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Our Heritage

Historic Hanna

A compilation of historical notes and pictures depicting the story of Hanna’s first 75 years.

© 1987 Gorman & Gorman Publishing Ltd.
Hanna, Alberta

~  Dedication  ~

To all those hardy souls who settled this dried out country and built a society for which they can be justly proud

Part I

A History of Hardship

History is not a term that affixes itself easily to community life which is so much a part of each one of us. In Hanna, and other small communities, we are familiar with the events, the families and the culture which is an intimate part of everyday living. Nevertheless, 85 years of relentless effort under every form of adversity … drought, hail, blizzards, floods, rust, smut, poverty … qualifies as history. The history of Hanna and district is a dramatic tale of overcoming hardships and developing a modern, thriving community with all of the amenities any city might boast. And along with this is the maintenance of the superb quality of the rural way of life. The town came into existence in 1912 as divisional point on the Great Northern Railway which later was gobbled up by the CNR. It gets its name from D.B. Hanna who was president of the railway at that time.

For most of its existence Hanna was the main service town in East Central Alberta for farmers and ranchers seeking banking services, professional services, medical care and a wide range of shopping services dealing in almost all commodities. The town itself was peopled by merchants, tradesmen, professional people and railroaders giving a nice mix with railroaders coming and going, and a rich if not spicy social atmosphere prevailed.

As railroad activity diminished other initiatives were undertaken to replace the dwindling population. Since the beginning of the oil boom there has always been a representative group of oilfield production and service personnel. In recent years, beginning in the late 1970’s a new wave of enthusiasm engulfed the citizens of Hanna with the beginning of construction of the 750 megawatt Sheerness Power Generating Station about 15 miles southeast of town. The plant is up and running with about 75 permanent jobs and another 50 Manalta Coal and Luscar Mines which supply the fuel for the plant.

Located about 214 kilometers (130 miles) northeast of Calgary on Highway 9, Hanna is well serviced by highway transportation in all directions, good bus service and the main branch of CN Rail from Saskatoon to Calgary.

It was only a few years ago that a new airport was completed with lights and a 3,500 foot strip capable of handling small jets.

Hanna is headquarters for the Special Areas Administration which provides local municipal government for most of the sparsely populated 5,000,000 acres of its domain in East Central Alberta. It is also headquarters for the Palliser Regional Planning Commission which provides complete planning and advisory services for municipalities and improvement districts in a vast area.

Hanna is 2,658 feet above sea level, boasts 2,133 hours of sunshine annually and receives an average 10.81 inches of rain and 44.4 inches of snow annually. In an average year if the rain falls at the right time and the snow accumulates for a fast spring runoff there is plenty of water for the cattle and the crops are generally good. It doesn’t always work out that way.

Regional natural resources include: thermal clay, sand, gravel, petroleum, natural gas, agriculture products and bentonite. By far the most important industry in the district is agriculture whose products include: wheat, barley, rye, tame hay, oats, flax, rapeseed, beef cattle, hogs, poultry, sheep, lambs and horses.

Hanna is governed by a mayor and six councilors, assisted by a town administrator and clerical staff as well as the public works crews and the various service specialists.

The town boasts a full range of cultural and recreational activities. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police provide policing service. Complete medical services are available through the facilities of the Hanna General Hospital and the Big Country Health Unit provides care for home patients in the town and rural areas. Hanna provides educational facilities from kindergarten through high school and includes some post-secondary education opportunities through the Further Education Council and the Big Country Educational Consortium.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Naming A Town

Main Street in 1959

At least two publications of place names of Alberta have listed “Hanna – formerly Cooperville.” This is incorrect, it should be Copeville.

George Cope homesteaded land about two miles east of the present townsite. He opened a store, Mercantile Lumber which became the terminal point of the stage coach and trucking service from Castor, the nearest railroad. He operated the Copeville post office there. Only the earliest settlers remember that location.

George Cope sold the land to Holbrook and reopened the Copeville post office straight south. When the townsite was laid out, the post office was relocated on the 200 block of 2nd avenue east for a short time, until the town was officially named, it remained the post office. Then W.E. Stirling became post master and operated the business for many years.

The focal point of the business section of the town has always been the hotel corner. The four buildings that make up the corner are the original buildings. The National Hotel was built during the winter of 1912, an open winter when men worked in their shirt sleeves. It opened for business March 17, 1913. Across to the south stands the first brick building in Hanna; it was to have been a six storey structure (Hanna’s skyscraper) and the base was laid to hold that, but only two storeys were ever built, the lower floor for retail and the second for offices. The main floor was rented to Bruce Wallen who opened his clothing store there, the location remained a clothing business for years, following Bruce were: Charlie Stephens; Mohl and Lunn, Dick Mohl and his son Jeff. Today the premise is occupied by lawyer Murray Shack.

On the southeast corner is the building erected by George Fleming, the main floor a retail store: “Johnston the Druggist wants to see you.” It remained a drug store for many years under various owners and now houses Central Meats, owned and operated by Billy Simpson. The upper floor was always a meeting room and it served the town well for many years. Countless organizations rented it for meetings, card parties, dances, socials of all kinds.

On the northeast corner is a brick building, originally the Union Bank. The Union became the Royal Bank, which later moved a block east. The building became the town hall until the present town office was built.

The community was named in honor of one of the country’s most eminent industrialists, David Blythe Hanna who was president of Canadian National Railways at the time.

When the Canadian government purchased the Canadian National Railway in 1918, Mr. Hanna resigned and was appointed first president of the board of directors of Canadian National Railways. In 1922 he retired from railway service and was appointed first chairman of the Ontario Liquor Control Board when that government passed the Ontario Temperance Act.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Local Government
After the sale of lots on August 7, 1912 and before a council was elected for the village of Hanna, the Board of Trade was formed and operated the business of the village until the first council was elected January 23, 1913.

The first Hanna Herald printed on Christmas Eve 1912 reported a meeting of the Board of Trade. The first president was J.C. Trenaman; first vice president was Dr. James Grant and the first secretary-treasure was O.L. Jarrell. The December 20 meeting was called to organize a fire department and Murdo S. McLeod was named Fire chief and J.G. Odell was appointed secretary. William English was appointed to draw up by-laws for the board.

The first baby born in Hanna was a son to Mr. and Mrs. J.A. McLure and the Board of Trade presented an appropriate souvenir.

Candidates for the first council in 1913 were: Elmer Brink, E.W. Campbell, G. Jamieson, George Riggle, J.C. Trenaman and the returning officer was W.C. Stirling.

Administration of the town began to take shape and tenders were called for building sidewalks, planting trees and the construction of a village office. Pigs were banned from the village limits and furrows were to be ploughed outlining the blocks in preparation for tree planting. In November 1913 Murdo McLeod was appointed Justice of the Peace.

Hanna was authorized to issue debentures of $45,000 for a new eight-room school to be built in the spring of 1914.

On January 22, 1914, H.H. Halladay, official CNR townsite agent received a telegram stating that the plans for Hanna had been registered. A meeting of the village council was called on February 5th, 1914 to consider petitioning the provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs to have Hanna upgraded from village to town status.

J.C. Trenaman, J.H. Stephens and J.G. Odell were on the 1914 council and the first council after Hanna was awarded town status was elected on May 19, 1914. H.H. Halladay was elected mayor and councilors were: N.J. Lott, J.H. Stephens, J.G. Odell, M.S. McLeod and G.A. Jamieson.

The CNR sold the lots of the town and no deeds were supplied so it was impossible to register with the Land Titles Office. On June 18 it was discovered that none of the council nor the mayor could hold office. Trenaman, Stephens and Odell were appointed as a committee to hold things together until the registration of properties could be made with the Land Titles office. The council and mayor were returned by acclamation saving the town the expense of another election.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Goose Lake Line
The Goose Lake Line was the name given the Canadian Northern Railway line connecting Calgary with Saskatoon. The survey was done in 1911 and most of the steel was laid by the end of 1912.

The line would run through an area which had not been serviced by rail and would bring transportation for settlers with supplies and equipment to an area which was being rapidly settled by homesteaders. Previously the land had been used by cattlemen who had grazed their herds of great tracts of open range.

Suitable sites for community development were decided on by the railway company. The land buyers made arrangements for land purchases from the homesteaders for town sites. Canadian Northern Railway surveyors surveyed the sites into lots and streets.

The townsite of Hanna was purchased from James and Ed Parker, George Burkell and Conrad Lawlor. The lots were sold at public auction in Saskatoon on August 7, 1912.

