Serendipity at the Archives

At SPRA we often come across donations that intersect, a photograph or document in one collection can help tell the story about a completely different collection or seemingly unrelated person. An occurrence of this happened last week, I happened to glance over to see what Karen was working on when a photograph caught my eye. It was the same photograph of two men playing chess that I had posted to our Facebook page, with the hopes of learning the player’s names.

 

Karen was working on a donation of records from the Grande Prairie Golden Age Centre and voila, here were my chess players pictured in their scrapbook fully identified, my questions answered.

Karen Burgess processing the Grande Prairie Golden Age Centre scrapbook

 

To put this in perspective, donations can sit on our shelves for 2-3 years before we get to them and add in the coincidence of looking to identify a picture from a separate collection, then there is the fact that processing started on a collection containing the same photograph, and lastly noticing the photograph while Karen was examining the scrapbook. Definitely one for the books!

So now I am happy to report that the names of the people in the photograph are Frank Rennie, Soren Frederickson with Dorothy Tarrant watching. In the back ground is L-R Reg Eyres, Harry Rogers, Fred Towns and Bary Eyres.

By Researcher Patricia Greber

Trash Talk

We’ve come a long way in dealing with trash since this article was published in 1948.  I wasn’t sure if garbage was a good subject for a blog, but thought people would be interested to know what the situation was over sixty years ago.  The Jaycees suggestion of a system of dumping refuse over creek banks made me shudder, as did the then “ideal method” of using a trench into which the cans and garbage were dumped and fired.  I do remember smoldering smelly fires in the dump.  Yuck.  The nuisance grounds were being operated according to provincial regulations, except for the fence – but apparently barbed wire thieves made that difficult to keep in place.  While sometimes we may think that things are over-regulated now, think of how much better we deal with this than they did back then.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald Tribune ~ July 15, 1948

Grande Prairie Herald Tribune ~ July 15, 1948

What Were They Thinking?

Parking has been an issue in downtown Grande Prairie for decades, and over the years many things were tried to alleviate the situation.  This item from May 4, 1939 describes one.  Unfortunately, the reasons why this idea was thought to have many advantages were not set out in the article.  The only later reference to this scheme was on May 11, when it was noted that Town Council had received many complaints, but decided to continue the experiment a while longer.  I will keep watching for more on this – I have looked as far as July 6 and found nothing, but it’s hard to imagine that this lasted very long.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune ~ May 4, 1939

Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune ~ May 4, 1939

Boys Will Be Boys

While local Boy Scouts were having “the time of their lives” at a big jamboree in Edmonton, some other boys were having a boating adventure on Bear Creek.  Early in May, I would think the water would have been pretty cold, but they showed resourcefulness in dealing with the situation.  Maybe they were Boy Scouts who didn’t make the trip to the jamboree; they certainly acted true to the motto, “Be Prepared.”

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

May 2, 1935 ~ Northern Tribune

May 2, 1935 ~ Northern Tribune

May 2, 1935 ~ Northern Tribune

May 2, 1935 ~ Northern Tribune

Thirty-Eight Bridges

Road improvements were also in the offing, but the problem was, no one wanted to pay for them!  “There appears to be a decided apathy to the levying of a mill rate sufficient to meet the costs.”  It’s kind of curious to think of all these bridges being built, with nothing but muddy, rutted trails between them.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ April 13, 1928

Grande Prairie Herald ~ April 13, 1928

Almost Married

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 16, 1915

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 16, 1915

There’s an old saying that says, “Be careful what you wish for” – in this case it should be, “Be careful what you advertise for.”  Included in the items posted for St. Patrick’s Day was an advertisement for a wife.  Appearing two weeks later in the April 1, 1915 Signal was this account of what happened when the advertiser met with one of the applicants.  Apparently the fellow received over one hundred replies to his ad.  I wonder if he ever did find a wife – there is no other listing in the family names database for his name.  Or possibly after the incident reported in the newspaper, he was laughed out of town!

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Frontier Signal ~ 1 April 1915

Frontier Signal ~ 1 April 1915

Frontier Signal ~ 1 April 1915

Frontier Signal ~ 1 April 1915

All Things Irish

St. Patrick’s Day was widely celebrated in this area, often with dances.  As early as 1915, a St. Patrick’s Day dance was held in Grande Prairie.  In 1935 there was a St. Patrick’s Day concert of Irish music followed by a dance, with music by Penson’s orchestra.  A St. Patrick’s Day tea sponsored by the CWL featured a silk rug, hand worked by the St. Joseph’s Academy girls.  St. Patrick’s Day 1938 was marked in Sexsmith by a dance at the hall, where dollar bills were given out each hour.  A house party in the country east of Sexsmith had dancing and entertainment that went on until 5:30 AM.  To top it off, the March 16, 1915 paper had an ad on the front page placed by an Irish fellow looking for a wife.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Northern Tribune ~ March 24, 1938

Northern Tribune ~ March 24, 1938

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 15, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 15, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 15, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 15, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 16, 1915

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 16, 1915

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 16, 1915

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 16, 1915

 

A Busy Week for the Wapiti Arena

The Wapiti Arena was the site of lots of activity this week in 1948.  There was a Children’s Day, which included skating races in the building, as well as dog sled races outside, which were watched by five hundred people.  Dog racing ranged from greyhounds to huskies to plain mixed dogs.  At the Athletic Association’s Ice Carnival, the crowning of the Carnival Queen “climaxed an evening of fun, frolic, and fancy skating.”  Self taught local skaters Muriel Sharpe and Herb Shields thrilled the spectators.  More fancy skating was followed by basketball and badminton on skates, and an accordion solo by Jens Dalen.  The evening was topped off with a moccasin dance.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Herald Tribune ~ February 26, 1948

Herald Tribune ~ February 26, 1948

Herald Tribune ~ February 26, 1948

Herald Tribune ~ February 26, 1948

1928 Women’s Basketball Champions

Grande Prairie Herald ~ February 20, 1931

Grande Prairie Herald ~ February 20, 1931

Oddly enough, this picture was published in February of 1931 when the team was set to play during Carnival Week.  I assume the same women were playing in 1931 as appeared in the 1928 picture.  It’s hard to read the names, but I think they are:

Top row: Naomi Boyd, Bert (Bertha Kenney), and Gertrude Graben

Bottom row: ?, Irene Squires, Eleanor Kenney, and Emile Watson

I also found two articles in the early fall of 1930 saying that the team was to play the second team of the Edmonton Grads in December, but I could find no mention of it taking place.

The entire roster listed in May of 1928 was Eunice Dandy (Captain), Emile Watson (F), Bertha Kenney (F), Eleanor Kenney (D), Dorothy Chrystal (D), Naomi Boyd (D), Irene Squires (F), Helen Bromley, and subs Erma Jurney, Edna Taylor, and Dolly Lanctot.

In the Sports Index on the Archives website, there are articles on girls’ or women’s basketball listed as early as 1917, but the heyday of the sport seemed to be from 1923 to 1933.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

A Dangerous Occupation

A Grande Prairie photographer was badly injured in 1930 when his flash powder exploded, blowing out windows in the hall where the photo was being taken.  Mr. Tait lost part of his hand and spent six weeks in the hospital, gamely returning to work while he was still healing.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ February 14, 1930

Grande Prairie Herald ~ February 14, 1930

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 21, 1930

Grande Prairie Herald ~ March 21, 1930