams that everyone could join and there were places to just hang out. Isn't a small town a place where there's no place to go where you shouldn't? Herbert was always preety safe to let the kids loose in.
Jobs and careers were available including student jobs. And there were business possibilities and home based services. There were opportunities to serve on all manner of local communities, or in youth leadership or with service organizations.
There was that quality of all small towns where everyone seems to know eveyrone else's business, but everyone is also there to support you when you need them along with real caring and a generosity of spirit.
Our schools often provided exemplary educators and administrators and graduated students prepared for post-secondary education and the world of work. This overseen by parents who were involved with supportive of their students and teachers. Many were surrounded by and happily part of large extended families that got together regularly around town and the surrounding farm area. I can't even imagine not living near family.
And yes, Herbert was very well-churched! There were once 11 congregations in this town of fewer than 1000 people. The largest congregations were Mennonite whoe deep faith and wish to remain true to their convictions brought them here to settle right from Herbert's very beginnings. Thought I always appreciated their food (it really schmecks!) and their music (four-part harmony in the pews, not just the choir), it took the patient explanations of my in-laws and my friend, Julie and her mom, to help me understand Mennonite ways and traditions that had once baffled me and, as a teenager, sometimes made me feel excluded. However, I never did get that 'no dancing" rule- that always escaped me.
A Catholic church and other Protestant denominations opened and closed over the years... names changed...traditions changed,,, and most Herbert families could find one or another grouping that suited them at least for a time. Eventually even welcoming women in the pulpits and on the boards and embracing social justice issues, inclusiveness and, as we now refer to them "environmental radicals and extremists". God bless them! There was a church for everyone if you were looking for it and it often become the centre of one's social life.
In "The Replacement" it is said "The simple truth is that you can understand a town. You can know and love and hate it. You can blame it, resent it, and nothing changes. In the end, you're just another part of it"
I often think about the forces and ideas that brought together the branches of my own family and other families to form new families. Then these families with their cultures and backgrounds came together to build this unique town at Siding 14-480.3 miles west of Winnipeg. I set this against the backdrop of Canadian and world history and I imagine best selling books and epic screen dramas-well, actually, an entire television series that could come from the histories of Herbert's own residents to rival those of Guy Vanderhaege (who once taught here) or Sandra Birdsell, W.O. Mitchell or Miriam Toews (Yes, she's a cousin!)
I have imagined episodes and scenes and dialogue for this series. Try to picture this with me.
The first episode would show a receding glacier and an inland lake, then wide-open spaces with rolling vistas of prairie grass and proud First Nations, huge herds of buffalo and abundant wildlife.
Next, the railroad is built in the 1880's with sidings placed every 8-10 miles. Siding 14 is named Herbert after Sir Michael Henry Herbert, an English diplomat who became the British ambassador to the U.S.
The railroad decides to sell it's surplus land to settlers at $10 a quarter and people flock to the Herbert area- first ranchers, then Mennonites from Russia, often via Manitoba and the U.S. Then Norwegians, Swedes, English, Irish, Scots and many more. Men and women and children left everrything they knew, packed what they could, including food, for a trip that would take weeks- overland to the ports, days on the Atlantic and then by train to Southwest Saskatchewan- a dry, treeless, windy plain, always either too hot or too cold. Their first home might have been a sod hut or a simple, quickly-built structure to house a family and the animals so that sod could be turned and a crop and garden planted immediately so that they might eat in the fall. I'll bet no one asked, "Were you born in a barn?" when manners were lacking back then, because the answer might well have been "Yes!" And can you even imagine what women, especially with babies, must have faced in those early years. I fell anxious when the power goes off for an hour! We could then do a fast-forward episode as Herbert grows within only a few months of the first settlers arriving. Note the boardinghouse, livery stable, general stores, a postoffice, lumber yard, implement dealers, land agency, school and church services all supplied by daily trains.
There would be scenes to cover the hardships: the inhospitable environment, inadequate living quarters, prairie fires, grasshoppers and mosquitoes, crop failures, severe winters with snowstorms that lasted for days buring houses in snow and killing off livestock. There were crimes like horse and cattle stealing, assaults and even murders. Think of using cow chips for fuel, lack of health care, infant deaths, illnesses like diptheria, typhoid and scarlet fever. Then the First World War , the flu epidemic that followed and even the loneliness of life on the prairie with no contact with family and friends across the ocean.
But, there would also be scenes of fun and laughter, cultural activities and youthful hijinks; the copperative atmosphere of homesteaders looking out for each other; of good and excellent crop years; a mill and elevators and other prosperous businesses where credit was extended, with only a promise to pay when one could; and of the steady march of progress. Imagine the introduction of cars, farm machinery, telephones, electricity, radio, moving pictures and then taking pictures, home appliances, airplanes and the vote for women. Then a hospital, an Agricultural Society which staged impressive exhibitions year after year; sports teams with facilities and competitions; a Bible School and a venue for countrywide Mennonite conferences and music fests and ever- more sophisticated buildings and homes.
We would follow the lives of families: a trip across the ocean and the continent; a young man who forges passage on the Titanic that he might travel to Herbert with his cousin; a young mother of two who becomes a single parent of four when her husband, her siter and her brother-in-law are all taken by the flu epedemic of 1918-1919; the desperate flight of Mennonite families from the atrocities of post-Revoluntionary Russia to be received and taken in by counterparts in Herbert; a Chinese family's odessey and establishment and a town's appreciation and respect; a Jewish family keeping the faith here in Herbert.
