Snow Rollers

I was interested in the mention of snow rollers in this account of a weird winter storm. In the late 1970s there was a storm like this here. The storm itself was a bit frightening, with the very high winds and drastic change in temperature and the power was out for several hours. I remember going out the next day and seeing all the snowballs rolled up in the yard around town. (The picture is of the Anderson house in Wembley, which was an airport house, and now belongs to the Wembley Arts, Culture and History Society).

Written and researched by Kathryn Auger

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

Country Roads

This week we are introducing a new feature called “Country Roads.” The last week of each month, the blog will highlight people, places and events in the County. The articles I chose to begin this new feature are from September 1929. The paper had write ups about the towns and districts surrounding Grande Prairie as part of an information package for a visiting contingent of members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Including Chamber of Commerce members from every province, newsmen, and a group from Britain, there were over three hundred people. The visitors were divided into groups over two days, and taken in automobiles on a tour of the area. This week: “The Trip West.”

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ The Trip West

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ The Trip West

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ Beaverlodge

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ Beaverlodge

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ Hythe

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ Hythe

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ Wembley

Grande Prairie Herald ~ September 6, 1929 ~ Wembley

Keeping Things in Perspective

With the recent snowfall, I imagine there has been some complaining that the highway to Wembley is not bare and dry, a situation we seem to expect these days.  In 1935, it took four men, one car, chains, a team of horses, and shovels to open up the road from Wembley to Grande Prairie in a little under four hours.

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ February 8, 1935

Grande Prairie Herald ~ February 8, 1935

Wanted: Photos of Harry Adair

Attention, descendants of the families who purchased the Adair Ranching Company north of Wembley in 1930!

Cornelius Toews
Gerhard Jacob Weins (Wiens?)
Jacob Epp
John Gossen
Abraham Funk
Abraham Kathler
Abraham Friesen
Jacob Franz
Jacob Berg
Henry Sukkau
Jacob D. Nickel
Herman Wall
John Goerzen (Goertzen?)
Peter Friesen
A. Regier

This summer, the Friends of the Archives are planning to reenact the story of Harry Adair at the Scenic Heights picnic grounds.  Do you have any photographs of Harry Adair in your family albums that you are willing to share?

Land-Agreement-p1

Pail of Lard Given to First Passengers Alighting from Train in Beaverlodge & Hythe

Five years after the rail line reached Wembley in 1924, it was extended to Beaverlodge and Hythe.  There were huge celebrations in both towns, including brass bands, a huge bonfire, and banquets with over 200 people attending in each town.  Many drove from Grande Prairie and area to witness the event, others drove to Wembley and rode the train to be passengers on the first one.  Who wouldn’t, with the “prize” of a pail of lard at the other end!

Researched & written by Kathryn Auger

Grande Prairie Herald ~ January 18, 1929

Grande Prairie Herald ~ January 18, 1929

The Wapiti Ferry

This week in history we are focusing on the Wapiti Ferry.

The Wembley Ferry c.1937

The Wembley Ferry c.1937

Grande Prairie Herald

 

This article sparked the interest of our “This Week in History” author who started to investigate and see what she could learn about the Ferry. Mike Lett provided her with a photo and she was able to uncover a bit more information. The Wembley Ferry was still operating but was used less after a bridge was built over the Wapiti, south of Grande Prairie (replacing another ferry) in 1958. A group of people had purchased shares in the ferry south of Wembley for $1.00 each, in order to keep it running. The Ferry was kept operational until a flood in 1970 washed out the approaches. Recently, restoration was considered by the County, but time had taken too great a toll. The old ferry is now being swallowed up by vegetation at Pipestone Creek Park.

Ferry June 19, 1970 Taken by Mike Lett.

Ferry June 19, 1970
Photo taken by Mike Lett.

 

 

 

 

 

Kathryn was able to find the remnants of the Ferry by the Pipestone campgrounds just last week.

The Ferry Sept 14, 2013 Photo Taken by Kathryn Auger

The Ferry Sept 14, 2013
Photo Taken by Kathryn Auger

Lake Saskatoon Comparable to Italy

Here is an article describing the natural beauty of the Lake Saskatoon area. It is no wonder that it was one of the first choice of pioneers when deciding where to settle in the Peace Country. Lake Saskatoon was bypassed by the railroad in 1924, not to be deterred the towns folks packed up, buildings and all and resettled in Wembley.

Lake Saskatoon is Arcadia

“…the beautiful lake lapping its shores, and the broad expansive view, lends somewhat of an Italian aspect, and would remind the experienced traveller of the Bay of Naples…”

 

 

This article is taken from the Grande Prairie Herald on Aug 22, 1916.

 

This Week in History – “Whopper That Got Away”

This week’s news item appeared in the  August 17, 1939 Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune. Everyone loves a good fish story and this one must be true since it was witnessed by a “prominent attorney” and a “well-known hardware man”. It is also interesting to realize that in 1939 there was a lodge and cabins at Kinuseo Falls, which doesn’t seem all that difficult to get to in the article. You can view the rest of the newspaper here.

 

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*Photograph (2006.22.02) is unrelated to this story

Historic Cemeteries Walking Tour

Join SPRA on Sunday July 14, 2013 from 1:30-4pm for a guided walk through five cemeteries in the Wembley-LaGlace corridor. Discover the rich and interesting history of the area through the lives and stories of its people.

Call 780-830-5105 to register and get directions (limit of 20 participants). Please bring your own vehicle and dress for walking and the weather.

Presented in cooperation with members of Lake Saskatoon and Scenic Heights communities.

Photo: Tour participants listening intently to archivist Leslie Gordon