The following notes are based on comments by Art Erickson, who worked for Hjalmarson & Einarson Limited, the house-building contractors at Island Falls. Art was involved in construction of many of the new houses over a span of three years.
Art describes Melvin “Mally” Einarson as an Icelander who had bad lungs from tuberculosis. The other owner, Hjalmerson, was a tall man who spent most of the time working at the head office in Flin Flon.
All house components were built from raw materials on site, including doors, windows, cabinets, etc. They had power tools such as 10” chop saws and circular saws just like those of today. R.W. Davis and the future C.R.P. employee/tenants would give the carpenter crew sketches of what they wanted in the way of finishing touches.
In the 50’s and 60’s, Art built houses up the Bay Line (the railway to Churchill, Manitoba) at communities such as Gillam and Churchill. He always had a crew of twelve to fifteen who were always well helped and well liked by the locals. He has good memories of the friendly people in that area. He retired in 1980 and now lives at Winnipegosis. Manitoba.
The following letter was written by D.B. "Mac" McGillvray, HBM&S assistant general manager in Flin Flon. It refers to the last houses built, the row of seven which were located up from the swimming pool on the west side of "West Street."(see map)
June 6, 1951 Mr. W.A. Green D.B. McGillvray Churchill River Power Co., Ltd. Re: Cottages at Island Falls Construction Costs of Seven Cottages – Completed May, 1951 Total Cost as at April 30, 1951 $81,296.97 Estimated Expenditures in May, 1951 $1,500.00 Total May 31, 1951 $82,796.97 Cost per House $11,828.00 Estimate for the above at end of 1949 $8,000.00 per house Dimensions of each house – 41½’ x 34’ Contents – Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room, 2 Bedrooms, Sun Room, Bathroom, Basement.
Estimated Construction Costs of Six Cottages to be completed in 1951 (RWD) Material $32,500.00 Labour $32,500.00 Winter Freight $4000.00 Total $69,000.00 Estimate per house - $11,500 (Estimate during 1950 - $7,500.00) Dimensions of each house - 31’x 34’ Contents – Kitchen, Living & Dining Room Combined, 2 Bedrooms, Bathroom & Basement Note – This includes approx. 50% of lumber purchased in 1949-50 @ $63.00 per M. and approx. 50% of lumber purchased in early 1951 @ $96.00 per M. Estimate present price of same lumber is now $115.00 per M. _____________________ D.B. McGillvray. DBM/JW Cc – WAG RWD Acct. Off. Contracted to Hjalmarson & Einarson Limited, Flin Flon.
Sask. Archives Board, S-A465, C.R.P.Co. Fonds, VIII, 7, R.W.Davis, Personal.