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Central Butte

Town, pop 439, located approximately 42 km N of Chaplin at the junction of Hwys 19 and 42. The Riverhurst ferry, which crosses the south arm of Lake Diefenbaker, lies to the northwest. The name of the community dates to the years prior to settlement when the region had been entirely devoted to Ranching. The district has three large hills and, according to local lore, at round-up time the central butte became the most convenient landmark for all to converge. Homesteaders, largely of British, German, and Scandinavian origins, began arriving in the area in 1905–06. In 1926–27, a number of Mennonite families also moved into the region. The Central Butte post office and school were established in 1907 and 1908 respectively, both at separate locations within a few kilometres of the present townsite; after the arrival of the railway from Moose Jaw in 1914 and the establishment of the townsite, they were moved into the fledgling community. Central Butte’s population was 122 in 1916; it grew fairly steadily until the mid-1960s, at which point it levelled off, just shy of 550. The population of the town remained stable until 1996, when the rail line through the community was abandoned. Today, Central Butte has a diverse core of businesses and services, several being related to the district’s agricultural industry.

David McLennan

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