Company towns often have unique features that set them apart from other town developments. For example, architecture is uniform and similar from building to building; the home of the company manager is usually more imposing and prominently located. There is often a focal point around which the town is centred – typically a community hall or school. In the case of Wells the focal point was the community hall. Finally, company towns are dominated by a single business or “company”; in Wells, the business was mining.
The houses of Wells were painted in bright pastel colours, popular during the 1930s – turquoise blue, green, pink, and creme yellow. Warm brown-coloured softwood covered the floors and wood furnaces were placed in basements to provide heat with hot air forced through large grates installed in the floors. A gas range was basically the only kitchen appliance; refrigerators consisted of an outdoor pantry cupboard. All the conveniences of a large city of the time were quickly provided to the people pouring in to Wells, a company-made town.
Wells Company Buildings
The following is a brief description of main buildings constructed by The Wells Townsite Company:
The hospital was constructed in the summer of 1937 by Northey Construction Company. Wells’ hospital was three storeys high with room for eight beds, one operating room, and suites for matrons and nurses.
The first school consisted of one room constructed by Northey Construction Company. Around seventy students attended in 1936. A second school was built in the 40s. The new school initially had four rooms and additions were later added.
The large three storey hall was constructed on Sanders Street by the Garvin Dezell Company in the Summer of 1937. The floor was 50′ x 66′ with a large stage at one end. There was seating for 400 people on each side with a cloak room and space for gym equipment on the main floor. A reading room and billiard room were upstairs. In the basement were men’s and women’s lounges, a banquet room, a kitchen, a club room, men’s and women’s showers, a rifle range, a furnace room, and a janitor’s room. This building was heavily insulated for the visitors and heated to 70 degrees inside, even if when was 40 degrees below outside.
The Anglican and United churches were built in 1934. The United Church was used as the community hall until the new one was built in 1937.