Subsequent seasons would detail the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that did affect small towns in Saskatewan when local merchants were undersupplied, grain prices slid and banks collapsed.
The 30's brought devastating dust storms, grasshoppers, poor crops or no crops, farms lost, the humilation of being on relief and the town's relief efforts which also gave Herbert a reputation for being a good place for transients to stop. We would also depict the gratification in helping each other out and the delight in fundraisers like Chautaquas, plays, music festivals and bridge parties. Then the solutions in the form of strip farming and the PFRA irrigation project, the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and the Canadian Wheat Board.
We could touch on the abdication of Edward the 8th and then the coronation of King George the 6th and Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. It was our membership in the Commonwealth that again put Canada at war with Germany on September 14, 1939. Young men of military age (and often younger) were called up or volunteered in record numbers. Here at home were the fears and prayers for our servicemen, Red Cross drives, rationing and young airmen from the United Kingdom here for flight training and spending weekends in Herbert. Then D Day and VE Day and the servicemen and women coming home, some with war brides, and their stories, if they could be persuaded to tell them. There followed others escaping the devastation in Europe. For example: a woman with her young son finding security and a new life after a very difficult flight from Russia; a young husband and wife separated by war, each believing the other must be dead, reuniting almost 40 years later; other families, displaced by war with no place to call home and eager to make a new home here.
We were more and more affected by our ties to the U.S. and our shared border- by NATO, 9-11, Iraq and the Afghan conflict and the economic crisis. The world is too much with us. This was also evidenced by the innovations from the latter half of our century. Think of school buses and bombardiers, natural gas, water and sewer, artificial ice, dial telephones, paved streets, man on the moon (my grandma never believed that happened), equal rights for women and the marginalized (we're still working on that), TV- color TV- HD- 3D, satellite dishes, computers and cell phones. WOW! We have mourned the loss of our pioneers and also the loss of their dreams- that they would own the land they worked on, that it would be enough to raise a ramily on and to prosper from it. Long-time businesses closed and some were lost to fire. Many long established families have moved on. Some young Mennonites left to start anew in Paraquay and Mexico.
We lost landmarks filled with memories- the old schools, the old rinks, the castle and its grounds, the Ford builiding/museum, the old town hall, the Sunset or Herbert Motor Hotel, Tin Shop Slough and the Mill Pond. I miss these "places in the heart" and I plan to recreate them for our Herbert epic.
We celebrated the advent of the Medical Care Insurance Plan; the Patriation of the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; new hospitals, senior's housing and a group home; new churches, new skating rinks, new schools, new businesses. We celebrated Saskatchewan and the Roughriders, Canada and Herbert every chance we got. So my idea for at least one episode of our series would be a token homecoming party such as this. But we will do it as a musical with big production numbers0 all singing and dancing- the biggest number donw Herbert Avenue with the whole town dancing in step down the street- y'know, like Fame or Footloose or Glee. And don't tell me that Mennonites still don't dance because I know they do and I have proof: I watched many of you hesitate and then happily join in when dancing became part of the Phys Ed curriculum at school; my nephew says his girls love to dance! and here in writing is my invitiation to the MCC Relief Sale and Auction in Saskatoon on which it says "Sing, DANCE and Celebrate with Music by the Mount Royals".
So we are ALL dancing!
We have the town movers and shakers to portray and the local characters. Also those we sent out in th wide world to make a name for themselves and for us- the sports heroes and championship teams, scientists, medical personnel, engineers, innovators, business men and women, a Lieutenant-Governer and Senator, educators, journalists, broadcasters, filmmakers, actors, songwriters, singers, dancers and musicians, missionaries, world travelers and humanitarians.
We'll have scenes for the foodies out there where we introduce the likes of roll kuchen, plumi moos, verenicha, lefse, krumkaka, unspankoch, and Yorkshire pudding. All homemade and mostly with ingredients from our own fields and gardens.
The cinematographers will have to capture the quiet of the winter nights with only the snow crunching undefoot, perphas a coyote howling, northern lights dancing, and the stars winking. A passenger train might pass throught town all lit up and full of people from somewhere reminding us of our beginnings. We'll need lightening storms, wind, sunsets, rainbows, moonrise especially in the fall, grain fields, the sights and sounds of springtime and harvest, bird calls, the little town and the lights of home.
Our screenwriters will have to find places in the script for phrases such as:
Nah-Yo Zehtsa! Nun lese nach!
Brrrring me a Boh!
She'll go 80 to the Federal!
All used in context!
I think that our history book writers would be excellent consultants and researchers but we need everyone's stories, even those you wouldn't put in the history books... We would change names and have composite characters, y'know!
Perhaps my friend, Trent, can give some advise on how to pitch this project and to whom. Perhaps the CBC would be interested in funding a prairie version of "WInd at my Back" or "Road to Avonlea"- y'know if they have any funding.
Maybe.. we could get our collective cousin, Pamela Anderson, involved somehow. If she knew how many Herbert people are related to her, she might like to help us out. What if... we sent Pam to Regina... perhaps she could convince Brad Wall's government to reinstate the Film Tax Credit!! Then we could rebuild- I mean, actually rebuild- the old school and the castle for our sets. We'd provide jobs! We'd pay more taxes! We could afford more MLA's!
Well, at least we'd get a lot of media attention!
