From the Vault Friday: Sweet Adelines

Image: SPRA fonds 038

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a playbill from the Sweet Adelines fonds (fonds 038).

In 1976, a Grande Prairie Chapter of the Sweet Adelines was initiated by Jean Duffy, who had been a member of a chapter in Edmonton but was now resident in Grande Prairie. By 1980, the group was a member of the International Sweet Adelines. To earn a chapter, the group had to have 20 members and prove, via singing competitions, that they had mastered the unique Barbershop style and sound. They had to show that they could organize events and portray the proper Sweet Adelines image and standards, as well as raise the funds to cover the costs of instructors, equipment, costumes and travel.

Over the 19 years for which they existed, the club provided entertainment for the community as a service or in fund-raising concerts, and participated in local events such as the County Parade and the Festival of Carols. They especially enjoyed singing in senior citizens’ lodges. As a chapter, they performed at regional competitions, attended other competitions in the States and Canada, and even sent some members to international conventions.

The group swelled to a total of 28 members, but dwindled in the early 90s. In 1994, with a membership of 12, funding and members became increasingly difficult to attract. The chapter dissolved in 1995.

Read more about the Sweet Adelines fonds (fonds 038) here.

View a selection of our photos on Alberta On Record.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign to highlight interesting materials from the Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From the Vault Friday: The Sexsmith Sentinel

Image: SPRA Fonds 180

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features newspaper from The Sexsmith Sentinel fonds (Fonds 180). The Sexsmith Sentinel was an independent newspaper printed from 1949 to 1954 published by A.F. Menzies and Son at Sexsmith, Alberta. It was launched in the Fall of 1949 by Art Menzies who had come to Sexsmith from Saskatchewan in 1938 to run the McDonald Grain Elevator. In 1951, the Spirit River Signal was also started and printed in the Sexsmith Shop. Art’s son Malcolm was a partner in the business, and Art’s daughter Helen was the first editor. The firm continued to operate in Sexsmith until the fall of 1954, when publication of the Sentinel was discontinued. As well as operating The Sentinel, Art Menzies served on the Sexsmith School Board, Town Council and as the Mayor of Sexsmith.

In 1954 the plant was moved to Spirit River and the company’s activities were centralized there under the management of son Malcolm. Art Menzies later established the High Prairie Progress, which they operated until 1959, when both the Signal and the Progress were sold to an Edmonton publisher and the Menzies moved their printing operations to Grande Prairie.

The papers deal mainly with local news from Sexsmith, Valhalla, Wembley, La Glace, Rycroft, Clairmont, and the outlying districts. The Sentinel also included a section titled “They Say”; a gossip section that reports the comings and goings, hospitalizations, and various mishaps of the area, such as a lady going to the hospital to have a needle removed from her hand that had been lodged there for many years. Another notable excerpt is “Sam Rycroft. who left here a few years ago to farm at Red Deer had his combine destroyed by fire when the machine picked up a live shotgun shell in the field. The shell exploded when it reached the cylinder, starting the fire which could not be extinguished.”

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From the Vault Friday: Wanted Teacher Ad

Image: SPRA 346.05.01a

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a ‘wanted’ ad from the Two Rivers School District 3497 Fonds (fonds 346).

“Wanted.

Protestant teacher for Two Rivers S.D. Grades 1-11. Must have 1st Class Permanent Certificate. Give references and special qualifications. Salary to be as authorized by Department. Last term $750.00. Walter Willis Sec. Tres, Beaverlodge, Alta.”

Two Rivers School District 3497 was formed in 1917 and named after its location in the triangle formed by the joining of the Red Willow and Beaverlodge Rivers. From 1917 to 1918 the school operated in J.W. Cotton’s house (SE 35-70-10), with Verna Elliot as the first teacher, until the 18′ x 26′ school was built on the southwest corner of SE1-71-10-W6. Because of low student attendance and greater than anticipated costs, the school closed in 1918 and did not reopen again until 1927. The school closed again for about a month in 1929 due to an outbreak of smallpox.

In 1933, trees were planted near the school in order to create a windbreak, and a barn was also built on the school property this year. In 1938, Two Rivers joined the Grande Prairie District, although the school remained very independent. Two Rivers purchased a typewriter and radio for their school in 1938, and they also submitted a proposal for improvements to the school to the Grande Prairie Divisional board. The Board rejected their proposal, but this did not stop Two Rivers. Using volunteer labour and donations, the school financed improvements to the school themselves. With only $21 in financial assistance from the Grande Prairie board, Two Rivers managed to turn the school so that its windows faced east, placed the school on a cement foundation, and gave the building new siding and paint.

