The most important factor in the development of communities in the Peace River during the First World War and in the period leading up to the Second World War was the location of the railroad.
The railroad brought in goods and equipment that people needed to develop communities. Railroads were needed to ship goods produced in the communities to markets. The construction of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway (EDBC) bypassed Flying Shot Lake, Saskatoon Lake, Dunvegan, Grouard, and later, Waterhole.
The EDBC caused the development of new town sites like Grande Prairie, Wembley, High Prairie, and Spirit River. When the railroad was constructed to the town of Peace River it remained the end of the line for several years, increasing the importance of the community.
In 1922, the railroad was extended to Berwyn, which brought prosperity and growth. The new town of Fairview was created in 1928 when the railroad arrived there.
The first building usually built by a new community was the school, as it was used for most community events. Communities would soon have a blacksmith shop, churches, merchants, and hospitals. The first hospital built in Peace River was the Irene Cottage that was constructed in 1914.
As a result of the high infant mortality rates in the Peace River country, an effort was made by the churches and the provincial government in the 1920s to bring nurses and doctors into the region. Dr. Emma Johnstone worked in Wahham and had been sponsored by the Anglican Fellowship of the Maple Leaf. Dr. Mary Percy was recruited from England in 1929 and provided services in a 350 square mile area of the North Peace River country. Dr. Margaret Ownes provided services in the summer months at Fort Vermilion in the 1930s. Dixonville had the services of Dr. Margaret Strang in the 1930s as well.
Throughout the First World War and into the inter-war years there were many developments in the Peace River country with the building of the railroads, communities, and services. Many homesteaders were finding that the distances they had to travel to deliver their crops and pick up supplies were becoming shorter all the time. The countryside was also changing, as there were more steam tractors and machinery.