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

A Trapped Trapper

When a large bear took over his cabin, Jim Fells of Bezanson retreated to the attic, where he was trapped until the next day. His rescuers didn’t believe there was a big bear in the cabin which wouldn’t leave, so Jim shot at the bear with his .22. When the bear attempted to leave the cabin through a window, the visitors believed him!

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger
The Herald Tribune – Jan 31, 1946

Photo description – Cabin in Winter, [1915]
A cabin in winter showing icicles along the roof edge.
Location: 0344.02.07

A Christmas Extravaganza on the Radio

Many adjectives are used in this article to describe the Christmas Day radio programming being planned by the Canadian Radio Commission – unheard of, daring, thrilling.  It was to begin with the Christmas message from King George V.  There would also be choirs, interviews, and stories from across Canada, requiring the services of over 1000 people and technicians and using 32 000 miles of wire.  I wonder if it lived up to this report.  As a sign of our times, I looked and you could actually listen to King George’s speech on YouTube.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 20, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 20, 1935

A Different Kind of Christmas Gift

Blood transfusions seem to still have been a bit unconventional in the area, even though blood typing, a key in the process, was discovered in 1910.  It is gratifying that so many citizens volunteered for the testing, and the surgery to help the man who was ill was a success.  It is certainly one of the medical procedures we may take for granted, but volunteers still have to come forward to donate blood.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 15, 1933

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 15, 1933

Dashing Through the Snow

This dash through the snow was not in a sleigh, but on foot, by a young fellow who had just robbed the pool hall.  He apparently didn’t think about being tracked by the intrepid Constable Burgess, who was even able to match boot prints in the snow to the perpetrator.  I was surprised at the high bail.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 15, 1933

Grande Prairie Herald ~ December 15, 1933

What the World Needs Now…

This list of inventions needed by the world is a bit odd, with some fairly practical suggestions as well as some strange ones – why would the world need an aeroplane that could be managed easily by a youngster?  Many items from the list do exist now, such as highly efficient furnaces, bendable glass, and talking movies, which were introduced the same year this list was published.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ June 12, 1923

Grande Prairie Herald ~ June 12, 1923

The Railway Moves West

Nine years after the railway arrived in Grande Prairie, it was extended west to what became the town of Wembley.  The first passenger train arrived on November 18, carrying many people from Grande Prairie, who went to look over the new town and take part in the festivities.  There was a huge supper and a dance.  Most of the people stayed overnight and returned home on the freight train the next morning.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 25, 1924

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 25, 1924