The 1938 improvements to Two Rivers School was not the only instance where the community played a major role in maintaining and improving the school. Throughout the school’s history, men from the area worked to improve the grounds, and because getting water to the school was a problem, men from the area, as well as the teacher and pupils, had to haul water to the school. In 1940, the local telephone company donated and installed a telephone. The Two Rivers School was the center of the community. In addition to year end picnics and Christmas concerts, the community would also gather at the school for dances, bingos, meetings and church services.

Read more about the Two Rivers School District 3497 Fonds (fonds 346) here.

View a selection of photos on Alberta On Record here.

Featured Image: SPRA 346.05.01b

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From the Vault Friday: Hermit Lake School

Image: SPRA Fonds 440

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a poster from the Hermit Lake School History fonds (Fonds 440) for a class reunion in 1978. Hermit Lake School District was formed in 1915/16, although classes had been held since 1913. An elected Board of Trustees began planning to build a school. Two acres of land in the south-east corner of Bill Grant’s farm were purchased at $.25 an acre. The school was built by William Sharp and finished in time for classes to start in March, 1917, with Mrs. Molly Sharp, Bill’s wife, as the first teacher. 1928 the school was moved to a new location on the SE-5-72-7-W6 purchased from Fred Evans. In June, 1956, Hermit Lake School was closed and students transferred to Wembley, Lake Saskatoon, or Grande Prairie County School. The building was used as a community hall by the Hermit Lake Community Association until 1976, when it was moved to the Grande Prairie Museum Heritage Village.

Learn more about the Hermit Lake School:

Photos featuring the Hermit Lake School on Alberta On Record

Fonds 270 Hermit Lake School #3250 fonds

Fonds 258 Hermit Lake Community Association 

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From the Vault Friday: Soap Box Derby

Image: SPRA 2002.30.3

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a program from the South Peace Regional Archives Paper Artifact collection (fonds 501). The program is for the 1st Annual Soap Box Derby from 1956 in Grande Prairie on Clairmont Road. The winner would advance to the Canadian Finals in Mission B.C. The first place winners in both age groups won a bicycle valued at $50, around $486.62 in today’s money.

Read more about the South Peace Regional Archives Paper Artifact collection (fonds 501) here.

 

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From the Vault Friday: Rifle Registration

Today’s “From the Vault Friday” features a certificate of registration for a rifle from the Pierre Lozeron family fonds (Fonds 006). The gun, registered early 1942, was a .22 Shur-Shot single (?) action rifle that Pierre used for hunting. The certificate was signed by someone at the Grande Prairie RCMP detachment. At the time, it wasn’t required for the firearm to have a serial number, but it was unlawful to alter or deface numbers. During World War II, you had to register rifles and shotguns, but this was discontinued after the war ended.

For more information on the Lozeron family, visit Fonds 006: Pierre Lozeron family fonds.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From the Vault Friday: Wheat Ticket

Image: SPRA fonds 279

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a wheat ticket from the Wozniak family fonds (fonds 279).

Antoni Wozniak and Maria Parachin were both born in Poland in 1903. They were married in 1922 and by 1930 had four children. With poor opportunities for the family in Poland and rumors of hostilities amongst nations, the family immigrated to Canada. They had hoped to be able to go to Toronto, where Antoni had two brothers living near Niagara Falls, but ended up on a farm in the Wanham area, arriving June 24, 1930. A cousin’s daughter also came with them.

The first few years were very difficult as they were trying to clear the trees on poor land with little money and very little outside work for cash. The children had to work alongside the parents in taking care of livestock, bringing in wood and water, gardening, picking berries and mushrooms, hunting chickens and ducks so the family had enough to eat. They attended South Slope School in Wanham, about four miles away. In 1935 the family moved to the Tansem farm, where Edward was born on December 4, 1936. Here they cleared land enough for a garden and small fields of wheat and oats. The children now went to Fox Creek School, still four miles away. Maria melted snow to feed cattle and to wash clothes for an English family for $2.00 a month. In 1936 on to their own place at Codesa, and the children could now go to Codesa School. Roman was born in 1938, the same year a forest fire destroyed their barn and the logs for their new home. A new house was finally built in 1940, and in 1942 another forest fire destroyed crops and granary.

