Elmer Hagglund fonds. — 1922-1964. — 79 photographs.
Elmer Hagglund was born in Minnisota, U.S.A. in 1899 where his father was section foreman for the Great Northern Railway. Elmer began his railroad career working for his father on the section, and was later hired on as a breakman for the same railway. He immigrated to Canada in 1920, and in 1922 was hired on as part of a four-man crew for Northern Alberta Railways at Webster, north of Sexsmith. When he arrived at Webster with his wife Anna and daughter Beulah, there was nothing but bush and railroad tracks, so they took a homestead near the Webster Trestle bridge on which they built a log cabin. Anna cooked for the railroad crew. There were no roads and the only way to get in or out was by rail.
In 1924, Mr. Hegglund was promoted to conducter at Sexsmith, and the family moved to another homestead at S.E. 12-75-4 W6th. Their second child, Gordon, was born there. After working as a conductor at Sexsmith for about 10 years, Elmer was promoted to extra gang foreman and built the railway from Whitelaw to Fairview, with approximately 150 men working under him. Later he transferred to running trade and hired out as brakeman, working his way up to conductor. He had a regular run on passenger trains from McLennan to Dawson Creek.
After 42 years of service, Mr. Hegglund re-tired from the railroad in February 1964.
Jean Hagglund, daughter-in-law to Elmer Hagglund, loaned these photographs, booklets and leaflets, along with many railway artefacts, to the Grande Prairie Museum for a 1996 display called “80 Years of Railway.” When the display was dismantled, she decided to donate the articles to the museum. In 2000, the photographs were transferred to the care of the Grande Prairie Regional Archives.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of photographs of Elmer Hagglund’s career with railroading in the Peace Country, such as scenes of the Webster trestle bridge, an early ED & BC engine, Elmer Hagglund as section foreman in Sexsmith, the first Diesel to come into Dawson, and the switch crew at McLennan in 1944. The collection includes photographs of technical problems with rails and cars in the 1960s and photographs of Elmer’s retirement party in 1964.