Johnson and Edith Lipsett
Johnson and Edith Lipsett, owned and lived north of Pilot Butte on a dairy farm when the opportunity to purchase more land arose. They purchased 80 acres from the Rural Municipality of Edenwold.
When the highway came through, a friend of theirs inquired about building a home on it, so one lot was surveyed. On this lot, Edith Lipsett's father built a house for Mr. Mahoney. As this home was being built, inquires came for the availability of more lots.
Johnson Lipsett was a man that never turned down a challenge, and when he told people about this new community he was starting east of Regina, most people in the district believed it was only good for a cow pasture, and doubled the wisdom of this venture, but he went ahead with this adventure and ......today you have White City.
Johnson and Edith Lipsett lived on an acreage in the early 1960s just down the highway from White City, where he continued to raise cattle and run his trucking company which he started in the mid-1950s. They moved to Regina in later years. Johnson Lipsett died in 1985 at the age of 83. Edith Lipsett lived to the age of 95, and was always amazed at the growth and beauty of White City. One of her pleasures was having a drive through the town when she visited her son who lives on the North Service Road.
Johnson Lipsett Enterprises continues on as the second generation to continue farming and run the trucking business. Today his grandsons now operate a trucking business as well as the farm, with four grandsons waiting in the wings to continue on his legacy.
What's in a name?
White City began on the 80 acres where Johnstone Lipsett pastured his herd of Galloway cows.
The origin of the name *White City* is unclear. One of the explanations we were able to uncover involves the White City Novelty Shop which was located on the property which is now 10 Service Road. In 1954, the store owner, John Kadannek, decided to name his store the ‘Wheat City Novelty Shop’, and had a sign made up. Apparently, that name was already in use so John decided the least expensive change would be to have *Wheat* became *White*. Another explanation uncovered was that John Kadannek had a favorite aunt who lived in the White City district of west central London, England, and persuaded Mr. Lipsett to adopt that name for the new community.
Recent Web searches have located a White City in New Mexico and a White City in Oregon. USA. In 2003, a Book by Erik Larsen was published titled ‘The Devil in the White City’.
After a search through a number of dictionaries, we found in ‘Websters New School and Office dictionary’ this entry: white city - a pleasure resort with carousels, merry-go-rounds, switchbacks, etc. so called, because the structures are painted white.
Any, or all of these possibilities may have played a part; but I have to wonder if the name did not *pop up* some cold and snowy January day…
White City 1960
Walter and Mona Mahoney were the first to build in White City on (Lot C of T, Block 1), now know as #4 Service Road in the mid 1950s. The second residents to build in White City were the Bierchenks on what is known as #16 Service Road, followed by the Dumurs on Lot 4, 6 and 8 Gregory Avenue.
Recent research has uncovered that in the early development of White City, Chartered Banks would not give mortgages to people wanting to build in White City. If you wanted to build, you made arrangements through lumber yards to finance your house. The average down payment was $25.00 with monthly payments of $25.00 per month. The average amount for a lot would cost you around $600.00.
Beginnings of our Village Council
On September 23, 1958, the residents of White City met at the home of Blair Stewart, to organize a Town committee and to discuss matters requiring immediate attention, such as power hook-up and the subject of becoming an Organized Hamlet. Bill Dumur was elected Chairman. Blair Stewart received the majority of votes for Secretary-Treasurer. Pete Dumba received the nomination as the third member of the Committee. The Committee prepared a petition to the Rural Municipality of Edenwold to request an Organized Hamlet status for the lands that are now our Village boundaries plus a 160 acre strip of land North of the Trans Canada Highway, and the quarter section which is now being developed as Emerald Park. We were unable to establish exactly when this petition was submitted to the RM, but it occurred during the period between the first meeting and a third meeting on March 16, 1959.
The minutes of the first Annual Resident Electors meeting held on January 30, 1960, closed with this statement: *Even though the board had a very rough go during the first year, this community is here to stay*. We applaud the persistence and dedication of these first residents.
The Pibroch School
The Pibroch school was built in 1907, the original location of the school was near the lagoon site south of White City before be moved to its present site on Lipsett.
Grades 1 through 8 were available at the school; Grades 9 and 10 were taken by correspondence.
The Pibroch School district No 2085 sold the building to the White City Ladies Club in 1966, for the sum of one dollar. The cost of the move to its present location was $500. Jack Ramm built the basement for the old hall.
Around 1940, Milton Betterridge was paid 25 cents per day for starting the fire at the Pibroch School, in the winter mornings. This fee included supplying his own kindling and splitting the wood. His service did "pay off", in later years, as Miss Dorothy Charnock, the teacher, becames Mrs. Milton Betterridge in July 1947. She was the first teacher of Pibroch School.
Marie Gottselig taught at Pibroch school in 1958/59, and lived in the teacherage.
There was a franchise back in the 1930's, a very small plant in the 30 block of Dewdney Ave, approximately 25' wide x 80 to 90' long. Often the Dad's Cookie manager would give us boy’s small bags of cookies, much to our delight. I might add that all the kids were very protective of this place of business, there were no broken windows.
