If there is anything Moose Jaw has lots of, it’s history. It’s easy to take for granted, but needs to be appreciated by all generations.
Moose Jaw was established in 1882 when the Canadian Pacific Railway chose the site for the town. James Hamilton Ross, Hector Sutherland and three others established the first homestead on Jan. 2, 1882. The CPR built freight yards and repair facilities in the city and in 1893 the Soo Line from Chicago was built.
Downtown Moose Jaw is filled with history. Sides of buildings are decorated with murals and buildings have a unique style of architecture not found in modern structures. On Saturday, there was a centennial celebration of the building that houses Chateau St. Michael personal care home. The building was first established as a boys college in 1912.
One of the earliest immigrants to Moose Jaw was a man named Yip Foo. A businessman, Foo became the owner of the Yip Foo Block and a major shareholder in the Russell Block, located at First Avenue Northwest at River Street West. Foo is now buried with his family in the Moose Jaw Cemetery.
The likely architect of the block, William Zimmerman, was born in Germany and moved to Moose Jaw in July 1909. Zimmerman designed Ross Public School on Willow Avenue in 1913 and the Royal George Hotel on Manitoba Street East in 1911. The Royal George Hotel is now the Park Hotel and still stands.
There are more stories of individuals who made significant contributions to the heritage of the Friendly City. Take Wellington White for example. White had a brick making business that ran until 1916 and owned what is now River Park Campground in 1898. It is partially because of White that there are so many early red brick properties downtown.
That doesn’t include the historical encounter between Sitting Bull, the Lakota Sioux and the North West Mounted Police under James Walsh that took place between Moose Jaw and Fort Walsh.
There are many other historical findings right here in this 130-year-old city. Lessons can be learned every day. If the legacy of the Friendly City is to live on, everyone needs to learn to appreciate it.
If young people stop caring, fast forward another 130 years and no one will know where the city came from and what types of people contributed to it. Don’t let 130 years of history go to waste.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.