As far back as 1947, there was the desire on the part of the locals to go “outside” to see if they could be competitive in the big city. Laurie Little did fairly well in Calgary with his Model T, but he already had plans to improve it for the next year.
Still with the Country Roads theme, this story took place at a dam near the hospital in Rycroft. While saying that an Ogopogo had been seen in the dam was an exaggeration, the story itself is pretty funny. It does point out, though, the difficulties in adjusting between two modes of transportation.
Just as the article says, this story is stranger than fiction. A woman from Horse Lake had a dream about where to find the bodies of two men who had drowned in the Wapiti River nearly two months earlier. It’s unfortunate that the woman was not identified in the report, and some follow up information about her would have been interesting.
Title quote from Father Giroux, who came to the Peace Country in 1896
It may be difficult for people here now to imagine what a huge thing it was in 1949 to have a bridge over the Smoky River. The report says that at least 12 000 people attended the bridge opening in August. To put this into perspective, the population of Grande Prairie in 1949 was 3700. The population of the entire MD of Grande Prairie in 1946 was 9505, and the MD of Spirit River was 1404. This means pretty much everybody in the country was at the Smoky for the celebrations! There were more than 60 floats in the parade, each of which featured some episode of the days of the trail, and many oldtimers rode in the parade, including Father Giroux, who was over 80.
The Grande Prairie Library was started by the Grande Prairie Women’s Institute in 1939. It was turned over to the town in 1941, with 600 books on its shelves. (1957)
Last June the blog was about the founding of the Grande Prairie Public Library in 1939. In 1941, a “Wild Rose Tea” was held to mark the occasion and raise money for expenses. When the library first opened, one bookcase held all the books – two years later, there were three! I found the list of new books recently purchased by the library quite interesting.
I guess this item got my attention because of the recent fires which caused such devastation in Fort McMurray. While much smaller in scope, the clipping shows that people always rallied to help, not just local families, but also those farther away. The members of St. Joseph’s Parish sent many boxes, and the Cooperative Employees’ Association held a dance to raise money for the Fire Relief Fund.
Johanna holds one of the many babies she delivered. Johanna worked as a nurse in Sexsmith for over three decades. (ca. 1950)
The 1940 item from Beaverlodge describes a very ambitious concert put on by the dance pupils of Miss Valerie Ellwood. It sounds like an enjoyable evening. In Grande Prairie in 1949, ninety babies from all over the district took part in a Baby Show & Tea, where the babies were judged according to weight, size, and general health. That’s a lot of babies! One of the fun things about articles from later years is that there are some familiar names.
I found these ads two weeks apart in January 1949. It was always exciting to send away for these things although, like Ralphie found in A Christmas Story, they were often a bit disappointing in reality. The Disney comics would be pretty basic, I think, but the Super Jet Plane Ring probably didn’t perform as advertised! Next week, the Thursday File will look at a few items for the lady of the house to send away for.
A girl from England had an opportunity to fly to Canada for her marriage to a Sturgeon Lake farmer, but had no time to notify him of her arrival in Grande Prairie. This story tells of one of those amazing coincidences that sometime happen, when she spied him crossing the street at Bird’s corner. I couldn’t find the wedding announcement in the previous papers, but I did find an article that may explain why Harold was in town. His father John, had been trampled by a horse and was in Grande Prairie Hospital. Was it that, or the “long arm of romantic telepathy” that brought him to Grande Prairie that day?
Richmond Avenue looking east from 102 St, Grande Prairie, 1950 (SPRA 2005.71.3)
At the South Peace Regional Archives Society Annual General Meeting on Saturday, April 2, Dr. Daryl White is speaking about post-war immigration in the Peace. When I spotted this article, it seemed to fit right in with that theme. It was also interesting to me because my mother shopped at Mr. DeGroot’s meat shop, so I knew him and his daughter Jennie. I certainly didn’t know anything about the events in Holland during the war. The other family mentioned in the article had ten children! I couldn’t find any further mention of them in the newspapers.