Morse

town, pop 248, located approximately 60 km E of Swift Current on Hwy No. 1 and the CPR main line. The first settler at Morse was a railway company employee, responsible for the maintenance of the track in the area. In 1896, he moved his family into the section foreman’s house, one of only two buildings then at the townsite; a 14-foot-square wooden station, a water tank and a windmill were the only other structures. The townsite was surveyed in 1902, and between 1906 and 1908 carloads of Mennonite, English and Scottish settlers, their household effects, and livestock were unloaded from the rails. In 1906, the post office was established, followed by the construction of the school in 1908. Named for Samuel Morse, the inventor of the electric telegraph and the originator of Morse code, Morse was incorporated as a village in 1910. The population of the village was 298 in 1911; in 1912, the community attained town status. That same year, Morse was reportedly the third-largest grain marketing point in the province; in 1915, a record-setting 2.25 million bushels of wheat were shipped out of the community. In 1921, Morse reached a peak population of 559 people. However, as other towns and villages developed in the surrounding region, Morse’s population slowly declined. Agriculture remains the main industry in the area today, the focus being on grain, oilseed, and beef production. The Morse Museum and Cultural Centre is housed in a large red brick schoolhouse built in 1912, which was saved from demolition by being declared a heritage property.

David McLennan