When the rumor of the proposed townsite became widespread, there were inquiries from all over Canada and the United States, and people from the surrounding areas began to move in before the townsite was set up. Shacks and tents went up on the squatters rites on the southwest corner of the townsite. From the time the first settler arrived with his family on June 6, 1912 until Christmas of that year, almost 800 people had converged to form the nucleus of the new town.

Before the arrival of the railway, the only methods of travel were by ox or horse team or on horseback. George Burkell was believed to be the only person in the area with an automobile.

Until 1912, the closest railway service to Hanna was by CPR from Calgary to Castor and then cross country for fifty miles by stage. Prior to that, the trip by stage was 80 miles from Stettler. For years before the arrival of the railway, supplies for the homesteaders were freighted in by team and wagon from Stettler or Castor.

Originally stage service into Hanna was twice weekly, but on May 15, 1913, it was increased to three times a week until the final run of the stage on April 29th, 1914. Rail passenger service to Calgary and Saskatoon was not introduced until that time. Steel was laid into Hanna by November 1912, but ballasting was not completed so service was originally restricted to freight.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Passenger Service Demanded

Jamieson’s first store – 1912

In June 1913 an editorial in the Hanna Herald demanded to know when passenger service would begin. There was a constant flow of letters from the Board of Trade, the town council, interested parties and private citizens to the railway officials reminding them of their commitment to provide complete rail service for the town.

Rail service to move the bumper crop of 1913 was of great assistance to the pioneers. Earlier crops had been used for feed and seed, but by 1913 another outlet was needed for the surplus and to bring cash into the community.

The first carload of wheat was shipped by AlbertMaynes of Wildunn, and was loaded at the tracks during the last week of 1912. The first shipment of coal went from the Brown Mine north of Hanna, The car contained 30 tons of high grade lignite coal and went to Alsask.

As yet there were no CNR buildings and cars were loaded at the tracks. By the end of 1912 promises were received that the CN station and freight sheds would be started as soon as the crews were finished at Youngstown.

Almost as soon as the village was organized there were rumors of railway development. The Hanna Herald of January 2, 1913 reported that railway crews were working toward Hanna from the south. It was speculated that the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk Pacific railways would use Hanna as a hub for transportation activities. In February 1913 the Herald published a map indicating seven railway lines leading to and from Hanna. In March 1913 it was confirmed that Hanna would become a divisional point and a major repair depot with shops and roundhouse to be built. It was also announced that CN would build a line from Medicine Hat to Hanna. In 1915 the line was started but the war, drought and depression soon came into play and the line was built as far south as Wardlow on the Red Deer River and stopped. For decades the abandoned piers of the proposed bridge could be seen near Steveville. The Hanna-Steveville line became known as the Peavine and was eventually abandoned in the 1970’s.

In March 1913 crews finished the track from Hanna to Munson the final link in the Calgary-Saskatoon line. When the rail was completed a large number of mules were advertised for sale in the Hanna Herald. The animals had been used to pull the slips, drags and gypos during railway construction and were no longer needed in this area by their owner Alex Falconer.

On April 14 the steel was completed to Munson though still lacking the required amount of ballast. The first freight car west went through Hanna on April 16 and was consigned to Crown Lumber at Highland which is now Delia. On May 15 A. Lindstrom put his team to work digging the basement for the CN station. May 26 brought a new rumor that a rail line would join Hanna and Castor.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Roundhouse Built
CNR Round House

The 10-stall roundhouse

CNR Roundhouse

was started on June 8, 1913. Included in the construction was a 60,000 gallon water tank and this would necessitate construction of a dam across the creek meandering south of the tracks.

Roads began opening up, and trails improved as farmers began coming to Hanna to do business. June 15, 1913 work began on the road to Garden Plain. It was to be paid for by the rural municipalities. Dowling Lake Municipality bought road machinery from Jarrell and Brink – a grader, a ditch plow and slips, and a large number of teams were hired to supply the power.

On June 13, 1913 many more men arrived to start work ballasting the CNR tracks. One trainload from the east brought 200 men. They were housed and fed in their own camp, another 75 men arrived from the west to begin work on telegraph lines, and more crews were expected to assist in the construction boom.

It was also rumored that the Canadian Northern Railway system would be taken over by the government, but nothing more was heard for a time. Road gangs worked through the summer and the ballasting was completed in time to move the bumper grain crop of 1913.

On August 7,1913 a storey was released that the Brazeau line to Hanna would be built soon and the CPR from Bassano to Coronation would pass through Hanna. By early September 1913 daily mail service was expected from Alsask, but the railway had not yet received contracts to carry mail.

By September 14, 1913, the first car of grain was shipped by McCuish Brothers. It was No. 1 Marquis and was shipped through the Alberta Pacific Grain Company. The Hanna Board of Trade continued to pressure the railway for facilities and in October a loading platform and a two-pen stock yard was built.

November 13,1913 was the long awaited day when almost everyone in Hanna went to the station to welcome the first passenger train from the East. The first train consisted of eight cars – two first class, two second class, baggage, express, mail and dining cars. The first engine bore the number 1228. The first train crew: Conductor, G.L. Byers; engineer, J.H. Cherry; fireman, Ross Alexander; brakeman, F.A. Purvis; mail. H.G. Hays, H.F. Mills, C.E. Miners; express C. Austin; Dining car, W. Patterson, conductor; Louise Phillipe, chef; A. David, C. Morrison, A. McDonald, F.J. Long.

This train would establish a mixed train coming to Hanna from the east on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The train would go west to Drumheller and return the same day.

On January 22, 1914, the CNR had the Hanna townsite plans registered. They also granted an acre of land to the village for $100 as a hospital site.

Many settlers were coming into the area that spring and 25 cars of settlers effects were distributed along the Goose Lake Line as the families moved in.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Last Stage Coach

Early merchants buying Hanna lots in Saskatoon.

On April 30, 1914, The Hanna Herald said: “The Castor stage made its last trip April 29. Many travelers who came to this town in the early days can remember the old team of saddened, knee-sprung bays that used to toil over the dusty roads in summer through and through the drifts in winter, carrying the mail and those who were destined for this young town. Seldom was the stage delayed. It never made any record for speed, but was always on the job.”

The stage was operated by Scorry (Wm.) Glover, who hauled most of the lumber for the first stores, homes and for the first school in Hanna. He also hauled the loads of furniture for the first school established in 1912.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Part II

The Settlers

Looking north on Centre St from 1st Ave. The Seymour Hotel sits on the corner of Centre and 1st.

The Big Country in which Hanna was situated was first opened by the cattlemen. In 1909 the first homesteads were released and settlers began to come in. The first homesteaders were mainly American, Canadian and German-Russian. A large number of the Americans came from the Dakotas. There were many of Scottish extraction who never allowed their homeland to be forgotten.

There were enough American families that for a number of years after the school was opened, the war of 1776 was fought over with a regularity that must have become monotonous to the teachers. Both July 1st and July 4th were celebrated by the whole community. When the town of Hanna was established people from all over North America arrived and within several months the new town boasted a population of almost 1,000 souls. Many from the homesteads in the surrounding area moved into the townsite to establish businesses. The first to arrive was J.C. Trenaman and his family who had homesteaded in the Hand Hills. When they arrived they were among the fortunate few to have a building waiting for them. It was located on the southeast corner of the townsite and served as home and office. The building was eventually moved to the corner of second avenue and main street were it served a variety of occupants until it was demolished in the early 1980’s to make way for the Tower Park Mall.

Mrs. Trenaman, a graduate of the Montreal General Hospital was the first nurse in the new town.

The Trenamans were only the first of many to arrive in the weeks and months. Many of the newcomers had spent months on the trail carrying their effects overland by team and wagon from all points of North America.

Some of the ranchers and homesteaders left the area with their families in the fall to avoid the harsh winter. They had been unable to build adequate shelter on the homesteads to face a prairie winter.

J.E. Jones, a homesteader from the area had the first harness shop which he operated for a number of years. He and J.C. Trenaman carried on a feud over who had the first building in Hanna. Jones started his building first, but the Trenaman building was the first to be completed. The Jones building and the original Empire Theater building were both burned in a major fire.

Several of the early buildings were moved to the surrounding homesteads to be used as granaries to house the wheat from the bumper crop of 1915. The office of H.H. Halladay was among them.

Many of the first settlers were bachelors, while others left their families behind until they had a chance to establish a business and build a home.

The people who came to the new townsite were young, healthy and enthusiastic. At first there were no elderly people and very few children. Many shacks went up overnight and many people lived in tents.

Some of the homesteaders who moved to Hanna to establish businesses were: J.C. Trenaman, real estate and later agent for Dominion Lands; J.E. Jones, The Hanna Harness Shop, later sold to Lorne Stuart; C.N. Tingle, General Office business and later secretary to the town; S.H. Holbrook, photographer; Campbell, the blacksmith; F.B. Randall, the dairy man; G.H. Wade, physician and surgeon.

