A new collection from the Hythe Homecoming committee has been uploaded to our website. The collection consists of photographs and documents that were collected by Grace Wideman for the Memory Lane at the Homecoming. The pictures truly tell the story of Hythe through the years 1927-2007, including photos of students, businesses, sporting events, community buildings, and much more.
Six kids on bikes on Main Street Hythe, Alberta, l-r: Gary Reid, Jane Inkster, Brenda Smith, Vernon Mutch, Brock Smith and Jim Moody. Dixon & Hill Store and 2 cafes in the backgroumd, one being the U.N. Café.
Above photograph: Bill Turnbull out for a run, 1976
Bill Turnbull was an educator and photographer in Grande Prairie through the seventies and up to the early 2000s. He was also very active in the running community in Grande Prairie, being one of the members of the old Grande Prairie Legion Track and Field club who helped found the Wapiti Striders Road Running Club.
Between 2013 and 2016, Bill donated over 10,000 photographs to the SPRA. Processing of these records has now begun. On the donation form, the receiving archivist noted that the photographs relate to local running clubs. As I work through the arrangement and description project for this collection, it turns out that the contents are about more than just running.
The photographs in this collection were taken to record the activities of local people many of you probably know. Almost by accident, they have also recorded a history of the urban and rural spaces these people lived in. The site featured in some of the photographs is Muskoseepi Park. The area seems more like a rolling meadow. The trees are so sparse and small. The Heritage Village has very little tree cover and is easily viewed from a distance. It feels like I am looking at the childhood photos of someone I just met.
That is one of the interesting things about records: even the creator is not always aware of the story he is recording. When Bill Turnbull donated his photographs, he said they were about running. The collection is more than that. It is also about people working together for a common cause, people enjoying their life and their youthful vitality. It is also about Grande Prairie and the communities around it. It is going to take a while to process these “running club” records but I think the story they will ultimately tell will be a large one.
New fonds that soon will be finding their way onto our on-line finding aid and are now available to come in and search are:
1) Bay Tree Community Club
2) Bay Tree Community Hall
Getting the records processed and ready for the public.
3) Many Creeks Cemetery Company
4) Lake Saskatoon Community Club
5) Saskatoon Lake Agricultural Society
6) Buffalo Lakes Community Society
7) Many Springs (Buffalo Lakes) Ladies Club
8) Buffalo Lakes New Horizon Group
9) Buffalo Lakes Curling Association
10) Kleskun Lake Community Association
11) Kleskun Lake Ladies Club
What a wonderful view into a community by processing these records. I found out what they did for entertainment; dances, bazaars, quilting, card parties, Halloween gatherings. It was also quite apparent how giving and generous our pioneers were by organizing hot drinks for school children, giving a silver spoon to the first baby born to a family, wedding suppers, funeral lunches, gifts for families who had lost their homes to a fire to name a few. Money raised at the events hosted by these clubs would always be gifted out to the needy in the community, whereby a donation to the Cancer Society, Red Cross, Johanna’s Maternity Home in Sexsmith, or any organization in need. The Community Societies were a way for the people to socialize and do so much more, they were the catalyst for community life.
For more information on these fonds or any other at the archives send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 780-830-5105.