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						12 • Lögberg-Heimskringla • Friday 8 April 2005
Historic Mt. Hecla School got new lease on life as Leslie United Church
A church's moving experience
David Jón Fuller
Leslie, SK
The Leslie United Church
has had a long history — though
not always as a place of wor-
ship. The building started as the
Mt. Hecla School, a one-room
Icelandic schoolhouse one mile
west and five miles south of its
present location. Grades one
to eight were taught there, re-
members former student Ena
Eyolfson, and later all the way
up to grade 12, though students
had to take their exams in Foam
Things were very differ-
ent then, as the front entrance
was where the back is now, and
windows have been closed off
and bookshelves and desks re-
The school closed in the
early 1960s, and was moved and
opened in 1965 as the church.
The United Church congrega-
tion had been looking for an
adequate space and the former
schoolhouse fit the bill.  The
Arlene Daw (left) and Ena Eyolfson set up for Sunday service.
task of moving furniture in and
out of the building fell to volun-
teers, says Arlene Daw, current
caretaker of the building.
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Among the original Ice-
landic settlers in Kinmount,
ON were the parents of Helgi
Jonas Helgason, who settled
in Foam Lake, SK in 1904. He
was the father of Gudbrandur
Helgason. Gudbrandur's son
Helgi Helgason recalls one of
his father's early adventures.
"My dad was in a fam-
ily'of seven, and the oldest
three were brothers, and they
were all two years apart. Dad
was the oldesl, and then the
other two followed every two
years. And I would imagine
that some time when he was
probably around 12, he had a
friend out, and maybe one of
the other boys had two, and
they were out to the farm.
"Of course the Icelanders
at that time were cattle peo-
ple, so they settled around the
lake and the marshes. When
they came out in 1894, to see
the place — Foam Lake ís a
very shallow lake, and it was
dry that year, and it was all
grass. About six feet high, and
I mean there was probably
three to four sections, so this
was ideal for these Icelanders,
that's where they wanted to
be, and that's where most of
them came and seítled.
"But when Dad was a
young boy, then most years it
would have water in it, and it
had few islands, so it was very
shallow. So they had a boat
there, probably sixteen, eigh-
teen feet long. I don't know
how long it was — I've heard
this story, but I never saw the
boat, because it wasn't there
in my time.
"But then they would take
sheep out to these islands, to
keep them safe from coyotes,
and that's what they used this
boat for. It was flat, and tliey
could get a few sheep ín it,
and take them out there.
"Anyway, Dad and his
brothers and the boys, they
wanted to go boating this one
afternoon, probably a week-
end, I suppose, in the sum-
mer. There was, I think, about
five of them and they tried to
lift this boat. Well, the damn
thing was way too heavy, they
couldn't get it anywhere. So
they thought for a while, and
they decided, you know, if we
saw this ín half, and take half
at a time, we can do it.
"So they did that. They
sawed it in half, took the first
halfout.thentheotherhalf. By
golly, the darn thing wouldn't
float! Absolutely ruined their
entire weekend. That was the
end of that boat, and that was
the end of them taking their
sheep out to the islands."
Helgi Helgason is a re-
úredfarmcr in Foam Lake.

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