In December 1912 Herb McCrea, a young man who had learned the printing trade set out from Bassano with a Washington hand press and a few cases of type loaded in a wagon sleigh. He drove his team toward Hanna, crossed the river on the ice and established the Hanna Herald in time to publish the first edition on Christmas Eve 1912. George Fleming rode from Munson on horse back in July 1912, and his family followed a short time later. Jim Stephens came from Castor on the stage operated by Scotty Glover. All of the pioneers remember being tormented by the hordes of mosquitoes. And they all remembered the harsh winters.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Pioneer Businessmen

Trenaman’s and Hanna Herald. Corner of Centre St and 2 Ave.

The Hanna Realty Company – Robertson, Trenaman and Stirling broke up in January 1913. W.C. Stirling resigned to become Postmaster where he remained for 25 years. A.J. Robertson was a retired Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Conservative. He left Hanna to study law when he was more than 50 and graduated in 1917. He practiced law in Three Hills. Trenaman carried on the business, became the first president of the Board of Trade and served on town council and school board.

Ed Sharp opened the first men’s store in February 1913, and sold to Bruce Wallen, The Mens’ Man on the Corner, on May 1st 1913. In January 1913, the Cockshutt agency was opened with Maurice Lamson, of Red Deer as agent. The Deering agency was represented by I.C. Langager. M. Clemens cam as block man for International Harvester.

In February Tracy the jeweler arrived with temporary quarters in the Dominion Restaurant. W.A. Hemstock was proprietor of the Hanna skating rink. S.H. Holbrook moved in from the homestead and become the first photographer. As early as February 1913 he was advertising a series of 13 pictures to show the growth of Hanna from inception.

J.P. Ahern came to Hanna as a jeweler in February 1913, but moved to Craigmyle before the end of the year and later to Oyen. In February F.A. Mathe opened the Cash Meat Market and later operated a general store. In later years he was engaged in real estate and insurance. Except for a year spent at Outlook, Saskatchewan, he remained in Hanna until his death. He was active in community affairs, the United Church and served on town council.

In March 1913 H.H. Halladay bought out the firm of Jell, Burry and Halladay which had been formed a year earlier. Jell and Burry returned to Coronation and Halladay remained Theatre and Real Estate Office in Hanna with real estate, loans and insurance. Halladay was the first mayor of Hanna, the first federal member from this area when he was elected as representative of the Union Party in 1917.

Miss Towns opened a millinery store but sold out before the end of the year because of an illness in the family. The Beaver Mercantile had George Riggle as manager. He was the first chairman of the first council and later moved to Imperial, California.

John Regan moved in from Dowling as a carpenter. Dickson and Bryant were contractors. Jones and Murphy came in to advertise Signs That Talk. A.L. Burrows came from London, Ontario to operate the agency of George White and Sons, Steam Plowing Tractors and Threshing Outfits. Ray E. Mason and Mr. Anderson were the contractors who built the Beaver Lumber Company offices. W.J. Duffy of Calgary moved to Hanna to build a two story brick building on second avenue. Miss O. Wickson, of Toronto arrived in Hanna to open a millinery store. Percy Johnston was the first druggist in Hanna, arriving in 1912 and remaining until his death. The Merchant’s Bank of Canada opened in 1912 and closed in 1914. The manager during that period was O.C. Smith.

A.F. Maley, The Land Man, real estate and loans, represented the CPR lands and the Hudson’s Bay Land Company. The first manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce was Donald C. Thompson who was soon moved to Youngstown to open a branch there. The Boys’ Store, operated by Gibb, Brown and Odell was a general store serving the town from 1912. Andy Gibb served overseas, rejoined the company for a number of years and then moved to California. Jack Odell, one of the most prominent of the old-timers was the only member of the partnership to remain in Hanna. He served on town council, the school board, as mayor and for many years was active in the United Church.

On January 25th, 1913 Mr. Morgan came from Missouri as manager of the Empire Lumber Company. The Pierce Lumber Company was operated by Mr. Fred Pierce and his father in law Mr. Pomeroy. They sold out July 23, 1914 and returned to the states. Mr. E.H. Howard was with the Pierce Lumber Company but moved to Craigmyle June 1, 1913.

Parkin and Winans Building Contractors and Jobbers – Mr. Winans returned to his homestead north of town April 10, 1913. Mr. Parkin’s son, Billy, worked with him. For a number of years the worked under the name of the “Parkin Building Construction Co.” Mr. Parkin became a Magistrate and was one of the leading members of the Glee Club until it disbanded.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Building for Service

Joys of motoring (1912)

A.A. Woodle had a meat market and bought and shipped cattle. He had a contract with the C.N.R. to supply meat for the diners along the Goose Lake Line. The Williston Lumber Co. was sold to R.L. Watt of Castor on January 16, 1913. He was allowed to retain the name. Bruce Watt came as manager on September 1, 1913. H.J. Leggett Baker and Confectioner came to Hanna in 1912. They sold out in 1913 and returned to Edmonton.

The Hanna Harness C. was formed by E.J. Jones who came from his homestead to start the first building in Hanna. It was the second one finished and occupied. During the war he had five sons in the Canadian and American Armies. He sold to L.I. Stuart, April 10, 1915.

F.B. Randall – Transfer and Drayline – Floyd Burr Randall was from North Dakota and had homesteaded in the Hand Hills. He was very good with animals and was known as “Doc Randall”. Later he spent two terms at Toronto University preparing to become a veterinarian.

F.M. Wilson – General Contractor. Eade For Signs – Painting and Decorating . Thomas Eade Sr. came to Hanna as a cobbler. He had three sons. Ernest Eade was the sign painter. Ernest was founder of the Empire Theatre, going into partnership with Charlie Whitford. He sold his share to Geo. Horner and on November 13, 1913 he bought it back and resold the same day to Geo. Geisel. He served in the Boer War and the War 1914-18. Charlie Eade served in the Boer War and the War 1914-18. Thos. Eade was artistically inclined and painted scenery for theaters in Hanna, Drumheller and Munson. He was interested in drama and joined Mr. Geisel in a company which toured the province with one night stands. He went overseas and was wounded. Returning to Hanna, he married Ruth Sipprell. They later moved to Los Angeles where he joined Aimee Semple McPherson and became a very well known Evangelist, and one of the ministers in the Los Angeles Temple.

Campbell the Blacksmith. Queen’s Restaurant – Regular meals 25 cents.

Beaver Lumber Company – S.B. Robinson Manager. Mr. Robinson and his family moved to Hanna in November 1912. He was always active in sports and community affairs. The school board and curling were his main interests for many years. He was also active in the United Church.

The Whitefoot Barn was opened by C.O. Overton on August 11, 1912. After Mr. Overton disposed of his barn to Seckman and Fitzsimmons on February 11, 1915 he returned to ranching.

The Twin Stores – G.W. Horner and E. Campbell, Hardware; Stephens and Edwards, General Merchandise. Mr. and Mrs. J. Stephens and family moved from Ontario in 1912. There were three sons and three daughters: James, Charles, George, and Elmer Edwards were among the pioneer general merchants. James Stephens was on the council from the beginning and was elected Mayor following H.H. Halladay. He was active in the United Church since coming to Hanna. Charles Stephens was in the store from sometime and for a number of years worked with Bruce Wallen. Later he operated his own store selling to D. and G. Clothiers. George Stephens was in partnership with his two older brothers.

The Empire Theater was opened January 3, 1913 by E. Eade. Later it was owned by I.F. Schacker. A.J. Johnston and Son – Building Contractors.

Union Band – Manager William English was in Hanna for some years. He was active in the Roman Catholic Church and community affairs. He was interested in sports and prominent in the Glee Club. The family moved to Winnipeg.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Fighting for Canada

Hanna’s first machine agency, Parker and Berkell.

Harry H. Blois was Hanna’s first lawyer coming to the town the first week of 1913. He was killed at Vimy Ridge in 1917. G.W. Fleming came to Hanna on horse back from Munson in 1912. At a considerably later date he replaced A.S. Bruce as Homestead Inspector from the Calgary Office of the Dominion Lands Department.

Dr. James Grant was the first doctor coming in with the C.N.R. work crew as company doctor. He remained until August 1916 when he returned to his home in Bracebridge, Ontario.

Livery, Feed and Sale Stable – A. Lindstrom. Later on Mr. Lindstrom operated the light plant that served the town with electricity. He was active in community affairs for many years before moving to Calgary.

