Riverhurst Museum exhibits rifle made by local gunsmith
A rifle in the F. T. Hill Museum in Riverhurst connects the community with a local well-known gunsmith.
The rifle is a Peterson, made by local farmer Al Peterson. “They are a hard gun to get,” says museum curator Judy Miller. “Nobody wants to part with a Peterson rifle. “One feature making these rifles different is the left hand bore in the barrel.
“It makes them much more accurate. The bounce you get when you fire comes toward the cheek, not away from it like other guns.”
Peterson started repairing guns in 1952, when poor health forced him to quit farming.
“I’m told hunters from the U.S. would come here, buy a gun and have him do the barrel,” Miller said.
His repair work extended to making custom rifles on the Rifle Ranch. He made hundreds of guns, eventually specializing in barrels.
“I haven’t been able to confirm it, but I heard he put together a lathe the wrong way and that’s how he got the left hand bore,” said Miller.
Peterson had a reputation for doing things differently. He died in 1996
The gun is one in a large collection of long guns and hand guns in the museum.
Local newspaper publisher F.T Hill sold his extensive collections, including guns to the village for a museum. Other collections have since been donated. “People can’t believe what a gun collection we have here.”
The collection is securely locked away with alarm systems.
The wall with handguns includes old flintlock pistols, revolvers, foreign guns, derringers and a gambler’s cane pistol.
A large collection of arrowheads and similar artifacts has been catalogued by the university. The area is rich in artifacts. The last great tribal battle in Saskatchewan was fought near here.
A collection of rocks and dinosaur bones awaits cataloguing.
Special displays include one dedicated to Harry Brice, a local Scout master still involved in his 80s, models of early Main Street, and models of old farming implements. A bed with intertwined ropes that hold the person is featured. “We’re different from most museums,” says Miller. “We’re hands on. We let the kids touch things.” A collection of Hill’s newspapers The Weekly Courier, from 1913-1962 is also preserved.
Miller and her husband Wayne retired to Riverhurst from White Rock, B.C.. He wanted to live near his birth place of Moose Jaw.
Both are volunteers in the community of 87.
“I fell in love with the museum” and became curator three years ago.
“I had never been involved in museums. I used to be credit manager for an aviation company.”
While the museum is open in summer Miller also does tours in the off-season. Call 306-353-0014.
Ron Walter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org