Located between Radville and Colgate, Webster was created in 1911 as another stop along the CPR line. Many who moved there expected it to become a very important town and stopping point for trains because it was located just north of Goose Lake. With its close proximity to Goose Lake, it was felt that the locomotives would stop there to get a supply of water. The CPR seemed to agree and before long there was a CPR station house, section house and stockyards.
The town quickly began to grow and on April 1, 1911 it had its post office and postmaster with Roman DeBruyne taking the job. He would stay for only a few months before resigning on Sept. 1, 1911. J.A. Saindon took over from him and remained for one year. At this point, Neere BVailey took over.
There were several other businesses in the town including a flour and feed store, a blacksmith, a livery stable, a boarding house and a restaurant. An Anglican Church was also built in the community.
Unlike many other communities at the time, there were no grain elevators in the community. Instead, grain was loaded by hand over the loading platform.
Cattle were also shipped out of Webster in great numbers. A Mr. Spiegelman from Winnipeg used the stop to buy all his cattle in the area, from 1920 until the mid-1940s. All of his purchases went through the Webster Stockyards.
Eventually, Webster changed its name to Dunning to honour Charles Avery Dunning, the premier of Saskatchewan at the time. The writing was on the wall though for the community, and many felt that the name Dunning should have been Done For.
Many businesses began to leave in the 1910s and 1920s, most going to the nearby community of Neptune. Neptune was at the time the end of the line with potential to serve a larger area. The Anglican Church would eventually move to that community as well. Neere Bailey also moved to Neptune in 1914 (four miles away), taking the post office with him to become the Neptune Post Office (which would remain until 1965). In the 1940s, the stockyards and stationhouse, two important parts of the early community and the last remaining vestiges of the community, would leave as well.
Train service started to Neptune in 1913, and the town quickly grew but it would never quite reach the size that Webster was before the businesses left, abandoning the town after a very short history. The community would hang on for several decades, before the railway was eventually taken away in 1961.
Leave a Reply