Power Plants

Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada


One of the reasons Estevan is now called “The Energy City”
The First Power Plant in Estevan was located where Foley Motors on 4th St once stood

It was owned and operated by a Mr. George G. Collison and a Mr. William Henry Skinner

William Henry Skinner
b- Feb 1871 in Ontario
(b- Sept 13, 1875 per 1901 census, age 25)
d- Aug 17, 1925, in Estevan Hospital following an operation for his stomach, in Estevan SK, age 54
He is buried in Estevan City Cemetery
shown as an electrician in 1911 Census living in Estevan
He was a lineman and meter reader for the power plant in Estevan for 17 years prior to 1925, when he died.
wife- Mary Francis Collison, married in 1900 in North Portal.
b- Nov 13, 1884 per 1901 census, age 16

6 children:

Elizabeth Grace Skinner
b- July 2, 1900 in North Portal SK
d- Possibly Detroit Michigan
married Mr. B. Tawn, lived in Detroit Michigan

George Henry Skinner
b- Jan 15, 1904 in Coalfields, SK
d- Winnipeg MB ?

Mary Edna Skinner
b- June 6, 1906 in North Portal SK
d- Aug 30, 1906, at North Portal, 2 1/2 mo old.
Methodist, burial at North Portal Cemetery

William John (Harvey) Skinner,
b- Oct 5, 1907 in Estevan SK
d- ?
1923 he won a Senior boy's Champion Cup at ECI
also found a record where he was a winning boxer in 1924.

Clarabelle Skinner
b- ? d- maybe in Winnipeg MB

Ruth June Skinner
b- ca 1912 in Estevan SK
d- maybe in Winnipeg MB
married June 21, 1935,
Frederick C. Weismantel, b- ca 1911 in Corona NY
a musician from Whitestone NY
son of Mr. and Mrs. Otto Weismantel
she was age 23, he was age 24 when they married

1901 William Henry Skinner was living in Roche Percee, with his wife and daughter Elizabeth.
shown b- Sept 13, 1875 in this census
wife Nov 13, 1884, age 16, age 25
He was shown as a farmer here.

1906 family living in North Portal area, William Henry Skinner shown as a farmer again.
He came to Portal area, to take up a homestead, 34 years prior to 1925, from North Kepple, ON
ca 1905 he came to Estevan to farm for 3 more years, before starting to work for the town.

The other owner/operator was George G. Collison Jr.
shown in 1906 census with his family in the Estevan Area, age 44 in 1906.

Collison Picture and Family info courtesy Mr. Lloyd Collison, from Garden Grove California, who is researching this family

George G. Collison Jr.
b- Sept 27,1859 in ON
d- Mar 27, 1916 in Winnipeg, age 56

living in Killarney, Souris, MB in 1911, occupation Engineer

George Collison married Elizabeth Anna Davis in Owen Sound, ON.
b- Oct 1864 in ON
daughter of William Davis, and Mary Jane Anderson
George shown as an engineer, born in Owen sound, age 22 when he married
living in Hamilton when he married
Elizabeth born in Southampton, age 18 when she married

They had 5 children I know of:

Mary Francis Collison (see below)
b. 1884
d- ?

Margaret Jane Collison
b. 1886
d- ?

John H. Collison,
b- July 1888 in ON
d- ?
age 18 in 1906 census
in 1911 census shown as an electrician, age 22

Ida May Collison
b- June 11, 1904, at Coalfields SK
d- ?
shown age 2 in 1906 census

George Albert Collison
b- Dec 1, 1894 in SK
d- ?
shown age 11 in 1906 census

George Collison was the son of George Collison and Fanny Roselle

His oldest daughter Mary Francis Collison, married William Henry Skinner the other owner/operator of this first light plant. So now we know the family connection.

It was the Old Power Plant at 814 6th Street
built around 1911 (one source says 1910)
It was built by the Town of Estevan.
It cost $32,000.00
it had a capacity of 300 kw
It later became a brewery after the station below was built.

I believed this was the location of the Souris Breweries Ltd
Souris Breweries Ltd. were operating in Estevan from Apr 1928 to June 1933 when the plant was moved to Great Falls Montana
Sept 1932 the Western Trust Company in Regina were accepting bids on the buildings and equipment
This Joint Stock Company was incorporated in Oct 1927 with $180,000 capital
main promotors were Jake Krivel owner of the Krivel Hotel in Estevan, shown as a director in the company in 1932.
and the brewer Mathias “Matthew” “Math” Pitzl from Munich MN, USA
They produced a beer called “Pitzl's Beer”, slogan “the Best Beer in the West”
but then I found an article Aug 1927 which stated they were to build a new building
Concrete, Tile and brick, 100 x 125 ft, on a site to be chosen later.
It was to turn out 100 barrels a day,
The equipment was bought new in Munich MN. in one article,
and another article says Pitzl moved his Munich MN brwery on a train to Estevan
This new building was to cost $100,000
Matthew Pitzl died in Canada in 1931 per one article, but I find him in 1940 US census age 62,
born abt 1868 in Abelton Hungary in one article, and Austria in the census forms.
Pitzl's Headstone says b- Mar 3, 1878, d-Dec 15, 1960
he married Rosalia Grundtner
The plant closed when it was discovered the water was contaminated with alkali Salts.