Dominion Restaurant – Black and McLeod. Ronald Black later moved to Cereal. Murdo McLeod become the first fire chief and later J.P. He was active in the community. He went overseas during the war and returned to Hanna where he lived for a number of years.

The Peoples Store – Curry and Co. It was in this store that I.F. Shacker first worked. He later owned the Empire Theater and became mayor of Hanna for many years.

Furniture and Undertaking – Jamieson and Co. George Jamieson operated the above business for a number of years and then became a chiropractor. He practiced in Hanna aGeorge Hannah’s flour mill, 1920nd later moved to Calgary.

Hardware – Brink and Jarrell. Mr. A.E. Brink served on the council. He moved to Calgary with his family in 1916. Mr. Jarrell returned to his old home in North Dakota November 1914.

The National Hotel opened March 17, 1913. It was built and owned by Charles Vassar. Sam Fisher was the first manager. A dance was put on to mark the opening, attended by 500 people. The hotel was three stories and contained 64 bedrooms. There was a barber shop, dining room and bar. A Fairbanks Lighting Plant was in the basement. It could be heard all over town at night. There was an electric fire alarm. The plumbing and heating cost five thousand dollars. On November 6, 1913 the National Hotel was sold to Severyns and Staples from California.

The Oxford Pool Hall was opened May 15, 1913. J. James – Stonemason. June 15, 1913 – H.B. Jones Signs, Paintings and Decorating “not the cheapest but the best”.

June 2, 1913 – C.N. Tingle came from his homestead north of Hanna to join Mr. W.C. Stirling in a partnership for general office business. Later, Dr. Wade’s son Joe joined the firm to make it “Stirling, Tingle and Wade”.

A Feed Mill was erected by Campbell and Sons on 1st Avenue. The Seymour Hotel was almost finished by July 3, 1913. P.O. Dyrness was the well driller. A Second Hand Store was opened during July 1913 by Ernie Eade. Jim Parker operated the first Ford Agency.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Architect Arrives

Corner Drug and then Central Mean, before 1920

August 14, 1913 – Mr. L. de Jurkowski moved to Hanna from Saskatoon. He was the architect for the new brick school, for the cottage hospital and for many other buildings, including the Hanna Municipal Hospital.

August 14, 1913 – The National Elevator was under construction with a capacity of 30,000 bushels. October 23, 1913 – The town was to be supplied by electricity by the firm of Hunt and Drosser. It appeared to be a hit and miss affair until it was taken over by Mr. Lindstrom.

By December 1, 1913 there was a noticeable improvement in business due to rail service. December 18, 1913 Jamieson and Co. installed the first flashing electric light sign in the town. It advertised Dixie Mattresses. December 18, 1913. O.H. Tallman opened a feed mill. He was also the minister for the Church of Christ. December 23, 1913 – Geo. Hannah was manager of another newly opened feed mill.

Sam Wadsworth was manager of the Black Diamond Mine 11 miles south of Hanna. Blough and MacKay opened as general blacksmiths next door to Alex Falconer’s Livery Stable.

J.A. McClure had the agency for McCormick Implements, I.H.C. Tractors, Oliver Plows, Old Dominion Wagons, Chatham Wagons and Incubators.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Pioneer Agriculture

National Hotel before 1920

The crop of 1912 was very good but was sold and used within the district as feed and seed. It was a good thing to be used for in that manner as there was no transportation from the area and successive crops could have become a burden.

On December 1912 Hanna was promised that within a few weeks elevators and warehouses so that “Farmers may receive cash for a load of grain” will be built by the Walridge Grain Co. and the Alberta Pacific Grain Co.

The weather during the fall and winter of 1912-13 was ideal. By New Year there was no snow and the daily temperatures were reaching 50 degrees.

J.V. O’Neil reported 6062 bushels of oats from 110 acres at Solon. Grade C.W. Oats .21; No. 3 Barley .34; No. 1 Flax .90. January 30, 1913. They were threshing at Wildunn on C.F. Meadows farm. Butter was twenty-five cents a pound.

An editorial in the Hanna Herald complained that there was still no grain buyer in Town. That paper also advertised that the Security Trust would lend money at 8 percent.

February 13, 1913, they were threshing at Kirby Bros. at Dowling Lake. February 20, 1913 at Parr, Dan Fowler threshed a heavy crop of oats while at Centre Point preparations were being made to start seeding.

Copeville Store about six miles east of present townsite.

February 27, 1913. The Government suggested that seed be sent to the laboratory to be tested free. Sample bags would be sent from Calgary that would hold about one thousand seeds. March 6, 1913. Farmers were encouraged to display more interest in mixed farming.

On January 9, 1913 a delegation went to Winnipeg to interview Dr. Roach, Minister of the Interior, with a view to having a Lanf Office established in Hanna.

On March 9, 1913, J.C. Trenaman was appointed as Dominion Lands Agent. March 13, 1913. The U.F.A. was organized at Solon. March 24, 1913. The Sub-agency of the Dominion Lands opened their office under J.C. Trenaman at the corner of Main Street and Second Avenue.

April 24, 1913. It was planned to name 150 weed inspectors in Alberta. By May 8, 1913 ninety percent of the grain had been planted, which was earlier than the previous year. There were reports of need of rain from some districts but the last part of June brought enough rain to ensure a bumper crop for 1913.

By the beginning of August it was evident there would be need for extra labor to take off another bumper crop. The Hanna Herald of August 7, 1913 offered its services as an employment agency for the farmers. That fall many homesteaders proved up on their homesteads, although by the release of other lands 1914 became known as “the homestead year”.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Bumper Crop

Union Bank. Was a law office at the time of writing

The bumper crop of 1913 helped to overcome the tightness of money and to increase interest in diversified farming. September 14, 1913. The first car of No. 1 grain was shipped by the McCuish Brothers through the Alberta Pacific Grain Co. Iwas Marquis Wheat.

Homesteaders were notified that they could leave their homesteads to help with the harvesting, but they must apply for leave. Later they were told they must return to their homesteads at night as there had been some misunderstanding.

September 25, 1913. It was announced that 400 homesteads were to be thrown open in sixty days. Many of these had been taken up previously but had been released when duties had not been performed.

By now business was improving and taxes coming in well. The crop had overcome the tightness of money which had become apparent in the town the previous months. The National Elevator was very busy. It was still the only one operating in the town. It was operated by Mr. E.R. Moore and he reported that a large percentage of the train coming in was No. 1.

The first shipment of hogs came from C.D. Hessian and was shipped through the offices of J.A. McLure and Co. Hog raising was just getting started in the area and Hessian’s large shipment was worthy of mention. The following spring it was remarked that one could not go for a walk without seeing and hearing “millions and millions of pigs”.

The fall of 1913 was as beautiful as the previous one with sun every day for two months. The first light snow fell on November 18.

October 23, 1913. A regulation came into effect that threshers must pay a license but were informed that they might keep enough grain to satisfy their bill. December 4, 1913. It was decided there would be a farmers Co-op Elevator in Hanna. By the middle of December the weather was still ideal and wagons were still being used.

An ice house was built by F.B. Randall in which ice would be stored for the following summer. Ice would be obtained from a small lake a mile and a half west of the town. For some time it was called “Bum Lake” but the following summer when it became a favorite picnic spot and a place to go boating, the name was registered as “Lake Hanalta”. It has since been drained and cultivated.
Gradually the homesteaders got rid of oxen and replaced them with horses. On January 16, 1913 Mr. G.B. French of Garden Plains disposed of one of his teams and purchased a fine team of horses. Such occurrences were worthy of mention in the paper for some time.

The first Ford of 1913 was bought by Mr. E.W. Campbell from Mr. O.S. Welch of Castor.

About the middle of March 1913 Mr E.A. Johnson had a sale of farm stock. His horses sold for an average of $250.00 and cattle for an average of $73.00.

That week, John Stubbs, a homesteader of Lone Butte went through the spring ice on the Red Deer River with horses and wagon. After getting to shore he went back into the icy water to cut loose his horses. Both were saved but the wagon was left in the river to wait salvaging later in the spring.

A tragedy of that spring was suffered by William Colwell of the Hand Hills. Toward the end of March he was taking twenty-four steers to market and planned to cross the Red Deer River on the Spring ice. The animals broke through and only two were saved.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Oxen For Sale

Situated between Berke’s Jewelers and Klara’s Fashions.

Ad from the Hanna Herald: “OXEN, OXEN, OXEN; For Sale: Teams of six and gang plow. Cheap for cash or terms. Odd ox seventy dollars”. Soon a team of oxen would be a rare sight.

