Wednesday, 23 August 2017

R.M. of Pipestone Municipal Office - 100 Years Old

Above the door on the right, the year "1917" is carved in the R.M. office in Reston. Over the years, I recall being told the contractor for the building was Randy's Great Uncle Arthur Henry Bushby.  
Finding out its story and our connection seemed like a great summer project! The Reston Recorder and Pipestone CAO Michelle Halls were generous in their help on my quest. As detailed at this link, the grand old building was granted Provincial Heritage Site #106 on January 25, 1999. 

The first mention of a new building is in the archives of the Recorder's April 25, 1917 edition. Reeve A. E. Smith and Secretary-Treasurer Arthur Perry Power were appointed to a committee to report back to council on the cost of a lot, and brick building, or otherwise, the availability of a suitable building to rent.  The municipal business had so far been done upstairs in the drugstore on the southwest corner of Main and 2nd. 

Reston was a booming prairie town and the main street fires of 1915 and 1916 had also made for plenty of construction work in town. Arthur Bushby, his wife Lou and their 7 children lived in the Harcourt Berry home that was once Jackson Boarding house and is now home to Rick and Lorelei Bloomer.  Lou was musical and was often a soloist in the Anglican Church and a local drama director.  Arthur lived in Reston from 1906-1928 or so, and he is credited with construction of many of Reston's fine homes and businesses including the bank, the Masonic Hall and McMurchy Garage.  In 1926, he was awarded a tender to build a two room high school at a cost of $1145.   Arthur's sister Elsie had married Thomas Boulton in 1915 and lived south of town and another sister Gertie worked at the Recorder.

In the spring of 1917, bylaw 597 was passed for the purchase of Lot 20 Block 28 in Reston for the site of a Municipal Building for $100.  It was to be situated immediately north of the Church of England (Anglican Church). The plan was to use it for a municipal office, council room, and telephone central.  To quote the Recorder:
" The building to be erected will be a handsome brick structure and will doubtless be a credit alike to the town and the municipality ". It was indicated a building of their own would amply justify the savings in rent.

  The  architect hired to design the building was William A. Elliott (1866-1957) of Brandon.  It has been said that many schools and other large buildings share his design vision, and this particular one has been described as an informal Italianate villa style with a broad roof overhang and a corner tower.  The foundation was made ready with a team belonging to J. I. Bulloch and construction began in the fall. 
From Reston Recorder issue September 6, 1917 
October 25, 1917

January 24, 1918

On Monday February 25,1918 Secretary-Treasurer Power moved his office belongings from over the drugstore into the new building. The Recorder reports that the Interior's finishings of clear spruce were varnished to show off their grain.  Some current day pictures below show some of the handiwork upstairs and what is presumed to be original furniture. Renovations were later completed on the council chambers to meet modern needs and accessibility concerns. 







" The clerk's office is directly at the front of the building, well lighted and airy. The door opens in a small hallway where the counter is stationed over which ratepayers can do business with the Clerk. 
The upstairs is divided off into the telephone room, and a room for the night operator, while at the rear of the upstairs of the building can be petitioned off as offices or rooms. "
" The whole structure, both inside and out, presents an imposing appearance and is well worth a visit by each and every ratepayer.  It stands out as a credit to the architect, the contractor, and to the decorator and can be pointed to with pride by every ratepayer."

The 1981 RM history book states the total cost of the building came in at $6713.60 and the first meeting was held in it on March 6, 1918.

I wonder what changes another 100 years will bring to Reston and the R.M. of Pipestone.  I hope this building is still here to see them!


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