By 1939, Antoni and Maria finally felt they could afford to bring Antoni’s mother over from Poland, but while she was getting her papers in order, war broke out. Russia occupied their part of Poland, and many of their family members perished in either the war or later exile in Siberia. Antoni’s mother and his sister, along with her husband and three children, were exiled to Siberia. Only one of the children, a girl named Christine, survived and later immigrated to London, England.

The oldest children stayed in farming. Bill joined the Canadian Army in 1942 and was sent overseas. He served in the Italian war campaign, and also in north-west Europe. After the war he returned to farm in the Belloy. Mathew worked on the family farm after he finished school until 1945, when he filed on his own homestead.

After the war, the Wozniak farm prospered and they were able to send the younger children to university. In 1964 Antoni and Maria sold the farm to Mathew and Barbara, and retired to Grande Prairie where they were involved in many aspects of the community. Antoni was president of the Peace River Polish Society for many years. In 1986 they made a trip back to Poland. Maria passed away in 1988 and Antoni in 2002.

Read more about the Wozniak family fonds (fonds 279) here.

View a selection of photos on Alberta On Record.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From the Vault Friday: 32nd County Fair

Image: SPRA 998.22.4.74

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a program from the 32nd Annual County Fair, from the Grande Prairie Loggers Sports Association fonds (Fonds 042).

In 1973, the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce was searching for a way to promote the city as the “Timber Capital” of Alberta. They approached locally based forest industries and allied companies to put together some form of timber show to run in conjunction with Muskoseepi Days. The first timber show was held in 1973.

In 1974, the second logger’s sports was held in Bear Creek Park with one outside contestant, but it was obvious that what was needed was a strong campaign to attract both competitors and local spectators. That winter, the Logging Sports Committee began negotiations with the County of Grande Prairie Agricultural Society to hold the show in conjunction with the County Fair. As well, a number of professional competitors were brought in from the west coast to put on demonstrations of their various skills. As a result of the 1975 show, the committee was accepted into the Canadian Loggers’ Sports Association (CANLOG) as part of a Canada-wide competition circuit.

In 1976, the Grande Prairie Loggers Sports Association began to construct a logger’s sports park, complete with a log house facility, birling pond and climbing poles. That year competitors came from as far away as Australia.

From 1976 to the early 1990s, the event continued to be a part of the annual fair at Evergreen Park. The small association whose job it was to organize the show, however, was having difficulty attracting new members. The organization folded in 1994, the year the last Loggers’ Sports Show was held in Grande Prairie.

Image: SPRA 1998.22.4.26

Read more about the Grande Prairie Loggers Sports Association fonds (Fonds 042) here.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From the Vault Friday: Passport

Image: SPRA fonds 517

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a passport from the Lunde Family fonds (Fonds 517). The passport belonged to Marie Jorgensen Lunde. Marie came to Sexsmith from Norway in 1927 with her brother and his wife and children, Ole and Kasbara Lunde. It is unclear what Marie did once arriving in the Peace Region. From her passport, we know she was born October 24, 1894 and had no children when she immigrated to Canada. Her brother and his family filed on a homestead in the La Glace area.

Read more about the Lunde Family fonds (Fonds 517) here.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.

From the Vault Friday: Grande Prairie Music Festival

Image: SPRA fonds 491

Todays “From the Vault Friday” features a program from the Grande Prairie & District Music Festival fonds (Fonds 491).

The concept of the Grande Prairie Music Festival originated with the “Women’s Music Club” that was active in Grande Prairie in 1921. This organization promoted the idea of music festivals. The first joint festival with Peace River and Grande Prairie participants was held May 25-26, 1927. By 1932, Grande Prairie was holding its own annual festivals, and in 1945 the festival became non-competitive. This resulted in a decline of interest and there are no records of festivals held from 1948 to 1951. Attempts were made to revive the festival as a competition in 1952-1953, but it was not until 1959 that music teacher Martin Intscher led the community to re-establish the music festival. With the support of the Allied Arts Council and the Grande Prairie School Board, the next festival was held in 1962 and annual festivals have been held ever since. In 1962, the festival categories included elocution, public speaking, penmanship, dancing, drama, art, and crafts as well as music entries.

Read more about the Grande Prairie & District Music Festival fonds (Fonds 491) here.

From the Vault Friday is a social media campaign that highlights interesting materials from the collections of the South Peace Regional Archives. This project was made possible by an Access to Holdings Grant from the Archives Society of Alberta.