With the land being taken up by homesteaders and the soil being broken and fenced there came more and more demand for herd laws. In some areas it came reasonably easy while in others the cattlemen fought it to the bitter end.

January 23, 1913. Richdale turned down the herd law. April 10, 1913. Dowling was giving some consideration to the herd law. By May 11, 1913 Lone Butte had herd law and other communities were voting. June 19, 1913. Feeling was running high and there were bitter disputes over the herd law. July 10, Solon voted for herd law.

During the spring Dowling Municipality voted on the herd law and 80 percent of the voters were in favor of it. However, the council decided to change the law somewhat after the voting had taken place and did not go through the proper channels to do so. I.J. Whittaker, John Cory and Gibson Richardson, ranchers in the area took the matter up. The council decided they did not need to be represented by council and when the case came before Judge Carpenter of Calgary Mr. Whittaker, Mr. Corry and Mr. Richardson were there to defend their views, but no one was there to defend the council or the herd law and the law was quashed by default.

And so it went, but eventually there was herd law in all areas and the old time rancher was pretty well crowded out.

But still such items appeared in the news. April 10, 1913, “Mr. Leslie has a sick ox”. The first week in June the first gasoline tractor arrived in Hanna by rail. June 15, 1913. A sale brought 128 dollars for milk cows and 35 dollars for three month old calves.

June 12, 1913. A.A. Woodle secured the contract to supply the C.N.R. with beef for this line. He had difficulty getting enough first class beef. It is likely he knew where a lot of the oxen went. He did buy a team from Garfield French.

August 14, 1913. Item from the Hanna Herald; “Due to the area becoming mixed farming and loss of open range to the ranchers one of the last big herds of beef cattle was sold to Pat Burns by E.J. Whittaker of Dowling; 368 head of prime beef cattle – yearlings and calves.

August 28, 1913. Jim Parker started selling Fords. A Runabout cost $675.00; Touring Car cost $750.00 and a town car cost $1000.00

August 20, 1913. Andy Gibb, C.F. Whitford and Jack Ward went to Calgary one day and back the next. They spent 16 hours on the road.

September 25, 1913, Andy Gibb went to Calgary and brought a copy of the Albertan which was the first time it had been in Hanna the same day as it was printed.

There were several livery barns in Hanna the winter of 1912-13 but by November 13 business had increased to a point where it was necessary to enlarge the barns. Pictures from that time show many horses and wagons but no cars.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Part III

The Doctors

Medical Staff, 1956

Hanna’s first doctor arrived with the C.N.R. crews as the company doctor. Dr. Jas. Grant came to Hanna in 1912, from his home in Bracebridge, Ontario. He remained here to establish a practice. He built the Alma Block on 2nd Avenue where he later owned the Alma Drug. His first office was situated in a tent. He left Hanna in 1916.

There were few reports of illness as there were no old people and few children, though some of the illnesses did have tragic consequences. Most emergencies were due to accidents or the sad event of isolated homesteaders having to be “Taken away”.

The first accident in Hanna occurred during December, 1912 when W.C. Turner, grandfather of Carol Mathe, was seriously injured when he fell from a scaffold while building the new Post Office building. Dr. Grant was not available at the time, and Mr. O.C. Welch, of Castor, was in town, and established a record which held some time when he drove to Castor in two hours, to bring back Dr. Lyons. Though seriously injured, Mr. Turner eventually recovered.

Some tragic deaths in the area, though none in the town, were caused from appendicitis. Jessie Guthrie, 22, died from appendicitis. Gilbert Scott, 20, died after he was thought to be recovering from an attack of appendicitis. Harold Jones was taken to Castor by lumber wagon where he was kept for a time and treated for appendicitis and eventually returned home. He later went to Saskatoon in March, 1914, and spent several weeks in hospital where an appendectomy was performed. Castor had the nearest hospital, and when necessary, was used for hospitalization.

Edward Donald died at Dowling where he was accidentally shot while pulling a shot gun from a cutter after a hunting trip. He died before the arrival of a doctor.
A paragraph from an account of a homesteader going insane; Copied from The Hanna Herald, Vol. 1, No 24, June 5, 1913:

“This is one of the saddest cases of its kind ever brought to the attention of the citizens of this vicinity, but is only an example of many such cases that are taking place in Western Canada frequently among the pioneers of the prairie who have to suffer the hardships so common to a new country, namely; solitude, overwork and lack of proper personal attention in the way of nourishment. Many a lonely homesteader puts in his hard days toil and retires at night on a meal made by his own hands and scant, because after working in the fields he has not the initiative to go to the trouble to prepare a better one.”

Another unfortunate case was reported later in the year. On November 27, 1913, M.S. McLeod had just been made J.P. and was called out of bed at mid-night for his first case. It concerned a man who had been brought in by the police. He was well known, and had been wandering in the community for some time, and had appeared to become increasingly incompetent. When brought in he was greatly distressed because he thought that the police who brought him in had fallen down a well and couldn’t get out. As there was no relative to lay a charge of insanity, it was decided to charge the man with vagrancy and sentenced him to 60 days in the guard house in Calgary.

On May 26, an International Harvester Company collector was shot and killed by an insane homesteader.

On August 2nd, 1913, Dr. Sandercock, a dentist in Calgary, arranged for offices in the Duffy Block and planned to visit Hanna every two weeks. Dr. W.B. Honey, from Big Valley, decided to settle in Hanna and came here in July, and was appointed Coroner on August 27, 1913. Dr. G.H. Wade ranched south of Hanna but moved in to town when it was very young. He became one of the three doctors who served the community for many years.

Most of the injuries reported were caused by accidents with horses. Ted Brown was hurt by a runaway on the first sports day. Jack Parker was injured by a horse, while Ferg James had his shoulder broken when his horse fell. Mrs. A.B. German had an ankle broken during a runaway.

The first death was reported by the Hanna Herald of December 11, 1913. Gordon age 2 years, 1 month, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Stewart died suddenly after a head injury. He was buried on the farm of L.J. Stewart. Then about December 18, Mrs. Brumn died suddenly from quinzy. A bride of four months, her husband had her body returned to her home in Indiana.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Hanna Municipal Hospital

Hospital Needed

New Health Complex

By the end of August, 1913, there was considerable discussion in the town about the need for a hospital. Most people were cared for in their homes, but the nearest hospital was fifty miles away at Castor. Every emergency trip was carefully timed and records held for sometime. The really hair raising trips took from 2 hours to 2 hours and 20 minutes, and were made over frozen and rutted roads before the snow came.

A hospital would have to be set up by public contribution. Toward the end of the year, a general meeting was called to discuss the possibility. On December 4, it was decided to have a collection campaign for a hospital.

The first children born in Hanna were: a boy born to Mr. and Mrs. J.A. McLure during 1912 and a boy born December 24, 1912, to Mr. and Mrs. Jas Parker. Dr. Grant was in attendance. The first baby girl was born January 29, 1913, to Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Eade.

The Herald reported on January 29, 1914, that the old Copeville post office was being thoroughly renovated and remodeled for a community hospital. Furniture was to be installed as soon as the carpenter work was finished. The building was moved in and located between first and second streets east.

An editorial of February 5, 1914, brought before the farmers and surrounding municipalities the need to support a general hospital. A note for $300 for hospital equipment was signed by business men, and a hospital dance was planned to help clear the note. Open house for the hospital was planned for February 7, 1914. The hospital would accommodate 8-12 patients. Miss McDermot (sister of Mrs. C.N. Tingle) and Miss Elizabeth Harris (sister of Claude Harris and Mrs. Jas and Mrs. Ed Parker) were the first nurses in the hospital. Not only did they do the nursing, but the housekeeping and laundry service as well.

The baby daughter of Thomas Warwick, the first Presbyterian missionary to hold service in Hanna, was the first child born in the new hospital.

A general hospital meeting was held in the Empire Theater, February 19, 1914. Many delegates were present, and it was hoped that five or more rural municipalities would contribute to the building and maintenance of a municipal hospital. The delegates were: C.A. Frary, Dowling Lake, Dr. Benedict and Mr. Melrose of Hand Hills, Mr. St Amour of Richdale, J.C. Trenaman of Hanna, Mr. Larkin of Lambton, and Messrs R.M. and A.S. Campbell. At this meeting, it was decided:

To ask Mr. de Jurkowski to submit plans for a $5,000 building, fully equipped, providing that at least four municipalities and the village of Hanna and Youngstown could be interested enough to take equal responsibility.

The governing Board to be composed of one member from each rural municipality, town, or village, contributing to the support; delegates to be chosen by respective councils at their first meeting in January of each year. Such delegates holding office until a successor shall have been appointed.