Really, can't you imagine such a screen gem? And we lived it! Dad used to say "If you want something done, ask a busy person- they're the only ones who have time!" I know it can be time-consuming, frustrating and thankless to plan and execute a weekend like this. I hope those of you involved also find it gratifying and that you have time to enjoy some of it. I would like to express my appreciation for this time with friends, family and former residents and for this opportunity to take part. I also wish to express gratitude for all the people who keep Herbert going- 100 years of councils, committees, and volunteers who have gotten Herbert this far and are carrying it into the future. Thank you and God bless you!
AN EXPERIENCE IN HERBERT- 1930'S STYLE
A memorable evening in anyones' life was a Saturday night in Herbert in the 1930's. After each weeks work on the farm was completed, it was necessary to go into town to obtain more groceries and supplies, and to socialize.
Where better to socialize than in Herbert- in one of the stores- Peters', Brownstones', Loepkkys', JK Wiebes' or the Herbert Meat Market. The stores were filled with people and characters. To make ones' way to another area, it ws often necessary to stop off the sidewalk which at most times presented no problem but when there had been a welcome summer rain, it could be very precarious.
Would you kindly join me on a cruise down memory lane (Main Street)? It is a warm Saturday afternoon and we first deliver the cream can to the CPR station and chat briefly with Mr. Sarka, making certain that the eastbound "Five-Fifteen" will be on time to make the pick-up. While there we must check to see who is leaving town, and why. The station platform is filled with people, and not many are sure why they are there. It is essential to wait on the train though and while waiting, why not watch a game or two of tennis at the adjacent tennis courts. Eventually the train arrives and leaves and the crowd dissipates. We drives our "Bennett Buggy" over to the Alberta-Pacific elevator and borrow a few books from Phil Burke's lending library. From there we drive over to Mike Michaelson's livery stable, unhitch the horses, and give them their well earned oats and hay.
Our next stop of course will be the Post Office and we arrive there just in time to see the mailcart arrive from the CPR station and we renew our friendship with Mr. French, the Post Master. The post office lobby is full at this time of day and access to Box 92 is not easy. No matter though, it will allow time to discuss a few important issues or not so important, with someone we had missed seeing last week. It is alos essential to take the time to read the new and the old items on the bulletin board. Here is an interesting notice- someone had lost his or her upper plate and a reward is offered! We must keep our eyes open on our way westward up the street. Concentration won't be easy though because the town is loaded with characters - and I do mean characters!
Our next stop is the barber shop and pool room. Outside the pool hall we have a conglomerate of local characters enjoying the warm summer evening air. Lefty Goertzen is drawing a second breath, and before Abe Buhr can utilize this rare occasion to give his own philosophy on the curren crop situation, Abe Koehler is giving his opinion to the many eager listeners. C.C. Friesen can't fully agree and we have a stalemate. A good time to move into the shop. Barber Friesen has his razor professionally poised on Pete Jahnke's throat and Tiny Toews is careful not to say anything to Pete that would require too much of a response at this critical time. In the other room Jake Cornelson is racking up a table and in the back room Spade Eight is already adjusting his eye shields for the forthcoming poker game. We have had several very timely rains, and the stakes may very well be riding very high tonight. Mr. Wentland winds his way through the hall looking for "Der Ewald"- No one has seen him!
We bypass the "bank" today becasue we think we have enough butter and eggs to trade to Brownstones' and Peters' for this weeks' groceries and we would be just as pleased not to run into Mr. Ramsey, in case he inquires about that overdue Promissory Note.
Now what is this large gathering on Brownstone's corner about? At first glance it seems it must be a reunion of the Lundeen School but no, although the Wilzers' and Lanberrys' and Francis' are well represented, the centre of attraction is Tony Haughian and he has something to say about insurance. Inside the crowded store Allan Brownstone is making a fairly easy, large sale to Mr. Seib and he is buying a dozen and a half so that each of his children will have one. Sarah is trying to match the colour of a thread for a customer to the colour of a Herbert Milling Company flour sack.
At Esau's garage we view a few of the latest cars, and stop long enough to watch Jack struggle with replacing a tire on a split rim. Doc Funks' Buick stops for gas and we are awestruck by its fine lines. Prof. Loeppky would rather drive a Chrysler and although we listen to him expound on its good features, we quietly disagree without creating an argument. Reverend Zacharias talks at length about the virtues of his Reo and it is hard to disagree when all you can compare it to is a matched pair of harness horses and a good buggy. The line of older cars on Esau's lot is certainly appealing.
Another crowd in front Peters' store. Pete Janzen and Alvin Peters are bringing out a cart of some of the finest baskets of blue grapes we have ever seen. They have just arrived from Ontario and are being quickly bought up. Boxes of beautiful red MacIntosh apples from B.C. and the smell of the fresh fruit at the front of the store is absolutely delightful. The bananas are more black than yellow but then they are for sale at an excellent price and we are careful not to buy before we check out Dorfman's price.
Heading west we pick up a new scent and are delighted with the smell of fresh popcorn and newly roasted peanuts. The popcorn stand is not the largest store in town but Abe Warkentin is doing a landslide business, which seems to us to be the finest example of free enterprise. "Herbert Money" is accepted and we are pleased with the good value we receive for this form of currency. It eventually makes its way back to city hall and pays for the grocer's taxes.
