Feb 102017
 
Hoosier Saskatchewan School

Tiny little middle-of-nowhere Hoosier is hanging on for dear life. A handful of people still live here, give or take, with more on farms in the immediate area. And while the CO-OP and Post Office slash Coffee Shop are open, it’s hardly thriving. There are just as many empty or forgotten dwellings and buildings in town as used or lived in. Sadly, this very same story plays out across the province of Saskatchewan, time and again, and many towns like this within its borders are sadly near the bottom of their long downslide.

We only made a brief stop here. A good ten or fifteen minutes, then like the wind we were gone. This was a scouting mission of sorts, plain and simple, a quick look to see what there is to see, with plans to return at some point. In order to truly honour or respect a place, we feel one must spend time with it. And this place deserves the time. It’s pretty special. This post will only be a taste. Later, we’ll make it a meal.

A Few Minutes in Hoosier: a brief stop in town to take in some old buildings, with hopes we’ll be back. Researched, written and photographed by Chris Doering and Connie Biggart. (BIGDoer/Synd)

Hoosier dates from the early 1910s and sprang to life with the coming of the railway – Grand Trunk Pacific, later folded into Canadian National Railways. The line existed for one reason, the transport of grain (Hoosier had some elevators). It was a typical prairie branch, sleepy, meandering, not so well maintained and at best a break-even affair. Still, the line managed to hang on till the 1980s.

At the peak many dozens lived in town. But that was long ago. Today, it’s not so many. If you and the kids show up there, well, the population triples. On our visit there was a home coming at the community centre. Lots of people about, the most the town has seen, no doubt, since the very early days.

Scroll down for photos and to comment.

There’s a few buildings left over from the past that are worth a look. One is the old Hoosier United Church. From 1916, it was used regularly into the 1960s, and then intermittently, often doubling as a community hall, into the 1990s. Mostly intact, the foundation is buckling, which is of great concern. Some beams have been put in to mitigate the problem, but that at best is a stop-gap measure. The issue might be terminal if something more is not done.

A bit newer, from 1930, is the old school. A fine brick structure, it’s seems oddly large given the always modest population of the area. Of course, the town and surrounding area was busier back then and people often had really big families in the old days. The building replaced an earlier school, a stunning structure also of brick, that burned down. The current building remained in use until the 1960s when it was closed. Today, it’s showing the ravages of time, and is rough shape. Some sections have or are collapsing. Sad to see it in such a state and I fully expect at some point it’ll have to come down for safety reasons.

Outside town is the Hoosier Golf and Country Club. Opened in the early 1960s, there’s a small “clubhouse” and nine holes. At one time, I guess it was a busy place, old photos proving that. We’re not sure when closed. No one we called was sure but the history book used as reference, published in the 1980s, mentions it still being open then. So we figure it lasted into the 1990s, if not perhaps a bit longer. It’s not in all that bad shape although the “links” are looking more like a farmer’s field than a course. Looking out across it however, one can picture happy people golfing away an afternoon. If we come back, we’re bringing some clubs. Lots of rough, so expect the wedges will come in handy.

That’s it for now, the accelerated tour’s over. There’s more to see in town and the buildings chronicled here need a more attention that we gave them. Unless the world comes to an end, I’m certain we’ll be back to give the place its proper dues.

More SK…
Canadian Forces Station Alsask.
The Clearwater (an operating drive-in theatre).
Bents (a “troubled” ghost town).
Neidpath Saskatchewan.

If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!

Date: July, 2016.
Location: Hoosier, SK.
Article references (and thanks): Book: Prairie Sod to Golden Acres – History of Hoosier District, Canada’s Historic Places (HistoricPlaces.ca), Jason Sailer.
Please show the town respect if visiting.

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Hoosier SK Golf Club

The first hole at the Hoosier Golf and Country Club.

Hoosier Saskatchewan Golfing

The club house.

Hoosier United Church

The century old Hoosier United Church.

Hoosier SK United Church

Beam is helping stop the foundation from buckling.

Hoosier Saskatchewan United Church

It’s still very much complete inside.

United Church Hoosier SK

How we found it.

Hoosier SK School

Across “town”, the circa 1930 school.

Hoosier Saskatchewan School

An old work book…

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14 Comments on "A Few Minutes in Hoosier"

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Eric Larsson
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Eric Larsson

(via Facebook)
I worked near Hoosier in 2001 and saw a golf course north of the town. I was told it was still being used and I believe it had to be as the sand greens were not overgrown, I remember it well because I just moved from BC and had never even heard of sand greens. I remember part of it went through a stubble field.

Tony Whalen
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Tony Whalen

School’s out… forever!

Simon Steffen
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Simon Steffen

Incredible yet sad. All the small town had such hope and promise, yet so few survive.

Jason Paul Sailer
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Jason Paul Sailer

(via Facebook)
A fun day Off the Beaten Path – with Chris & Connie.

Francesca Williams
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Francesca Williams

Wow so interesting I would love to see towns like this!

Barrie Geosits
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Barrie Geosits

A family in rural southern Oregon restored a school like this into a beautiful home. I hope that someone in Saskatchewan is able to restore this treasure.

John Barry Graham
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John Barry Graham

My Rodeo Buddy’s, The Ashbachers are from there. I used to check out the Old School when ever i was there. I still can not understand why no one will step up to the plate and do something with it. The old East Coulee School was in worse shape when i stepped in with my dad to save it !!! If i had the money, i would take it down, brick by brick, and rebuild in in the Drumheller Valley. I have been collecting old buildings hoping to some day set up a Historic Town, for Tourism and for the Movie Industry.

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