It is requested that all Councils wishing to take advantage of this be requested to appoint their delegate for 1914, who shall be instructed to meet all other delegates in Hanna on Saturday, April 4, at 2p.m. at the Town Hall.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Fund Drive Started

Looking north from 2 Ave in about 1920

The CNR agents offered a hospital site of one acre for $100, the site to be situated 5 blocks north and 1 block east of the Bank Corners. It was estimated that the building of the hospital would cost taxpayers 75c per quarter section, and the yearly cost of maintenance would be 25c per quarter section. The first municipality to respond was Dowling Lake which pledged not more than $1,000 towards the erection of the hospital.

In March, 1914, Dr. Scott, a dentist came to Hanna from Edmonton. He was a graduate of the University of Michigan. Also in this month, a Benefit Dance was held which made $138.00 for the hospital.

On April 2, the Theater gave a percentage of two days “take”, amounting to $33.00 towards the hospital.

By April 9, disappointment! It appeared that no further assistance for the hospital was forth-coming. Hand Hills and Lambton decided that they didn’t consider the hospital a necessity. Municipalities to the east wanted to find out what Youngstown would do as they would support a hospital there. It appeared that the hospital would have to be a private institution, maintained by private capital. Patients would have to arrange about payment before admission; indigents would have to be paid for by their municipalities. The hospital appears to have been operated under these conditions during 1914. Work went on continually for what the citizens termed a “Municipal Hospital” but until the Hospital Act was passed in 1918 the hospital had to be financed privately or by public subscription. The hospital committee of October 25, 1915; Chairman J.C. Trenaman; Secretary-Treasure, H.G.McCrea; Committee, S.B. Robinson, R.L. Watt, W.D. Stacey, G.W. Fleming, Harry Stanley.

After the hospital in the old Copeville post office closed the town was often without hospital service though different people tried to operate in different ways, they were usually forced to close on account of financial difficulties.

Finally Mr. L. de Jurkowski planned and built a cottage hospital on First Street between 3rd and 4th avenues. Later it was used as a school.

Dowling Municipality paid the rent of thirty dollars per month. The doors were opened on June 21, 1918. Miss Keith, R.N., and Kate German, R.N. were in charge. Mr. Nick Lund was the first patient.

On August 8, 1918, a tag day was held, taking in three hundred dollars. It was planned to use that money to install a furnace.

August 23, 1918, a meeting was held to form a hospital district under the new Hospital Act. The a new hospital could be built.

October 9, 1919. A meeting completed the organization of the hospital district. It included: Hanna, The Village of Craigmyle, the Village of Richdale. Members of the board included, Town of Hanna, George W. Fleming, Municipal District No. 245, Chas. Lars; Municipal District No. 246, Arthur Dunn, A.B. Stone; Municipal District No. 274, J.G. Levins; Municipal District No. 275, Dan Green; Municipal District No. 277, Chas. J. Till; Municipal District N. 304, H. Crego, J. Blore; Municipal District No. 305, C.L. Sitlington; Municipal District No. 306, Pearl Green. C.A. Coughlin was conveyer. Present at the meeting were: Chas. Lars. Dan Green, Chas. Till, C.L. Sitlington, J.M. Clarke, J. Blore and Pearl Green. Organizer McKay was present from the Department of Health. Thomas J. Warwick was secretary.

The Hanna Municipal Hospital opened August 1, 1922. The same day, a daughter (Clare) was born to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fleming, the first born in that institution.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Hanna General Hospital

New Health Complex

New Health Complex[/caption]The 1959 addition which has three floors, was not to be used as the service wing, which included the operating room and delivery suite. However, staff locker facilities, the Board room and boiler room which also services the nurses’ residence, were retained in this section.

The total cost of the hospital, including equipment and landscaping, was in excess of $850,000.

The medical staff at that time consisted of four members: Dr. G.D. Wilkins, Dr. R. Turner, Dr. F. Knox and Dr. Ian Donald.

The official opening ceremonies were held on Monday, April 29, 1968 with the Hon. Dr. J. Donavon Ross Minister of Health performing the official ribbon-cutting and declaring the Hanna General Hospital District No. 9 officially open.

In 1972 a 50-bed Nursing Home was added to the hospital. A small addition to the hospital was completed in 1984 adding an ambulance bay, board room, and enlargement of the medical record department.

In 1985 the 1959 building was demolished and a new dining room, storage room, staff rooms, and maintenance shop were added to the present structure.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald


School designed by Hanna architect in 1914.

The Board of Trade, which managed the civic affairs of the town until January 1913, set up a school Committee with J.C. Trenaman as chairman.

The committee had a one-room school built on the N.W. corner of the present East School block. It opened January 6, 1913 with 26 pupils and Mr. Erb DeBow as teacher.

By February the enrollment had increased so rapidly that another teacher had to be hired and the Metropolitan Church, which stood on the N.E. corner of the intersection of 5th Ave. East and Centre St. was used as a classroom.

By May there were 83 pupils and still another teacher, Mrs. Maude Jones was engaged. She and Mr. DeBow conducted classes in that one-room at the same time.

Special assemblies of all students used the Empire Theater.

(It was interesting to note that this building was later moved to 326 2nd Ave. W. and for many years served as the Lutheran Church. In 1960 it was moved to 213 7th Ave. E. renovated and is now a fine looking dwelling).

Fortunately a bit of memorabilia from that first school is in the archives of the museum; an illustrated scroll listing the names of all 82 pupils, the signatures of the three teachers and members of the school board. This is the work of Mr. Erb DeBow whose hobby was painting. One of his paintings is also on display.

By the fall of 1913 there were more than 100 students. It is not clear how they managed but more outside accommodation was found; The Herald Hall was used for a short time and it is believed that a log house at 102 4th Ave. East was also used. A forth teacher was engaged.

In February of 1914 two proposals were presented to the residents: a debenture for $30,000 be issued to build a 4-room school or a $45,000 debenture for an 8-room school. The $30,000 debenture was chosen.

Mr. L. de Jurkowski, that fine Hanna architect, was engaged and on June 24, 1914 the corner stone was laid. On August 24, 1914 the school was open for public inspection and classes started. This fine school was the pride of Hanna, the first major public building.

Fortunately men of vision were in charge of affairs; they acquired the whole of the 200 block between 5th and 6th avenues east. This block served the land needs of the school system until 1954 – 40 years.

The brick school was demolished in 1970. Once again the Historical Society was able to acquire some valuable memorabilia, namely the corner stone on which was carved Hanna School built 1914. In the corner stone was a glass jar containing many articles, all in good condition. The list of its contents follows:

Four photos, two of Hanna streets, one of the schoolclasses of 1913 taken in front of the Empire Theater and one of the first train pulling into Hanna.

Two 1912 nickels – the small ones now only seen in coin collections and a medallion, perhaps pertaining to the coronation of George V.

A document which is of special interest, signed by Mayor H.H. Halladay, the members of Hanna’s first town council, the school trustees and treasure, the teachers, the contractor, the architect and the editor of The Hanna Herald, Herb McCrea. When the corner stone was recovered 56 years later, Bob McCrea, son of the founding editor, was one of the three persons present.

But back to school history. The solid brick school served the needs for many years. By 1920, the problem of classroom space was being felt. The population had increased and more rural students were coming in for high school. Rural schools offered only grades one to eight. A part of the basement was renovated and used as a classroom. The former cottage hospital was pressed into service and finally a two-room school was built on the west side of the block. This school is now the main building of the museum. These temporary measures filled the gap until 1928 when the necessary major step had to be taken. An eight-room brick addition was added to the brick school and a water system was installed. Once again the flock was all gathered into one fold. The high school now offered grade 12 in the south section and grades one to 12 in the new section.

And everything was fine, at least until the 1940s – but history repeats itself. Again there was overcrowding.

The two-room school was put back into service, a building always referred to as the scout hall, on a lot opposite the southeast corner of the school grounds. By 1950 several rural schools had been moved in to serve as classrooms and the school grounds was a clutter.

The increasing population due to the baby boom following the second world war was the basic cause of overcrowding, but changing times put a tremendous strain on the educational system. Once a basic education, the 3 Rs, some history, geography and basic science filled the needs of the majority of the school population. The explosion of knowledge in every field demanded highly trained people and the schools were hard pressed to keep up with the demands of shop courses: home economics, mechanics, business education, kindergarten, visual arts, drama, music, science laboratories, library service, advanced sports programs, driver’s education and others.

J.C. Charyk High School

Hanna has not lagged behind. Through the years since 1954, the system has expanded, if not painlessly, certainly successfully to include the full range of options.