At Loeppkys' the "special" is on butter and eggs this week and since that is our strong suit we glance through the latest yardgoods and hurry across the street on our way to the Tuxedo Cafe. Inside Redekopp's office we see Ben Redekopp making another sale to Milt Holmes. We wonder if there will be a trade-in this year and speculate on a possible bargain on a new tractor to replace a few horses. Passing the Drug Store we note Wally Khoholz displaying another Rexall one cent sale. Once inside the Tuxedo we fight the crowds to a booth and make some hard decisions on how best to spend our weekly quarter. We must share it you understand and our tastes differ! The world is full of problems and we have some of the largest! Should we spend it all in one place or allow others to benefit? The evening is still young and the cafe will not be completely filled until later when the stores close and the weekly dance is over.
The next point of interest is the Herbert Meat Market where the door is open and the smell of newly made sausage acts as a magnet to draw us ino the store. The chopping block is busy tonight as many townspeople and also farmers buy their roasts and steaks. Bernard is skillful with his knives and cleaver and for the moment is too busy for a practical joke. The floorhas a new covering of sawdust and the atmosphere is one of a typical meat market of that era.
Wandering past Dorfman's store and Miller's garage we see old BJ drawing slowly on his pipe and scratching his temple before giving a final price on a shiny new Chev pickup. East a few yards farther and we note Herb Wiebe's office is very busy as the "Mayor" is in the middle of a three way transaction- Everyone benefits!
It is indeed a true benefit to be so fortunate as to be growing up in this thriving metropolis which is Herbert! Ths was Herbert in it's "Glory Days". In the midst of the Great Depression this town was extremely rich in human relationships and I am sorry that the younger people were to miss this portion of its evolution!
TOWN HISTORICAL INFORMATION BOOKLET
1) Methodist Church- 1009 Herbert Avenue- The Methodist Church was built on this stie in 1911. It was later used by the United Church congregation and was demolished in the early 1950s.
2) St. Patricks Roman Catholic Church- 507 Shaw Street- St. Patrick's church was built in 1912 by Edward "Doc" Evenson, a Norwegian Lutheran noted for his quality craftsmanship and inventions.
3) Herbert Mill- 200 block of Herbert Avenue- The Herbert Mill was built in 1906 by John Zacharias and began operations in 1907. In 1910 it was sold to Gerhard P. Siemens and Daniel Neufeld. In 1912 an elevator and spur track line form CPR was added. The mill was sold back to the Zacharias family in 1913. By the 1920s the mill employed 12 men and operated around the clock grinding 20,000 bags of flour per year. It was sold to a group of men in 1946 and then closed in 1948 after more than 40 years of operation.
4) Herbert School- 702 Prairie Avenue- The Herbert School was built in 1912 and added on to in 1926. In 1959 the high school moved to Connaught Avenue and the elementary school continued until 1990 when the building was closed. The building was demolished in 1991. The old school bell now resides in a tower in front of the school on Connaught Avenue.
5) Isaac Janzen Tin Shop- 902 Herbert Avenue- Isaac Janzen turned part of a house built in 1907 into a tin shop in the southeast corner of what is now the Herbert Park. The shop closed in 1941 when Mr. Janzen moved.
6) Tin Shop Slough- Herbert Memorial Park- The Herbert Park was once called the Tin Shop Slough because of Mr. Janzen's tin shop located there. The slough filled with water every spring and the water level was quite high all year. In summer rafting and boating took place there and in winter it was a favorite skating place. In the fifties the town attempted to make a swimming pool out of the slough but it was unsuccessful. Eventually the slough was filled wiht dirt and became the Herbert Memorial Park with the erection of a cenotaph in 1967- Canada's centennial year.
7) Atlas Lumber Co. Ltd. - 802 Herbert Avenue- Mr. Belyea, who is long time resident Ken Belyea's father, managed the lumberyard for many years. The building was demolished and in 1943 an egg candling station was built and operated for ten years. In 1959 the property was purchased by Bill Redekop who operated a John Deere dealership until 1966. The School Unit then used the property as bus service shop. The building also housed Blue Hill Electric and has ben owned by a number of private citizens.
8) F.J. Defehr General Merchant- 720 Herbert Avenue- The General Store was built by F.J. Defehr in 1906 and destroyed by a fire in 1923. The property was purchased by A.H. Loeppky who rebuilt the store and operated it until 1944, when it was sold to Ed Wieland who opened a Marshal Wells Hardware Store. After being owned by a number of other entrepreneurs, the building burned down in 1970. It is now owned by private citizens.
9) Klassen Hardware Store- 710 Herbert Avenue- The store was built by H.M. Klassen in 1911 and operated until 1934 by the Klassen family. The store was then purchased by F.A. Peters. In 1957 Rennie Unger purchased the store and operated it as Rennie's Grocery until 1975. The store changed hands many times in the following years and was eventually closed in 2003. In 2011 the building was demolished.
10) Klassen Lumberyard- 702 Herbert Avenue- H.M. Klassen built the lumberyard in 1907 and operated it until 1917 when it was bought by the Wheatland Lumber Co. In 1928 B.J. Miller replaced the lumberyard with a service station and in 1932 sold it to J.A. Esau who eventually took on the Ford dealership. Bill Bender purchased the business in 1945 and replaced the building in 1951. It was owned by J.M. Regier who took on the John Deere dealership, then became Mathies Motors, and Heffley Motors. It eventually became the Save More Food store and closed down in 2005. The building was demolished in 2011.
11) Tin Shop- behind Brownstone's store- One of three tin shops in town. Close to and north of Brownstone's Store.
