On April 25, 1935 the Northern Tribune carried an article which began, “On Tuesday evening of last week Bridgeview players presented the drama, ‘Dust of the Earth’ in the Masonic Hall here.”
The Masonic Hall mentioned was in Spirit River, and the proceeds of the drama went towards building a community hall in Bridgeview, about 10 miles south on Secondary Highway 731. A one-room country school had been established here in 1929, and a post office and store in 1931.
The people who lived at Bridgeview were mostly homesteaders, and they were a pretty active and social lot. I only found five articles in the paper, but besides the Bridgeview Players, the articles talk about a Young People’s Club, the Ladies Aid, the Bridgeview Hockey Club and an ice rink, a dance sponsored by the Veterans of the community, a box social and dance to raise money for the Christmas concert, the Holmberg orchestra, a skating party, bean supper and dance sponsored by the hockey club, and a wedding shower for a new bride. It always amazes me how much community building went on during the Great Depression.
The community hall was never built, and the school continued to serve as a community gathering place. Later on, ca. 1940, a small white church, the Bridgeview Alliance Tabernacle, was built just south of the school and a cemetery laid out behind the church. You can still see the old school, church and cemetery as the remains of the Bridgeview community, and you can read about the families in the book Memories and Moments: Bridgeview, White Mountain, and Willowvale.
The oldest collection at the Archives came from the Coulter family in Bridgeview. It contains the 1820 Will of Hudson’s Bay Factor John Davis, and, among other documents, this mortgage on the family horses and cows during the depression. This collection can be viewed as the Davis, Hodgson, Coulter fonds on our website.
Written by Executive Director Mary Nutting