Seen & Heard

The January 26, 1934 issue of the Grande Prairie Herald included several pages of notes from the rural communities of the South Peace region.  Whoever the writer, or writers, of these “Seen & Heard” columns, they were well informed of the day to day happenings of their communities… and had a subtle wit besides.

West Vale – what was Mr. Sayle’s secret?

Fox Creek – “a cool-headed teacher”

Albright – free lunch?  ‘Nuff said!

Mountain Trail – a new type of winter garden

Christmas Past

Flipping through past issues of Grande Prairie newspapers, you can see the importance of community celebrations.  There are announcements for and descriptions of any number of dances, school entertainments, pageants, concerts… even programmes for special radio concerts were published in the weekly papers.  This 1926 entertainment included songs, recitations, and skits, and of course no Christmas entertainment would be complete without the appearance of Santa Claus himself.

Photograph: Christmas concert at Beaverlodge School, 1925 (SPRA 362.02.12.22)

Grande Prairie Herald ~ 27 December 1926

 

Shopping at Home

Amazon, Etsy, and a host of other online marketplaces have given a different meaning to the concept of “shopping at home.”  On weekends such as this, when streets and parking lots are at least ankle-deep in snow, online shopping from the comfort of one’s couch becomes even more appealing.

Still, there is something delightful about browsing through the local shops in search of the perfect gift – flipping through books, fingering a selection of scarves and shawls, choosing a Lego set, art supplies, or new pajamas.  And according to this excerpt from the 1930 Grande Prairie Herald, a little planning ahead can make it a pleasant excursion.

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 28, 1930

Planning the Montrose School

Every year new schools seem to be popping up in Grande Prairie to accommodate the needs of a growing city.  In 1916, the plans for a new school for Grande Prairie were accepted by the Alberta Department of Education.  At the time of its construction in 1917, the Montrose School was the largest brick building north of Edmonton and in every way a “credit to the north.”

A plaque was recently unveiled at the Montrose site, commemorating its historical value.  For more about this event, visit Commemorating the Montrose Site

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 26, 1916

UPDATE – Beaverlodge’s First Double-Murder?

Was this case ever solved?

In 1914 Leonard Stephens came to Canada from England. He made his way to the Peace Region and filed on 16-72-10-6 as well as 27-72-10-6 near Beaverlodge. Another Homesteader Samuel Timmins filed on 22-72-10-6.

Both men were trappers and set out together in 1922 to check their lines. Leonard’s family realized that he and Sammy were late on returning and contacted the R.C.M.P.

The R.C.M.P. investigation turned up the bones of the men and a grisly discovery – the men had been killed by bullets to the back of the head.

In 1926 a notice was placed in the newspaper for claimants on the estate of Leonard Alfred Francis Stephens.  It states his date of death as on or about February 15, 1923.

Grande Prairie Herald Sept. 13, 1926

 

Leonard was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Goodfare.

Less is known about Samuel Timmins; I am not even sure where he was buried.

This story was brought to the attention of the archives by a researcher. If you know anything more, let us know and we will share it with the interested party.

 

Today the person interested in this case has informed us that this was not murder after all but a case of men who were inexperienced in dealing with the harsh weather in the area. More information can be found in an article in the Shoulder Strap (a Police publication) July 1940 or by calling or visiting SPRA.

 

Photo: Beaverlodge, 1930

Source: Information on the murder victims was found in Beaverlodge to the Rockies p. 35-36

Written by Researcher Patricia Greber

 

1917 Thoughts on Vimy Ridge

We forget sometimes that those historic events that loom large in our national psyche and have carried such profound resonance over the years, were at the time, only one of the many events taking place in the lives of everyday people.

This article in the 17th April 1917 edition of the Grande Prairie Herald demonstrates the relative importance attached to the assault on Vimy Ridge shortly after the event. Midway down on the right side of the page, the Canadian assault was a smaller news story than the bid for tenders on a new school and the Red Cross Ball held on Friday the 13th.  Still, it was on the front page and shared that space with other news about the war, including the British capture of 13,000 “Hun” prisoners and “World United Against Huns.”

Grande Prairie Herald ~ April 17, 1917

Three days later, April 20 edition of the Lake Saskatoon Journal does not mention Vimy specifically but it does write about the results of the latest Allied offensive on the western and southern fronts by the British and French. This news shares the front page with articles about wheat trade, munition strikers in Germany, new homestead residences for C. Cady and G. Evans, and the marriage of the “Popular Young Couple,” Mamie Moore and Ulia Douglass.  Other war news that day included the story of British subjects in the US being liable for call up, food sources for the Army and Navy, and the return of Private Ralph Witherly to Grande Prairie.

April 20, 1917 ~ This edition of the Lake Saskatoon Journal will be part of our display commemorating Canada’s 150th birthday

By Archivist Josephine Sallis

Dear John…

Wayne Fell and Marlene Frantzen, skating champions of the Peace River Figure Skating Champions, 1953, pose for the camera.

I have read this several times and I’m still not sure if it’s on the up and up, but it’s a bit of fun nevertheless!

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ January 30, 1923

Trading Squirrel Skins for News

This very well written letter was sent to the newspaper, along with a bundle of squirrel skins for the Editor to sell to pay for a subscription.  That’s pretty unusual, but this woman seems to live in a very remote area and may be short of ready cash.  She may not have a lot of people to talk with either, and her very chatty letter comments on recent news stories and the new Social Credit government in Alberta.  The “no relation to Richard” at the end is significant because of her last name.  That name was in the news, as Richard Hauptman, convicted in the Lindbergh kidnapping and murder, was slated to be executed in April.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ January 17, 1936

Grande Prairie Herald ~ January 17, 1936

A Headline We’re Not Likely to See Again

The newspaper called it a “unique condition in civic finances” and claimed that “probably” no other municipality in Western Canada was in such a position.  However, the population was just over 1000, and municipal services of any kind were pretty limited.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ January 13, 1920

Keeping the Roads Clear

Another bright idea for farmers from the city folks in Edmonton!  Farmers using wider sleighs in the winter would be a cost effective way to keep roads open, according to the Edmonton Good Roads Association, reducing the heavy burden of taxes to pay for drags and snowplows.  The Association planned to petition the government to enact regulations to ensure the use of wide bench sleighs as a means of keeping winter roads open.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ January 26, 1925