12) D. Brownstone's Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, Boots & Shoes- 620 Herbert Avenue- Built by David Brownstone in 1906 and operated by him until 1925. From 1925 until 1935 it was owned and operated by Funk and Pauls as a hardware store. In 1935 it was purchased by Allen Brownstone and again operated as a general store until 1955 when it was purchased by Walter Hubrick who operated it until 1961. The building was demolished in 1963 and the property is now owned by a private citizen.
13) Barbershop & Billiards- 614 Herbert Avenue- Built by P. Kroeker in 1910 as a barbershop. Henry A. Friesen bought the building in 1915 and extended the building to add pool tables. In 1946 Jake Cornelson purchased the business and operated it until 1974. The builiding was purchased by the MCC in 1974.
14) Bank Of Commerce - 610 Herbert Avenue - The Bank Of Commerce building was built in 1911 and demolished in 1955. The current post office was built on this site in 1955.
15) Post Office - 604 Herbert Avenue - The post office was built in 1911 and demolished 1955. Barb and Dan Heidt bought their property from the Town in 2005, and Jason Harder bought it from them in 2007. Harder's Pharmacy was then constructed and opened in 2008.
16) I.S. Wiens Real Estate & Notary Public - 602 Herbert Avenue - Wiens Real Estate opened in 1906 in a small building and was replaced with a new building in 1911. Paul Lenz opened a shoe and harness repair business in the building in the late 30s. Len Toews then took over the shoe repair business. The last occupants of the building before it was demolished were Interprovincial Accounting. Jason Harder purchased the property in 2007 and it also became home of the Harder's Pharmacy in 2008.
17) Beaver Lumber - 520 Herbert Avenue - Beaver Lumber operated in Herbert from 1908 - 1978. John Bergen purchased the building in 1978 and rented the back end to Garry Redekop and Lyle Lee as an auto body shop. Garry eventually puchased the building and the front became Country Corner Boutique. Brad and Holly Peterson opened Six Star Grocery in the back end in 2007, while the front part is now home to Don's Tax Accounting and Herbert Morse Agencies.
18) R.J. McClelland Legal Practice - 603 herbert Avenue -R.J McClelland began his legal practice in 1911, and Herb Wiebe joined him after WWI, selling insurance and real estate. From 1943 - 2012. The deli will be opening again in August under new proprietorship.
19) John F.D. Wiebe Massey Harris Dealership - 605 Herbert Avenue - John F.D Wiebe operated a Massey Harris Dealership at this location. In 1964 the Credit Union was built, the seniors puchased the building an it became the New Horizons Senior Centre.
20) J.H. Harder Store - 607 Herbert Avenue - J.H Harder owned and operated a general store at this location from 1910 - 1939. It was operated by a number of other entrepreneurs as a store untill 1949 when John Schindle opened a dry cleaning business. the dry cleaning business changed hands several times untill the property, together with 605 Herbert Ave became the home of the Credit Union in 1964, and later the New Horizons.
21) John Funk & Co. Hardware - 621 Herbert Avenue - John Funk owned and operated a hardware store here. Eventually the property became B. A Miller Service Station. In 1933 B.J MIller puchased the business and it becane Miller propert is now a parking lot.
22) Kroeker's Department store - 701 Herbert Avenue - Kroeker's store was built in 1911. It had a Lambert cable cash system in which a clerk, when completing a sale would put the cash in a small box and send it via a cable system to the central cashier. The cashier would then send change back via the box. Peter Goertzen puchased the store in 1916 and then sold it to Jack Dorfman. The building was demolished in 1941. In 1948 B.J Miller moved two buildings from the Swift Current air force base and opened Miller Motors. In 1975 the building became Herbert Motors, and then Herbert Farm Equipment until 1991, owned by Bob Toews Gary Francis. In 1997 the building became Trans Canada Machining and subsequently Herbert Machining owned by Bob Mathies. Kelly's Kuts and Kurls is also housed in the building.
23) Union Bank - Behind and attached to Kroeker's Store -The Union Bank was located directly behind and attached to Kroeker's Store in 1912.
24) Bake Shop Restaurant - 709 Herbert Avenue - Jack McKeon built the restaurant in 1910 and in 2013 sold it to Wong Gin who renamed it the Tuxedo Cafe. It remained the Tuxedo cafe until 1985 and since the has changed hands a number of times. The building is currently the home of the Herbert Family Restaurant run by Sam and Kitty Yai.
25) Drugs Store - 711 Herbert Avenue - The drug store was built by W.P. Peters in 1908, and had offices upstairs for a doctor and a dentist. Prior to 1929 the telephone central office was also housed in the drugs store. THere have been numerous owners over the years with the current one being Chuck and Brenda Chow.
26) Josephson's Ford Garage - 801 Herbert Avenue - A.E. Joesephson built a garage on this site and in 1916 replaced the original building with the brick building now locally as "The Ford Building". Ford cars were assembled in this building and distributed to dealers in the area. the business cahnged hands numerous time until 1974 when it was puchased by Pete Klassen who operated the homestead museum there for meny years. The building was demolished in 2011 and plans are underway to erect a monument from pieces of the building on this site.
27) Livery & Feed Stable - 819 Herbert Avenue
28) Farm Implement Dealership - 901 Herbert Avenue - J.L. Dyck and Henry Penner built the building in 1907 and sold Mccormick farm equipment. C.J. Andres and B.F. Redekop bought the business in 1917 and sold John Deere equipment. The building was demolished in 1938.
29) J.L. Dyck Livery Barn - 802 Railway Avenue - The first livery barn in Herbert, it was built in 1912 near the old rink site. It closed down in 1929.
