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

A Magnificently Modern Store

The opening of Bird’s new store in 1941 seemed to be a pretty big occasion.  There had been a special edition of the Herald Tribune the week before, and the Mayor officially opened the store, with several speakers, including the local MLA.  The opening was broadcast on radio CFGP.  After reading some of the articles in the previous newspaper, I am wondering if this was the first “self-serve” grocery store in town.  The articles mentioned the special shelving, the fluorescent lighting, and describe it as having a “most citified layout.”

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune ~ January 23, 1941

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

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

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

He Wasn’t Actually Lost…

This story about the search for men lost in the bush around Nose Mountain involved mill workers, RCMP, Indian trackers, a Dakota search plane, parachutists, and the first helicopter to land at the Grande Prairie Airport.  One man found his own way back to the road, and the other said that he hadn’t been lost at all.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

The Herald-Tribune ~ December 8, 1949

The Herald-Tribune ~ December 8, 1949

Post Office Woes

A Baby Moose By an Old Post Office, 1923

A Baby Moose By an Old Post Office, 1923

Having just had a card from Smithers, BC take two weeks to get here, I wasn’t feeling to happy with the Post Office, but the old Postie in me reacted with indignation to this article from 1917.  Business had quadrupled but the number of staff remained the same.  I was also surprised at the quantity of mail coming in this district at that time.  700 sacks of mail a month is a lot; that’s over 23 a day, plus 50 registered letters a day, for the 21 offices in the area that Grande Prairie distributed the mail to.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

November 18, 1917

November 18, 1917

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

 

A New Era for Education in Grande Prairie

The opening of the new Grande Prairie High School in 1950 was a milestone for education in the area.  It was one of two composite high schools in the province at the time.  It was an impressive building, both inside and out.  Mr. Kujath, who was the first principal of the new school, was still there when I attended the school in the 1960s.  At the same time, Wapiti Lodge, a dorm for County students, was opened.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

The Herald-Tribune ~ October 26, 1950

The Herald-Tribune ~ October 26, 1950