Together At Last - 7
Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum
The Dontianen is a part of the "Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum" which is situated eight miles south of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. We would like to give you a brief history of the museum.
The "Antique Automobile Club" of Saskatchewan was started in the fall of 1961, by six men; Bill Meacher, the first president, Dick Meacher as secretary-treasurer and Austin Ellis, Ross Ellis, Horace Marshall and James Taylor as members.
The club soon acquired more members. The one thing they all had in common was the lack of storage space. In 1963, it was decided to start raising money to purchase land on which to build a museum to store and display the cars. It took until the winter of 1968-69 to find land they could purchase to build on. At this time they bought ten acres of land from Erald Jones.
The first building on the site was a garage, ten by twenty feet, used as a tool storage shed. It was made from a kit consisting of a frame of two-by-fours, covered with galvanized sheet steel. Mr. Frank Crosbey of Expanse, Saskatchewan ordered this garage from the Eaton's Catalogue in 1928. Mr. and Mrs. Alber Eason of Moose Jaw donated it to the museum and Bill Meacher, Bob Jones, Bill Smith and Ray Bobrowsky transported it from Expanse to the museum on a car trailer.
As soon as the weather permitted, construction started on the museum building. This building is thirty-six feet by seventy-two feet and cost $2,000.00 complete with power.
Soon other buildings were added, and a village began to take shape. The following is a brief description of some of the earlier buildings acquired by the museum.
1969 - Settlers' house from Baildon. 10' x 12', built by the village handyman in 1914. It was moved by Les Willford, with the help of Larry Poitras, using Les' tow truck.
1970 - Spicer School. Built in 1904 in the Four Corners District, fourteen miles south east of the museum. The school was purchased for $150.00 and moved by Bill Pryor with the help of club members.
1971 - Bill Grimshaw Homestead House. Built by Mr. Grimshaw in 1906, eight miles north of Parkbeg. He lived in it until 1956 when he moved to Moose Jaw. The building was donated by Mr. Bob Hamin of Parkbeg, and was moved to the museum on a car trailer by Dick Meacher and Ken Williams.
1972 - Tilney United Church was donated by the United Church of Canada. It was built in 1907 in the town of Tilney, Saskatchewan, ten miles south east of the museum. It was moved by Mr. Ray Butz.
1973 - Sukanen Ship was moved in.
1974 - General Store. This had been built in Baildon. In later years it was used as a community center, and was donated to the museum by the Community Club. It too was moved by Ray Butz.
1975 - Carriage House and Blacksmith Shop. Built by Mr. Sawfield on his farm south of Caron. He did the blacksmith work for the local community. It was donated by Bob Willhoff and moved from twenty miles west to the museum by Ray Butz.
1975 - Railway Station. Purchased from the Canadian National Railway, it was built in 1911, and moved from Baildon, three miles east of the museum by Pete Straza.
1976 - Service Station. This was a garage in the 1920's, located in the zero block of River Street East in Moose Jaw. It was donated by Sunshine Cleaning Service and was moved to the museum by a grants crew under the direction of Dick Neve.
1977 - Municipal Office. Donated to the museum by the Rural Municipality of Baildon when they moved to their present site. It was moved by Ray Butz.
1978 - Display Building. This was purchased from the Mortlach Masonic organization who had used it as a meeting hall for about forty years. It was originally built in 1905 as a general store and was moved by Ray Butz.
1978 - Dalrymple Settler's House. Built on the Dalrymple farm in 1881. This was the first house built in the Moose Jaw district. Located in the Archydale district it was the first stopping place for travelers heading northwest out of Moose Jaw. It too was moved by Ray Butz.
1987 - Blacksmith Shop. This was operated in Eyebrow, by Jack Carrick from 1936 until its closing. Mr. Carrick's family donated it to the museum, completely equipped, right down to the bolts and washers in the bins. Mr. Jack Carrick purchased the shop in 1936 and as yet we have been unable to find out the date it was built. It too has been moved by Ray Butz.
A farmstead is also part of the display at the museum.
We are all very proud of our accomplishment in building this museum. It has been built and is maintained entirely by volunteers .
The museum is open from May until September each year, with two major events during that time: Museum Learning Days in June and the Threshing Bee in September.
We hope to see you there.