30) Ratzlaff's Blacksmith Shop - Behind Drugs Store - One of the first blacksmith shops in town.
31) Herbert Hotel - 706 Railway Avenue - The Herbert Hotel was built in 1908 by Stevenson. Wong Gin bought the hotel in 1935 and operated it for ten years. It changed hands a few times and was eventually demolished. The Sasktel building stands on this property today.
32) Billard Parlor & Barbershop - 620 Railways Avenue - A billard parlor and barbershop was built here and during WWII this building was used as the armory where local reserves were trained. In 1946 the building became the Bank Of Montreal, and in 1965 the building was demolished and an apartment building erected.
33) H. Siegrist Baker & Confectioner - 610 Railway Avenue - The first building at this location was H. Siegrit's Bakery and confectionery. In 1983 Parkside Memorial Funeral Home built a funeral home at this location. That building is now owned privately.
34) Bowling Ally & Pool Hall - 606 Railway Avenue - A bowling ally and pool hall sat here from 1909 - 1927. From 1927 - 1939 the building was home to the Herbert Herald Office. The building was demolished and a blacksmith shop was set up. In 1960 a funeral home was built by Alex Hood. It later changed to Prairie Memorial Funeral Home. Voth's Pumbing and Heating then operated out of the building for a few years and it is now owned privately.
35) Train Station - Southeast of its present location - The station was built in 1908 - 1909. Besides being the centre from which all farm produce was sent and all imcoming goods were receieved, the station also privided the very important telegraph service. Passenger service was provided for trains traveling east and west daily. The station also contained the living quarters for the Stations Agent's family. The station was closed December 10, 1970, although passenger serviced continued until 1990 when the last passenger train stopped in Herbert. The building was purchased by the Town Of Herbert in 1986. The Herbert Heritage Association moved it to its present location and restored it to become a museum in 1987.
36) Jail & Courthouse - Behind I.S. Wien's Real Estate - The jail and courthouse were located here in 1912.
37) I.S. Wiens House - 220 Shaw Street - This house was built in 1912 by I.S. Wiens. It was purchased by Dr. Bernard Funk in 1924, and later owned by Dr. Funks brother Dr. Henry Funk. D.D. Schultz bout the house in 1967, and William Parlee in 1974. It was declared a Heritage Building in 1985. It was bought by the current owners, Joel & Josh Erb in 2006.
38) H.M. Klassen House - 420 Herbert Avenue (Castle Yard) - A beautiful house was built here for the H.M. Klassens in the early 1900s. It was traded to Senator William Sharpe in 1920, and then sold to Dr. Bejamin Funk and renovated to become Herbert's First hospital in 1923. the hospital burned down in 1925. The "Holme's Castle" was built on this property by Tom Holmes in 1933. The Nursing home owned the property for a time an it now is owned privately.
39) Mrs. Maria Rankel House - 413 Dennis Street - This house was built in 1912 for Mrs. Maria Ranel. It was owned for a number of years by C.K. & Anna ANdres. It was purchased by Rad & Bettie Hall in 1975 and declared a Heritage Building in 1985. The house has belonged to Greg Heidt since 2005.
40) John F.D. Wiebe House - 220 Annable Street - This large two story house was built for John F.D. Wiebe in 1912. It was made into a nursing home/hospital in 1931 by nurse Margaret Enns, and closed in 1933. The top story was removed and the house renovated by Herb and Olga Wiebe, and sold again to Susan Anderson in 2005.
41) A.E. Josephson House - 805 Herbert Avenue - This house was built by A.F. Josephson who owned the Josephson Garage next door. In 1967 it was sold to Jacob & Mary Cornelson, then to Christopher Derksen in 1995. Duane Wiebe bought the house in 1998, and it is now owned by his parents Walter & Clara Wiebe.
42) J.L Dyc kHouse - 304 leonard Street - J.L Dyck built this house in 1910 and sold it to Benjamin and Anna Redekop in 1922. William and Loreen Redekop bought it from his parents in 1965 and still reside there.
43) R.J. McClelland House - 408 Shaw Street - McMlellands built this house in 1911 and it was owned by them until 1972 when Alex Postnikoff. Don and Bev bought the house in 1993 and it is still owned by them.
FAMILY ANCESTORAL HISTORIES
John F.D. Wiebe / Herbert Wiebe / John (Jack) Edward Neil Wiebe
John F.D. Wiebe, the third child of Elder Jacob A. and Justina Friesen Wiebe, was born in Annenfeld, Crimea, South Russia, on Febuary 28, 1872. In 1874 John moved with his parents to the United States (Hillsboro, Kansas) where he grew to manhood. He was baptized on April 2, 1988, and became a member of the Gnadenau Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church. On December 29, 1893, he married Anna Groening.
John went to Herbert, SK in 1905 with a view to settling there with his family. In 1906 he moved his wife and five children from hillsboro Kansas to Herbert, SK and settled on a homestead there, roughing it as meny others did.
In 1909 John was appointed Dominion Lands Agent at Herbert. He was also the Massey Harris agent during a portion of that time while serving as Lands Agent. John F., as he was widely known, was instrumental in activities that led to the eventual incorporation of the village of Herbert into a town. He was elected Herbert's first mayor and he held this position for a long time. His son, Herbert Wiebe, also held the position of mayor of Herbert for meny years.
