A Victoria Cross Doesn’t Keep the Flour Sack Full

John Chipman "Chip" Kerr (Grande Prairie Herald, Historical Edition ~1934)

John Chipman “Chip” Kerr (Grande Prairie Herald, Historical Edition ~1934)

There are several articles about John “Chip” Kerr of Spirit River, who won the Victoria Cross in World War I.  This is the first one I saw some time ago, and of course wound up doing more digging until I found his story.  I especially like this item; he certainly had a sense of humor.  He served again in World War II, becoming a service policeman at Sea Island in BC.  He retired in Port Moody, where there is a Legion Auditorium and a park named for him, and his home was declared a Heritage Site.  There is also a mountain in Alberta named after him.  It is splendid that ten years after the war when he was invited to London for an Armistice Dinner with the Prince of Wales, there was so much support to enable him and his wife to make the trip.

Some material from an account by Al Sholund on the Port Moody website

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 1, 1929

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 1, 1929

 

Halloween High Jinks

Justamere Ladies Club dress up, 1956 (L-R Nathalia Schwemler, Lena Dahl, Randy Olson, Dorphy Bekkerus, Stella Gilkyson, Mabel Hagen, Doris Sappet, Cecil Robinson, Esther Olson, and Vivian Vekved)

Justamere Ladies Club dress up, 1956 (L-R Nathalia Schwemler, Lena Dahl, Randy Olson, Dorothy Bekkerus, Stella Gilkyson, Mabel Hagen, Doris Sappet, Cecil Robinson, Esther Olson, and Vivian Vekved)

It sounds like the Halloween party at the local high school in 1933 was quite an event – a haunted house tour, games, dancing, and singing, then lunch.  The party closed with a snake dance downtown, which to me would have been the most exciting part.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 3, 1933

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 3, 1933

New Fully Modern Hotel Opens in Beaverlodge

According to the writer of this article, a modern hotel is the dream of every town, and for many years Beaverlodge had longed for this amenity.  Seems a bit dramatic!  Nevertheless, a modern new hotel with a restaurant, refreshment parlors, large foyers, fifteen rooms, and a fully modern bath room with hot and cold running water would have been an asset to any community.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 11, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 11, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 11, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 11, 1935

Foiled by Technology

Burglars using “modern burglarizing methods” were foiled by radio station CFGP broadcasting details of the robbery and asking people to report any suspicious activity.  Kind of an early version of Facebook!  The robbers apparently didn’t have a very good escape plan.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 12, 1937

Grande Prairie Herald ~ November 12, 1937

Just Wanted to See if You Noticed

Printing of the Herald Tribune in the 1960s.

Printing of the Herald Tribune in the 1960s.

This is a cute item about a boy who wrote to the paper wanting to know why the funnies were missing.  I doubt that a seven year old would have been that satisfied with the answer, other than the promise of a package coming to him in the mail and an invitation to visit the newspaper office when he was in Grande Prairie.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 23, 1936

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 23, 1936

Baseball Wins Over Banking

With so many ways to watch World Series Baseball now, it’s easy to forget there was a time when you were either at the game or could only listen to it on the radio.  In 1937, radio time had been booked by the Canadian Chartered banks for an informative talk, but they gave up the time for the broadcast of the opening game of the 1937 World Series between the New York Yankees and the New York Giants.  That move likely gave them more good publicity than their talks.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 8, 1937

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 8, 1937

Thanksgiving Fights

The only Thanksgiving fights at our house were over the drumsticks, but in 1933 Frank Donald sponsored a full card of boxing on Thanksgiving.  Many local fighters were featured, as well as an orchestra to play during any gaps.  The event was started later for farmers to get to the fights after threshing, and the movies in Mr. Donald’s theater were timed to start after the boxing was over.  It’s not what would be considered a traditional Thanksgiving event, but no doubt it was popular.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 6, 1933

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 6, 1933

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 6, 1933

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 6, 1933

Oops!

The Dimsdale news of October 13, 1932 recounted an incident where a farmer’s tame goose was shot by a hunter.  The farmer met the fellow at his car and “sold” him the goose.  The fellow in the second article went out to the barnyard with his .22 to get a chicken for Sunday dinner, with unexpected results.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Northern Tribune ~ October 13, 1932

Northern Tribune ~ October 13, 1932

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 19, 1927

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 19, 1927

Sharing the Bounty

In the midst of the Great Depression, while southern Alberta and Saskatchewan were suffering terrible drought, the Peace River Country had bumper crops and vegetable gardens.  Even though bad weather delayed harvest, the people of the north determined to share their bounty with the farmers in the south.  Boxcars full of vegetables were collected and shipped out – just imagine the quantity it would take to fill one of those!  The news items I chose tell about shipments from Grande Prairie and Sexsmith, but many other communities in the area took part in this great endeavor.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 5, 1934

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 5, 1934

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 5, 1934

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 5, 1934

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 5, 1934

Grande Prairie Herald ~ October 5, 1934

The Great Potato Race

Jimmy and Peggy Mair of Grande Prairie in the potato garden, 1954

Jimmy and Peggy Mair of Grande Prairie in the potato garden, 1954

I just dug my potatoes, and I imagine lots of people with gardens are getting theirs done too.  It got me thinking about the many items I have noticed in the newspapers about the biggest potatoes, longest vines, most in a hill, weirdest shapes, and anything else that concerned this most important crop for the early settlers.  While the sizes and weights varied from year to year, it does seem as though things grew bigger back then.  I can hardly imagine potato plants almost 6 feet high, and unless they counted differently in those days too, 385 potatoes in one hill is amazing (unbelievable, but amazing!).  To top it all off is a story about a fellow who went out to his potato patch and played his bagpipes to the spuds.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Northern Tribune ~ 3 September 1936

Northern Tribune ~ 3 September 1936

Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune ~25 September 1941

Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune ~25 September 1941

Grande Prairie Herald ~ 18 September 1931

Grande Prairie Herald ~ 18 September 1931

Grande Prairie Herald ~ 18 September 1931

Grande Prairie Herald ~ 18 September 1931

Grande Prairie Herald ~ 13 September 1929

Grande Prairie Herald ~ 13 September 1929

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 7, 1934

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 7, 1934