Three completely new schools have been built as well as a large extension to the east school. Today we have two individual schools: grades 4 to 12 on the northwest end of town and K to 3 on the original east block. Each has its own extensive playing fields, a well-stocked library with full-time staff, and a good gymnasium.

Since the forming of the Rangeland School Division, the Hanna facilities serve not only the town but the surrounding area.

Courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Law & Order

Union Bank. Was a law office at the time of writing

The law came slowly to Hanna. Most of the people who came to settle had some money with them; they were all extremely enthusiastic, busy, and happy, and there seems to have been little time for crime. There were a few spectacular incidents that first year, but they were isolated.

On January 2, 1913, in the Hanna Herald an account of a very busy horse thief was reported. Although he was in constant conflict with the law, and continually pursued by a variety of law enforcement officials who were equally busy, he seems to have covered an amazing amount of territory in a short time. Horse Thief Visits Town, blared the headline. George Bonner wanted for horse stealing, visits Hanna Saturday night and makes clean getaway.

“Some days ago J.C. Trenaman of this place received word that George Bonner who had purchased some horses from him, was trying to make a getaway, Trenaman went to Cluny to investigate, but on arrival there found that Bonner was gone. Trenaman came back after getting what information he could get and last Sunday he went to Munson where C.W. Robinson, J.P. issued a warrant to arrest Bonner for obtaining horses under false premises. Constable Dela Tour of the RNWMP and Trenaman then took up the chase and made a midnight trip to Drumheller on a coal train, only to find that Bonner had been arrested on Saturday night and had been brought before the court for selling a piece of mortgaged property. He was fined $10 and costs and ordered to return the money. After the trial he sold Trenaman’s team and hired a man to take him north. Trenaman and the constable returned to Munson. In the morning Trenaman was sworn in as a special constable and continued the chase. They found the horses at Gopher Head in the possession of I. Collins. Collins had a hard luck story having bought a stallion, two mares and other goods to the amount of seven hundred dollars from Bonner. He gave him a check and Bonner was to have delivered the goods. After Bonner had cashed the check, but before he had delivered the horses, Deputy Sheriff Walker of Carbon had seized the whole outfit at Big Valley. Collins, learning of this, followed his man back to Drumheller. Bonner advised Collins he would square the deal and gave him Trenaman’s horses and some household furniture. The horses were then turned over to Trenaman and the sheriff nabbed the furniture. When Trenaman repossessed his team he went back to Big Valley where the JP had issued two warrants for the arrest of Bonner on additional charges. The culprit was charged with issuing fraudulent checks all over the countryside on a Royal Bank account which he had opened earlier with a two dollar deposit. Meanwhile Bonner was headed for Hanna and eventually disappeared without ever coming to justice.”

Kirby Cartage digging up main street in 1935.

On February 6, 1913 G.R. Cope, the postmaster of Copeville was appointed Bailiff of Hanna and district and in March town council advertised for a town constable. In March Dan Hines was sworn in as special constable where he remained until a permanent appointment was made. The RNMP was asked to provide police service for Hanna but declined.

Will J. Miller was appointed town policeman in September 1913.

The first recorded burglary took place in September when thieves robbed the Hanna Hardware and Stephens and Edwards of $150. The triggered agitation and criticism of the work of Miller. A wave of petty thievery’s by mid – October resulted in the dismissal of Miller and T.S. Grabell was hired. In January 1914 a new jail, fabricated by the blacksmith was completed. It contained three cells and was of all steel construction including the bunks. It was the discovered that no keys had been cut for the locks which were installed and the town secretary had to write away for them.

Chief Grabell patrolled the business section at night and when he found a door open he left a rhyming note for the proprietor. Sterling and Tingle left their door open one night and found the following verse on their desk the next morning:

Because you have a brand new safe
Sitting on the floor,
That’s no reason why you shouldn’t lock your door,
There are lots of men in town
that want the stuff that jingles,
And perhaps some day they’d get it
If they called at Wade and Tingle’s.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Joe Winkler
Most people remember Joe Winkler as being synonymous with law and order in Hanna. Joe was born in Texas and the drawl remained throughout his lifetime. Typical of Texans Joe was a big man and in his prime stood straight as a stick. No one carried the blue uniform of Hanna’s early police force with greater respect than Joe Winkler.

His Texas birth date is recorded as 1874 and as a young man he fought in the Spanish American War as a member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Roughriders. Following recovery from an attack of Malaria he came to Calgary in 1907 on the recommendation of a doctor who advised him to settle in a cool climate.

In 1909 Joe homesteaded on a half section 30 miles southwest of Hanna. He worked on the Bassano Dam construction project when he wasn’t farming.

In 1913 Joe first came to Hanna where he soon became well known and his friends included I.F. Shacker, George Burkell, the Parker brothers, Chris German and most of the downtown fraternity.

Times were tough on the homestead and Joe was appointed Hanna’s town constable, a job he held until his retirement 36 years later.

At the sound of the fire bell Joe was usually the first on the scene. He found ways and means to assist needy families and he had away with young people who got too rambunctious.

Joe was followed in his job with several other constables until the 1960’s when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began providing police service under contract.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Fire Department

Antique fire engine, one of a kind.

The development of the Hanna Fire Brigade was closely linked with the Board of Trade and the Village Council.

There were few roads and great tracts of unbroken prairie, so the serious fires could get out of hand very easily and go for many miles, causing heart breaking disaster to those in their path. Many tragedies were caused by the careless disposal of ashes.

A meeting of the Board of Trade on December 20, 1912, was called to organize a Fire Department. Murdo McLeod was chosen Fire Chief and Jack Odell as secretary.

Suggestions were made for equipment and procedure. In the mean time, a fire bell was donated by A.A. Woodle and would have to be mounted on a tower. Till further development, fire fighting would be done on a voluntary basis with the citizens running to the hardware to get pails and then forming a bucket brigade. Water would be obtained from the nearest well, likely behind the Dominion Restaurant.

The first fire to threaten Hanna was noticed by Fire Ranger Trenaman about 6:30 p.m. December 29, 1912. The fire was then about six miles south of Hanna. The men of the town and many from the railway gangs loaded into wagons and met the scene of the fire about four miles south. The wind was terrific and flames in the grass were leaping six feet in the air.

By superhuman efforts and a series of back fires being established the main fire was trapper in a triangular area where it burned itself out. The backfires protected to town and a number of farm homes and barns in the path of the fire.

Notice was immediately put in the Hanna Herald by the Board of Trade that prosecution would follow any careless distribution of ashes.

The first fire in town was a barn owned by the Crown Lumber Co. On January 23, 1913 the volunteer fire brigade under M.S. McLeod was called to fight it. Water was obtained from the Dominion Restaurant well.

January 30, 1913. Hanna purchased their first Fire Hall. It was a building moved from behind Jell, Bury and Halladay to 2nd Ave. near Brink and Jarrell’s. Also C.O. Overton was instructed, by council, to keep a tank filled with water for fire fighting.

The first fire, after the bell donated by Mr. Woodle had been mounted on a tower, was discovered in waste paper behind the Herald Building. This was on March 13, 1913.

On January 3, 1914 a new fire engine was obtained from the Brandon Fire Engine Co. Angus Campbell became the janitor at the Fire Hall.

Regulations came in concerning brick chimneys and discouraging the use of roof jacks. No tents were allowed south of third avenue. No loose hay was to remain anywhere in the village, but must be housed in a shed. All ashes must be in cans. The scavenger would remove them once a week.

They soon found the tank for the fire engine was useless and wrote the company for a man to come to check it. Inflammable materials in the theater and other buildings were ordered removed. The last part of January 1914 Robert S. Bickel and Co. of Winnipeg offered to send a man to asses the needs of the town for fire fighting equipment and to make suggestions to the town on a plan for fire protection.

On January 22, 1914, J.G. Odell and the secretary of the town were instructed to purchase a 30 inch fire bell as soon as possible. This was done by J.G. Odell supplying it at the wholesale price of fifty-two dollars. Then a derrick was built for the fire bell. It weighed 570 pounds. Years later when a siren came into use the Anglican Church obtained the bell.

On February 5, 1914, the council passed a motion that the first team to the Fire Hall at the time of a fire would receive ten dollars. Each succeeding load of water would be paid for at the rate of five dollars per load.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Part IV


CNR depot looking west

At first water was carried by pail from a few wells in the town. During 1912 Mr. A. Lindstrom established a water route by driving a water tank through the town. Wherever he saw a red flag on the line it was a signal for a delivery of water. The barrels were usually placed outside in summer and in the kitchen during the winter. It took about 16 pails of water to fill a barrel. For many years water was supplied at 25 cents a barrel.

