Our Early History

Springs of pure water along the old Dakota trail attracted settlers to make the present site of Springside a main stopping place on their trek farther west. The railway was surveyed parallel with this trail and the siding named Patrick in honour of the Yorkton district pioneer doctor, T. A. Patrick. 

The official location of Springside is 186 rail miles east of Saskatoon and 16 rail miles west of Yorkton. 

The first settlers in the vicinity of the village were from the British Isles or from Ontario, also of British extraction. To the north east of Springside, Ukrainians homesteaded and to the northwest, German-speaking peoples made homes on their claims.

The earliest pioneers engaged chiefly in ranching. The land was rolling and bushy with patches of fertile prairie soil. As the land was cleared and broken, it was found more suitable for grain growing so the settlers turned to mixed farming. The district has since developed into one of the most productive in the province.

In July of 1903, as the railway was under construction, Mssrs. F. H. and Will Willis of Exeter, Ontario, chose the new settlement to try their fortunes in the newly-opened west. They sent for a carload of lumber from Yorkton and began construction on the site's first building. By September, the Willis Bros. opened for business with a supply of general merchandise and lumber.

The winter of 1903-1904 brought a great deal of snow and few trains, so the trip to Yorkton for mail was a long and hard one. Dr. Cash, MP for the constituency of Mackenzie, was approached with regards to opening a post office in the hamlet. However, since another locale in the territory was already named Patrick it was clear that the name should be changed. The presence of the springs beside the trail prompted the few residents, with the consent of Dr. Patrick, to petition the Post Master General to call the post office Springside. One of the main streets in the village received the name of Patrick. F. H. Willis was appointed postmaster that summer and received the first batch of mail on July 1, 1904.

Many of the original businesses in Springside were started by district homesteaders. They included the Davis Brothers (Walt and Will) Livery Stable, Henry Turner's Lumber and Central Agency for Miss Seaton of Winnipeg (owner of much of the village site), J. J. Howarth's General Store and Implement Shop, Ed Pullman's General Store and Pool Room, G. H. Turner's Lumber and Implements, William Dinsdale's Boarding House, E. S. Atkinson's Hardware, L. Weidman's and Ben Bennett's Blacksmith Shops, W. N. Evans Insurance Real Estate and Telephone Agency, A. Edge's Butcher Shop, C. Slack's Livery Stable and Fred Cumming's General Store. CPR business was carried on for some time in a converted box car by their agent Alex Sarka. 

Dr. Pemberton was resident doctor of the village for some time during the early years. He was followed by Drs. H. Wismer, A. Crawford and G. Fairbairn. G. Crawford and H. W. Edward were Springside's druggists. Miss Annie Spencer, Registered Nurse, operated a small nursing home for a few years and secured the services of doctors from Yorkton. 

The services of resident doctors and druggists came to an end as the Depression set in. A new highway (now known as the Yellowhead Highway) made travel to Yorkton easier and these services were never revived in the town. The highway was built during the 1930s through the efforts of A. C. Stewart, Minister of Highways and Member for Yorkton.

The Saskatchewan government declared Springside a village in 1909. Councillors elected to the first village council were F. H. Willis, J. J. Howarth and Henry Turner. At the first meeting held on January 3, 1910, at the J. J. Howarth Implement Warehouse, Mr. Willis was appointed chairman and William Dinsdale as Secretary-Treasurer and Assessor, the latter's salary for the first year being $25. To celebrate the occasion, the newly-elected council hosted a dinner at their own expense for all ratepayers of the village at the conclusion of the meeting. 

From information in Springside and District Memoirs, published in 1980. Copies of the book may be viewedat the Town Office.

Above: Front Street in the early days. From the left, Henry Turner's office, Simpklin's General Store, Davis Bros Feed Stable and office, Frank Willis' General Store and house, William Dinsdale's boarding house. Behind can be seen Charlie Beck's General Store, Thompson's blacksmith shop, school and barn.