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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Behind the Photo: North Main Cabins (1950s)

Often I will see an old photo or ad and spend some time digging into its back story. Sometimes I find a great story, sometimes not. Either way, I learn a few things about the city's history. Here's my latest attempt:

Source: Peel's

I found this ca 1950s image at Peel's of a rather lonely looking development called North Main Cabins. I thought I would go back and see what it was all about !

ca 1950s ad

The earliest mention that I can find of Elsie and Henry Jehle's North Main Cabins is in 1947. They don't list an address but in local media advertised themselves as being in West St. Paul. Other ads mentioned being "7 miles north of Winnipeg" and "15 minutes from downtown Winnipeg shopping".

As the city of West Kildonan and RM of Old Kildonan sat between Winnipeg and West St. Paul , this likely put the development just outside of present-day Winnipeg city limits.(See below - the location was apparently around 3924 Main, just outside the city limits but inside the Perimeter.)

1952 ad

North Main Cabins catered to hunters and fishermen looking to avoid city traffic and make quick northern getaway. Rooms could be rented at a weekly rate and offered daily housekeeping service. At the peak of summer they also advertised as a motel with single rooms for $5 a night, doubles for $8. There were also electrical connections for camper trailers.

1968 ad

In the summer of 1957 the Jehles  put the 4.5 acre site with 200 feet of highway frontage up for sale. The ad specified "no buildings". It took more than a year for the ad to disappear from the Free Press classified section.

The couple either sold the development and moved to another lot close by OR it didn't sell and they kept on operating but didn't advertise in local papers. Why ? I found a 1968 classified ad of the Jehles selling a 7 acre "tourist camp with buildings" at
3924 Main Street. This is just inside the Perimeter, very near where their North Main Cabins stood.

If you have more info about the Jehles or their camp let me know !


Anonymous said...

I grew up in in the North End in the 80's & we used to go to socials @ The Copa trailerpark/campgrounds. It was just north of Shooters Family Golf Range. It was a throwback to the 50's going to their little social hall on the grounds.

MAR said...

The 'cabins' were right beside the Candle factory on Main. I remember them when we used to head out to Selkirk. We used to live on Highland Ave. in the early 70's.

Christian Cassidy said...

I never went to the Copa but remember it being a popular place - every wedding and spots social seemed to take place there !

Thanks for the tip on the location !

Riverman said...

I grew up out there.

The cabins were not beside the Candle Factory, they were quite a bit north of that. They stood at the present location of Atlas Welding which is listed at 3924 Main Street.

East St. Paul is on the other side of the river. North of the city of West Kildonan was the municipality of Old Kildonan, then north of that was (and is) West St. Paul.

The cabins were bought in the early '70s by a family named Yesis. They did some work to renovate them but I don't know how far they got.

Riverman said...

Also, this is far outside the perimeter.

Christian Cassidy said...

Thanks Riverman. Without an address I went with the "15 miles from Winnipeg" they used in their ad which I didn't think was that far north. Also, yes, that second mention of "St. Paul" should have also read West St. Paul, not East.

Christian Cassidy said...

Actually, rereading the ad they said that they were 15 minutes from downtown !

MAR said...

Then what other cabins were beside the candle factory? If you drive on Main, you can see the remnants of I think one of the water pumps. There were 4 cabins there as well. Does anyone know of these ones? They must have been torn down in the mid-seventies.

Anonymous said...

I've got another real photo postcard of this site. The view is taken from the right of the right-most cabin in this image. Written on the back is "Our night in Canada 1952"
My card has a Canadian "CKC" real photo stamp box on the back.

canafornian said...

Christian, I have a different photo postcard of the cabins that I will send you. I think it is the one mentioned by "Anonymous (above) - as it has that same note on the back. Thanks for the research that you have done. I hadn't found any references prior to 1952. One of those cited "7 miles from Winnipeg". In 1953, the cabins were being rented (in late fall) as furnished 2 bedroom homes close to bus & school. I also came across an interesting article about a house fire that could well have been one of these cabins. Will send articles.