John F.D. Wiebe was active in building the Herbert School, later used as a Bible School. The Mennonite Brethren Church is also a monument of his labors. His concern, prespiration, and dollars went into Herbert High School, Town Hall, and into other public activities such as establishing the Herbert Agricultural Society and the erection of necessary building. In spite of manifold private and public activities, John found time to indulge in a desire for politicalk representation. Fate, however, decreed otherwise, and he turned his efforts to the probable betterment of conditions for a great number of his fellow countrymen by way of emigration to Mexico. Economic and other difficulties arose that made it futile to further develop the move to Mexico, so John decided to retire to private life and endeavor to partake of the rest he so badly needed. This resulted in his settling on a farm nine miles northwest of Herbert. In 1940 John's health was impaired to such a degree that it became necessary to withdraw from all activity and retire to a life of rest and his old home of his early days untill his death October 11, 1941 at the age of 69.
Gerhard P. Siemens
Gerhard P. Siemens, his wife Maria, and small son George, arrived in Herbert in 1905 from Winkler, Manitoba. They had arrived in Winkler in 1903 after the trip from Holland with Gerhard's parents. Upon arrival in Herbert, Gerhard workd in a local store for a short timeto get a better command of the English Language. By 1907 he was operating a hardware store which also sold McCmick farm machinery, as well as top buggies and democrats. Gerhard P. Siemens and Dan Neufeld bought Herbert Mill from the Zacharis family in 1911 and operated untill early 1913. The Neufeld family lived in the house just north of Mill Pond, and Siemens family lived in the Zacharis house, west of the Mill on Herbert Avenue. The new owners build a elevator portion onto the Mil and they dug a well so that wter did not have to be hauled to keep the stream operated engineo operating. In 1911 Maria Siemens, Mother of Gerhard's four young children -- Geroge, Peter, Helen, and Maria died in childbirth.
Gerhard then married Maria Karkman from Kansas.
Gerhard sold the mill back to the Zacharias family in early 1913 and moved south of Herbert to the Greenfarm area so that his children could be raise on a farm. In 1906 he had taken out a homestead, NW21, Township 16, Range 9 and in 1908 when the government allowed preemptions to be taken on adjoining land, Gerhard had taken adjoining quarters. Gerhard farmed for the next ten years and became a Reeve of the area in which he lived. Gerhard and Maria had five children- Daniel, David (June's father), John, Lydia and Anne. Gerhard died on August 15, 1922.
Gerhard's three younger sons all enlisted in the Calgary Highlanders Regiment and served in Europe in World War II, all returning safely. David married an English war bride, Hilda, and their first child, June, was born in Birmingham, England. They all came to Herbert during the last year of the war where David farmed and raised his family- later including two sons, John and Brian, on a farm three miles northeast of Herbert. David passed away February 14, 1994 and Hilda died June 3, 1989.-
Wong and Mae Gin
Wong Gin was a lucky man. He came to Canada from China in 1908, and by 1913, he was the owner of the Tuxedo Cafe in Herbert, Saskatchewan. Thirteen years later, in 1926, he was the owner of the Tuxedo Hotel and Cafe, advertised as "The Bes Hotel in Town- Ice Cream and Confectionary- Meals at All Hours-Clean Rooms and Best of Service."
Wong Gin was also fortunate because his wife and family were not thousands of miles away in China. In 1927 he married Mae Yea of Riverhurst, Sask. and they had six children. Wong Gin was in competition with the Herbert Hotel owned by Mrs. E.M. Stephenson- "A Home Away From Home- Home Cooking-We Employ White Help Only". He must have been a naturalized Canadian, because in 1935, the year the province allowed the sale of beer by the glass, he bought the Herbert Hotel from Mrs. Stephenson and he was able to obtain a license to open a beer parlour - something many Chinese hotel owners were not permitted to do. Chinese wer excluded because the law required that the applicant for a liquor license had to be a person who was entitled to vote. The Chinese in Saskatchewan did not receive the provincial franchise until 1947. In 1939, N.B. Williams, chairman of the Saskatchewan Liquor Board, stated that some liquor licenses had been granted to naturalized Chinese "who had long operated hotels in communities and were respected there". It was not, however, the board's policy to grant a license to naturalized Chinese "who bought hotels after the former white owners had failed", Mr. Williams said. (Regina Leader-Post, August 22, 1939).
In 1945 Wong Gin sold the Herbert Hotel.
Wong died in January 1960. The Herbert History (1987) records the following tribute: "Wong had more than fulfilled the requirements of any citizen. As a pioneer to took an active part in building Herbert, for the well-being of his children and his neighbour's children. He had helped to build on every project that need volunteer labour- the school, hospital, skating rinks, curling rinks, exhibition grounds and Bible School....One winter he even won a trophy in a farmers' bonspiel. The Gin family has continued to be active and involved in the Herbert community ever since."
Heinrich and Helena (Schapansky) Buhr homesteaded the farm one mile east of Herbert before Saskatchewan became a province (about 1903). Grandfather was the first drayman for Herbert and when he heard the train whistle he would quickly ready his team of horses and be at the station in time to pick up and deliver freight to various businesses in town.
Our grandparents raised ten children on that farm. The only direct descendant with the Buhr name who still resides in the Herbert community is a grandson, Leander Buhr. Diane (Buhr) Fehr, a granddaughter, also resides there. June Buhr's husband, the late Jerry Buhr, was also a grandson. Great-grandchildren of Heinrich and Helena Buhr who reside here are Keith and Craig Unger and Glenice Kassett.
