Retta Thompson was a former resident of the T Eaton Co. house, currently located at the Kindersley and District Plains Museum, donated by herself and her sister May. She recently donated original artifacts from the house including an alarm clock and photograph of her father, Mr. Johnston Hill. In 1918 the precut lumber for the house was sent from British Columbia to Pinkham, Saskatchewan by rail. It was then brought to Zilda and Johnston Hill’s farm site by horse and wagon (6 miles northwest of Eatonia). The lumber cost $970 with an additional $750 for building materials. Included in the structure was a coal furnace and electric lighting. This pushed the total cost to around $2000. (Catalogue Houses-Eaton’s and Others) The house was built quickly by neighbors from close by and the family. It had a full basement with stone walls and a dirt floor. In 1940, the original siding was changed to a brick style.
Christmas of 1918 was celebrated in the Eaton’s house. Retta said that they always had company around. Her mother hired help until her brother Ruben was old enough to manage the farm and he spent the rest of his life there. She went to school in the area, with her siblings. The school was on their land, so it was only about a mile away. The kids would usually walk, but sometimes Retta’s friend would pick her up on her horse. Although the time was hard during the depression, they were always well fed and well cared for. She shared many happy memories in the house and it was a meeting place for everyone in the area. They used to play cards and visit with friends and family. On Thursday nights they would play old time music on the radio from Calgary, Alberta. Furniture was shuffled to the side to make room for dancing. This way the kids could practice for their school dances on Fridays. Retta enjoys visiting the museum and looking out the windows, reminiscing about the past. She still resides in the Kindersley area and now has a family of her own including 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter.
The Eaton’s house was built 100 years ago and still stands as it was built. More information about Retta’s home and others like it can be found inside the books “A Past to Cherish” (at the Museum) and “Catalogue Houses-Eaton’s’ and Others”.
Make sure to check out the Eaton’s house and the rest of Kindersley’s heritage at the Kindersley and District Plains Museum! Guaranteed you will meet wonderful people and enjoy learning many new things!