As time went on the business outgrew its location. It was then moved to the 12 block of Albert St. on the west side. The building was 40 to 50' wide and perhaps 100' long. The building still exists on Albert St.
In the mid 1960s, council was approached by a gentleman with a proposition, council had to seriously consider. He proposed to build a large building (450'x100'). He said, he was going to bake cookies, which required large imported ovens that needed natural gas. His proposal required serious cash and the council to convince residents to sign up with him to put up some cash with him is advance. His name of course was Al Pickett, an older Al Pickett. The hamlet had just become a village in 1967 and SaskPower was not too keen on putting a line down to just supply Dad's Cookies. There were enough residents who were willing to put some cash down and gamble on this idea; that is how natural gas came to be put in White City.
In 1971, Harry Jardine was hired at Dad's Cookies to repair the roof. He was then offed a job as shipper/receiver. He worked at that job for 13 years, until Dad's Cookies closed in 1984 and moved to Toronto. Harry remained at the Dad's Cookies building as caretaker until the new owners took over.
The Peerless Turkey Ranch
Not all commercial operations in White City were considered an asset to the community. We uncovered a petition by the residents, dated April 23, 1959, which was aimed at the removal of a ‘turkey ranch’. It was located on Lot 3, Block 4, now known as 12 Gregory Ave. Apparently the odor emitted by this operation was quite the experience. We quote from the original petition: “The escaping odor, due to excessive ammonia fumes is unbearable, specially on warm summer days”, and ...”exhaust fans seem to whirl straw and manure around the area as far as 600 feet...” or this one, ...”residents, sitting on their summer porches ended up with turkey manure in their coffee”. The turkey ranch was closed in 1961.
White City Building Supplies
A small wooden building, just south of Dad’s Cookies was the home of White City Building Supplies. The business was owned by Walter Stuike and Don Taylor. It operated for two years, closing its doors in early 1962.
Have you ever had to limp to Balgonie or Regina with the gas gauge showing “E”? It seems we are about 50 years late, for there were many stations in our area. Lot D, Block 1, now know as 18 Service Road, was the location of the Royalite Oil Company gas station. The operators of this business were Pete Bogdane and Ed Nargang. This Business closed after it burned in the late 1950’s. A Texaco station had been located on this lot previously.
Norm Bechard operated the Blue Grass gas station and truck stop complete with restaurant on the north side of Highway 1. It closed in the late 1950’s. Mr. Dielschneider operated a B.A. station at the intersection of Highway 1 and 16. The station was closed in 1961 when the highway was twinned.
Twinning of a Highway
The annual report of the Hamlet Board for the year 1962, highlights our ongoing struggle for safe access to the Tran Canada Highway.
We quote: "Unfortunately, we did not succeed in our negotiations with the Minister of Highways to get a crossing over the highway for White City, due to the fact, that three different locations for such crossing were demanded by three different interest groups.
In connection with the twinning of the highway, the original highway was the westbound lane, it opened in 1953. The eastbound lane was opened in 1961. Any residents living on the Service Road lost one hundred feet of their property, in order for the Department of Highways to twin the highway. The original north property line of the Service Road lots is in the center of the present eastbound lanes.
In 1961, the Department of Highways had a plan to construct an overpass at #1 & #16 (now #48) highways. The existing BA gas station has to move as a result of this.
On February 12, 1973, agreement was reached by the Council and representative from the Department of Highways and the R.M. of Edenwold that Highway 16 should be relocated on the quarter line with the intersection at a right angle to the Trans Canada Highway. This is the current Highway 48 alignment. The abandoned route 16 is located just east of Wheatland Estates.
The First Community Hall And Community Hall Association
White City’s first Community Hall was the old Pibroch School which was constructed in 1907. The Pibroch School district No 2085 sold the building to the White City Ladies Club in 1966, for the sum of one dollar. The cost of the move to its present location in Poplar Park was $500.00. The first formal Community Hall Association was formed at this time. The White City Community Hall Association and the White City Ladies Club merged on January 30, 1970. Operation continued under the name of White City Community Hall Association. The first directors were Jack Ramm, T.F. (Red) Masererek, Dave Schaffer, Fay Wild and Ilse Biershank.
Spring 1974 brought the demise of the White City Community Hall Association. A Recreation Board was established under the auspices of Council on May 11, 1974. Appointed were John Scott, Gordon Mack, Dave Laliberte, John Meadowcroft and Dave Weir. In 1984, the White City Parks and Recreation Board evolved.
In 1985, the number one priority of the Board was to determine what type of facilities would best serve the recreation needs of White City. During the research for this book, we noticed an open letter to the community which was read during the annual meeting of March 4, 1974: “A strong social centre is good for any community, as it can be developed to meet many needs of both adults and children.” “The Village is on the threashold of a social centre will become much more critical over the next few years. It will become much more inadequate as the community expands.”