Country town : the history of Minnedosa, Manitoba, 1879-1922

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Potyondi, Barry,
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This thesis is about the development of a country town during its formative years. The setting is Minnedosa, Manitoba, in the period from 1879 to 1922. It is an exploration in local history which seeks to understand the interplay between the specific and the general, local society and the larger society. The theorethical underpinnings of the thesis derive mainly from the Leicester School of local history, whose principal tenet is that the study of a particular community or society over a finite period possesses an intrinsic worth. Each community has rhythms and patterns of development, as well as a chronology, which set it apart from all other communities. The limited geographical scope of such a study is not, however,to be confused with parochialism. If the study is structured around universal themes, themes common to all similar communities, then its findings will have implications beyond the boundaries of the community examined. The country town, as a central feature of the prairie landscape and as an important focus of nineteenth-century life, is a type of community especially worthy of study by the local historian. This thesis is written around four broad themes. The first is that of site, best articulated by W.L. Morton. For some two hundred years prior to European settlement, the comparative hunting and trapping advantages of the Minnedosa area lured and held both native groups and mixed bloods. With the influx of homesteaders into the area after 1878 the future Minnedosa townsite became an important river crossing, and this prompted small-scale commercial development there. By 1883 local entrepreneurial activity had secured a railway connection for the incipient conmunity, which established Minnedosa as a commercial metropole for much of northwestern Manitoba...