This is shown as the electric plant ca 1914 in Estevan
Located at 814 6th St.
Photo from 1914 Historical Booklet

Mar 3, 1917- Superintendent Dethridge of the Power Plant in Estevan electrocuted himself, working on a pole on Third st. he was thawing a frozen pipe, and hit the main power at a transformer on the pole.
His helper William Gallagher managed to call to turn the plant off to rescue his boss.
Mr. Dethridge lived on Valley St. per article, but shown on 1st st in the 1916 census

Stanley George Dethridge Sr.
b- Mar 11, 1882, in London England
d- Friday, Mar 24, 1961, North Bay, Ontario
Buried in Riverside Cemetery, Regina, SK
Took his training in England, worked for the Middlesex County council
Immigrated in 1906 to Canada
Credited with making Regina's Power system move from a small plant to a modern plant
He was Superintendent of the Regina Plant from 1943 to 1947 when he retired
Came to Canada in 1906 and to Regina in 1907
From 1913-1919 he was the Town Engineer in Estevan
He was also consulting engineer for Western Dominion Collieries
1919 he returned to Regina for one year, then went to Kamsack as Superintendent of Utilities.
married Eva “Grace” Dethridge, nee Brown Apr 22, 1905 at Walthamstow, St John The Evangelist, Essex, England
b- age 31 in 1916, born in England
daughter- Constance Dethridge - b- ca 1906 in England
daughter- Violet Stapleton Dethridge - b- ca 1911 in SK
daughter- Lorrane Dethridge - b- 1916 in SK
son Stanley George Dethridge Jr.- b- 1917 in SK
Father- Romulas Dethridge, Middlesex, London, England d- apr 30, 1912 Pemberton House Fox Lane
mother- Annie Maria Dethridge, nee ? b- Australia
or Mary Pooley ? first wife of Romulas

First Public Owned Power Plant

In 1927 another plant was built at the junction of Long Creek and the Souris River. It had the capacity of 850 KW
today the building is the City Water Treatment Plant.
In 1928 this plant was bought by Dominion Electric Power
It was shut down when the plant pictured below was built, by Dominion Electric Power in 1930.
It opened at 2750 kw (one source says 2000 kw)
In 1946 the Saskatchewan Government bought the plant, and it was operated under the SPC as the years went on.
in 1956 the output was 72,750 kw
Not sure what it was when it was shut down.

Apr 1928 it was announced that the FIRST Central Electric Generating Station in Saskatchewan was to be built near Estevan, by the Montreal Engineering Company,
a subsidiary of the Calgary Power Corporation.
they had the following towns enter by franchise, Alameda, Oxbow, Frobisher, and Glen Ewen. to sign contracts for power from this site.
They had chosen a site, but it wasn't made public.
The company will distribute power on many lines.
the company had another 14 points on the Arcola Line, Broomhead-Radville Line, and the Souris-Arcola line.

Nov 22, 2011, Mr. Philip Cox, sent me this great newspaper clip, of his Grandfather, Archibald “Archie” Cox.
The article says he was Superintendent of Utilities, for the City of Estevan.
Now if we only knew what Power Plant he was associated with?
what date this article was printed?
The House that Cox Built? Where?
If you know, please email me.

In Feb 1928, City Council had bids from Senator Schlosser of ND for $140,000.00
Montreal Engineering Company were interested in buying it as well.
Feb 28, 1928 they called for tenders
they had a bid from the J. H. McNiven interests in St. Paul for $200,000.00
Others interested, Dominion Electric Co., Midwest Utilities, and Long Creek Development Company from Regina.

Dominion Electric was a corporation of American and Canadian Capital.

Then in May 11, 1928 article it stated the Estevan Electric Light Plant, was sold for $220,000.00 to the Dominion Light and Power Company
vote for the bylaw, for 231, against 3, spoiled ballots 2.
name of Dominion Electric Power Ltd. appears in 1940.
It was a Canadian Subsidiary of an American company, the Washington Gas and Electric Company.
In 1942 they had 18 plants.

Feb 7, 1945 the Saskatchewan Government bought the Dominion Electric Power Ltd. for $450,000.00.

At the same time in 1928 these same companies were trying to buy the Weyburn Electric Plant

Old Estevan Generating Station

When Dominion Electric owned and operated it

Old Photo of the plant
Courtesy Mr. Grant Walker, Studio City CA, Feb 2013

When Saskatchewan Government owned and operated it.
Old Estevan Generating Station
built in 1930
It was Located south of the present day Estevan Garbage Dump, in the Valley
Photo above taken 1978

Estevan Generating Station in the Valley
Demolished early 2000

Gesell family swimming in the cooling pond of the power plant, Sunday Aug 16, 1930

Continue on:
SPC Boundary Dam Power Station
Shand Power Plant and Greenhouse


  • Last modified: 2021/03/28 13:34
  • by dlgent