Abram Buhr, a brother to Heinrich, files as his homestead the SW quarter of 12-18-10-W3rd in 1904 when this area was still known as Assiniboia Territory. Abram never married but this parcel of land was purchased from him by his nephew Jacob H. Buhr, son of Heinrich. When Jacob retired, his son Leander purchased the land and he and his wife Marlyn became the third generation owners. The only visible trace of the original homestead is a lone poplar tree about the middle of the quarter.
In 2004, the family of the late Jacob and Tina Buhr, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the farm when Leander and Marlyn received the Century Family Farm Award. About 25 descendants gathered at their farm on the August long weekend.
Gilbert Francis/Joyce Light
Gilbert William Francis was born in Coxley, England on December 14, 1887. He came to Canada early in 1908 and found work near Regina. In early spring he decided to work for a homestead so he would be prepared for when he had enough money and supplies to go out on his own. He filed a homestead in 1909.
Joyce Annie Light came to Canada on July 28, 1909 and married Gilbert Francis that same day. They had been engaged before he left England.
On October 9, 1910 Gilbert loaded a C.P.R. boxcar at Pense with five green steers, a truckload of pole to make a straw barn, a wagon, a sleigh, some chickens and enough lumber to build a shack and some furniture. On November 3, after Gilbert had finished building their small house on their homestead five and a half miles north of Herbert, Joyce joined him there. He also built a straw barn at this time. In 1917 they built a wooden barn and in 1923 they built a large house.
Joyce LIght's parents and siblings came to Canada in 1911 and filed on a homestead north of Lundeen Lake, northeast of Herbert. Gilbert was the Chairman of the Herbert School Division for many years and was instrumental in building Coxley School- named after his birthplace in England.
Gilbert and Joyce had six children- Ruby, Clarence, Gladys, Raymond, Lilly and Douglas.
Joyce Anne Francis died November 6, 1968 and Gilbert Wiliam Francis died April 16, 1977. They both died in Herbert.
Katie (Mathies) Gerbrandt
The Jacob Gerbrandt family came to Canada from South Russia in 1903 and orginally settled in Manitoba. When land opened up for homesteading in southern Saskatchewan Jacob made the trip to Herbert. He chose a quarter section seven miles north of Herbert in the LIchtfeld community. He and some friends immediately built a dwelling to house his family.
The family, including six children and their parents, boarded all their belongings- furniture, horses and cows in a railroad car and arrived in the Herbert area in 1906. Six more children joined the family and the farm grew and prospered until the dry years.
In 1919 the family moved once again and eventually most of Jacob Gerbrandts' family settled in California. The second oldest son Cornelius had married Susie Klassen in 1917 and they chose to stay and farm in the Herbert area where they raised their family. Cornelius worked on various farms in the early years of their marriage.
In 1929 Cornelius purchased the SW quarter of 25-16-10 in the R.M. of Excelsior. Cornelius and Susie had six children: Katie, Jessie, Esther, Irvin, Harry and Elmer. Until recently Harry Gerbrandt and his wife Lena (Penner) farmed in Herbert where they raised their famly. They have relocated to Pambrun, Saskatchewan for retirement. Jessie, Irvin and Elmer are all deceased.
Katie lived her entire 94 years in the Herbert area. She married farmer Dave Mathies in 1942 and he passed away on August 19, 1994. They had eleven children, nine boys and two girls: Roy, Cliff, Betty, Ron, Herb, Harvey, Hank, Colleen, Bob, Ken and Don.
The youngest son, Don, lives on the home farm 5 km. west of Herbert where he and his wife Esther (Wiebe) raised their two boys- Dustin and Lanny. Dustin and his wife Kari live in Herbert. Ken and Colleen (Falk) have always lived in Herbert where they raised their children- Nathan, Clint and Courtney. Ken also farms west of town. Clint and his wife Pamela also currently live in Herbert. Bob and Irene (Wiebe) raised their family, Miranda and Robin, in Herbert and Bob owns Herbert Machining. Ron and Cindy (Funk) have raised their children, Chris, Nikki and Brittany, in Herbert and Ron continues to farm. Nikki and her husband Clint Hartog are raising their family in Herbert and Brittany still calls Herbert home.
Roy and his wife Lydia have retired on a farm west of Herbert. Betty and her husband Corny Andres live in Swift Current and their daughter Kristi is married to Niel Block and they ranch west and north of Herbert. Herb and his wife Marilynne (Siemens) live in Swift Current and Herb owns farm land in the Herbert area. Hank and his wife Brenda (Wiebe) live in Kindersley; Harvey and his wife Karon live in Saskatoon and Colleen and her husband Bob Leslie live in Yakima, Washington.
Katie has 30 grandchildren and 43 great-grandchildren. As of October 2012 five of her grandchildren and six of her great-grandchildren reside in the Herbert area. So the following are great-great-great grandchildren of Jacob Gerbrandt who moved to Herbert in 1906:
-Hailey and Madison Block (daughters of Kristi who is the daughter of Betty)
-Jaxon and Ebony Hartog (children of Nikki who is the daughter of Ron)
-Kendon Mathies (son of Dustin who is the son of Don)
-Nicole Mathies (daughter of Clint who is the son of Ken)
More details will follow regarding registration, events & activities as time progresses. If you have questions please feel free to contact the Herbert Town Office:
T: 306-784-2400 or F: 306-784-2402
Email: email@example.com or check our website for future updates & events:
We look forward to seeing you over the 2012 August long-weekend!