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These days, we take the concept of sending oil, even from Saskatchewan, to the United States for granted. It is just something that happens, but it was not always the case. It was not until mid-way through the 20th century that the first shipment of oil went from Saskatchewan to the United States. When it happened, it included the Coronach area in its historic voyage.
It was in October of 1949 when oil was loaded into a tanker at the Moose Jaw Refinery, which would make its trip down to Scobey, Montana, where it would be put into the power plant there to provide power to the people of the United States.
The trip began and would take roughly five hours. Upon arriving at Big Beaver Customs, the truck was greeted with applause and cheering by the people there, standing at the international boundary. Frank Martina, a 27-year-old man, was working at the time at the customs office and has the honor of putting the first shipment of oil through to the United States. This was the first time he had even seen, or heard of, oil being shipped down to the United States.
On the other side of the border could be found Lester Bowens, who would allow the oil tanker to travel through the border into the United States, to continue on its journey to the power plant in Scobey. The tanker held 2,550 gallons of oil, which was then pumped into the 20,000 gallon storage reservoir at the power plant.
From that day, the shipment of oil began to the United States, and today, our economy is thriving thanks to those oil shipments, which all started on a cool October day in 1949, through a small customs office located at Big Beaver.