On November 13, 1913 Mr. Lindstrom disposed of his water route to Ed. Evans. Later Ray Grantham assisted by Elvin Churchill were popular “Water Men”.

The year 1985 will probably be remembered as the year when Hanna made its largest leap forward. That was the year the town finally achieved a secure supply of water through its pipeline connection to the Red Deer River.

In about 1939, the town fathers thought enough already and launched into a project which would bring sewer and water to every household. This included drilling a deep well at the site of the water tower. The water was pumped up the stand pipe and distributed through the mains to residents and business all over town. It was a magnificent improvement, but there were still some major problems. Most important, there were times when the well just couldn’t meet the demand, and as the town grew after World War II, it became necessary to develop additional sources of water. It was at this time that Larry Helmer and the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration swung into action and built the Helmer-Dam Fox lake storage reservoirs to capture run-off water for use in the town. While these supplies served the town well, the water had a distinctly alkali flavor to it and at times in the drier years the supply was marginal.

The break through came in 1979 when it was decided to increase the size of the pipeline from the Red Deer River to Sheerness where a large cooling pond was to be built to serve the power generating station. The increase in size from 36 inches to 42 inches on the pipeline provided for water for the town of Hanna along with some of stock watering and small irrigation projects along the way.

It looked great on paper but the town was short the $3 million it required to complete the job. After much lobbying by town council and special committees established by the town an agreement was struck whereby both the provincial and federal governments would contribute equally to the cost of the line. As it turned out governments contributed 45 percent each and the town came up with the remaining 10 percent. The historic agreement was reached in June 1984.

Work on the project began that summer and by late in the fall, the line was hooked up to the water treatment plant bringing security of water to Hanna for once and for all. The new water supply was taken from the pipe a little south of the Sheerness plant and stored in a separate reservoir built by the town. This is because the main pipeline is not pumping all of the time so the reservoir is topped up during those periods when it is. A 12 inch line brings the water to Hanna where it is processed at the town’s new $6 million water treatment plant. The water supply has had a salutary effect on the mood of towns folk. No longer is there a threat of water rationing, no longer is water supply a major factor in either projects will proceed. It has brought a feeling of confidence and wellbeing to the town. It is without question the most important event to take place in the town’s long history.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Coal and Power

The history of the Sheerness generating plant started in the early 1970s when Alberta’s electric utilities were looking for new sources of power to serve the province’s rapidly growing load. By 1975, Alberta Power’s studies had established that the Hanna area would support two 375-megawatt generating units.

The lengthy approval process culminated in formal approval by the provincial cabinet in 1979, and construction on the $1 billion project began in the early 1980s. Meanwhile, Trans-Alta Utilities and Alberta Power had entered into an agreement to become c0-owners of the generating station. In January, 1986, the plant’s first unit went into operation, burning coal to produce power.

Early settlers in the Hanna area have known about the Horseshoe Canyon coal for more than 60 years, but until the Sheerness plant was built, very little coal was mined from the area. A few enterprising homesteaders opened surface veins with pick-axes to provide domestic fuel, and in 1912 a small mine was opened to serve the farmers in the area.

Sheerness is not the first plant to generate electricity in Hanna. In 1927, Union Power of Drumheller acquired a small generating plant and franchise in Hanna. Shortly afterwards, a transmission line was extended to Hanna and the old plant placed on standby duty.

Union power merged with Canadian utilities parent company of today’s Alberta Power – in 1935. Over the years, electricity has been brought into Hanna from the growing provincial grid. Today, Sheerness sends electricity out through that grid to customers across Alberta.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Pioneer Museum

Pioneer Village and Museum Grounds

Though always referred to as the Hanna Museum, it should be renamed Hanna Pioneer Village. From one building in 1966, the complex has grown to include 16 historical buildings, some modern structures house artifacts including the pioneer farm machinery display and several lesser structures.

The idea of a museum began with the late Ferguson James, indeed it was his dream and he made it happen. With his long residence here, his knowledge and love of the prairie and its people and his genial personality, success was practically assured. He gathered him a group of old-timers who put in thousands of hours of volunteer labor in those beginning years.

Beginning in 1964 at a meeting supported by many individuals and organizations, The Hanna and District Historical Society was formed, with the sole purpose of establishing a museum in Hanna. During 1966 and 1967, the main building, formerly a two-roomed school, was in place and renovated. A large number of items were on display.

Remarkable progress was made through the years. People from the whole area and the town came forward with artifacts, common to every aspect of prairie life.

Historical buildings acquired and placed on the museum grounds include a ranch house (1912), general store (1913), cottage hospital (1918), railroad station (1920), caboose and hand cars, powerhouse (1924), rural school (1920s), church (pre-1920s), bandstand (1920s), telephone office (1929), barn, bell tower, windmill, and a jail cell. Board sidewalks provide a touch of earlier days. And to include the time before white men came, a buffalo rubbing stone was brought in from the Dowling area. It weighed in at six tons and can be seen in front of the main building.

In 1980, a new department, the archives, was launched. Its purpose is to collect all the written and pictorial history of the area. It now contains hundreds of photos, official documents, records of organizations, war memorials local histories, local accounts and works of writers, and micro-film of all issues of The Hanna Herald from 1912 to the present.

The museum is open full time during the summer months, with staff to guide tours and by appointment at any other time. An attendant is always on hand.

Each year the Historical Society holds Pioneer Days on the May long weekend, two days of activities for young and old, including church service, royalty competition, breakfast, museum tours, bingo and sports.

The work of the historical society is an ongoing process. Through the years new materials have been constantly added, improvements to buildings and displays made.

Improvements to the rural school have been so extensive that it was used as a model for the rural school which is part of a travelling display which the Alberta Museums Association prepared and shows in various centres in Alberta.

Currently a machinery shed has been re-roofed and ready for a cement floor. Use of the archives for research increases yearly. The first antique automobile, a 1928 Pontiac will soon be on display. The grounds are well kept; every attempt is made to maintain the area as a showplace of which Hanna can be proud.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The Masonic Lodge

Main Street, 1920’s

On the second day of August, 1927 the Hanna Chapter of Royal Arch Masons was instituted and was constituted in 1928.

The Hanna Masonic Temple Association under the chairmanship of Dr. S.E. Argue was formed in 1953. This Association, through the efforts of its members raised enough money and donated enough labour to complete a new hall and it was officially opened on February 7, 1955.

The Hanna Masonic Temple Association was founder of the Showcase Series now being carried on by Hanna Allied Arts.

In 1979 they sponsored Paper Wheat, the first Showcase. Six shows were presented annually for two years, and this was then reduced to four. The repertoire consisted The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmom; Leona Boyd, classical guitarist; Laura Vinson and Red Wyng; Analynn Olson, harpist; LeBane and Kane and many others. Live theater presentations were Billy Bishop Goes to War; The Prairie Church of Buster Galloway and Talley’s Folley.

From the money raised THROUGH HMTA – Showcase, extensive renovations to the Temple Building were carried out. Donations were also given in support of the Hanna Curling Club; Historical Society; Cubs and Scouts; and JOBS Daughters. Several special shows were sponsored at the various schools in Hanna, amongst them the opera Hansel and Gretel; LeBane and Kane; and Magic and Ventriloquist Shows.

Hanna Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Royal Arch Masons and the Order of the Eastern Star have been key fraternal and benevolent organizations in Hanna for over seventy five years. The members have played a very important role in the growth of the town.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

B.P.O. and the Royal Purple

Alma Block, replaced by Hanna Discount Foods

The Order of the Royal Purple was accepted as the auxiliary of the B.P.O. Elks in 1914. The first Lodge was formed and from this group of ladies the national governing body, the Supreme Lodge of Canada was formed. They held their first meeting in Vancouver in June, 1915. Alice Morrow was the first Supreme Honored Royal Lady of this fraternal organization. We now have 375 lodges in Canada with over 17,000 members.

The Hanna Lodge #258 was instituted into District 13 on February 8, 1961.

Past Honored Lady Onagh Hoeght of Calgary initiated the charter members assisted by District Deputy Pearl Bell and a drill team from Coronation and Drumheller. After initiation the first slate of officers were installed. Honored Royal Lady, Lillian French; Associated Honored Royal Lady, Betty Herold; Loyal Lady, Marlene Zeamer; Lecturing Lady, Violet Ulmer; Secretary, Martha Robinson; Treasurer, Charlotte Dembicki; Third year trustee, Marjorie Lunde; Second year trustee, Agnes Cook; Historian, Anne Cherkas; Chaplin; Cora Oliver, Conductress, Vivian Maynes; Inner Guard, Marilyn Thompson; Outer Guard, Tilly Schultz; and Pianist, Mary Meehan.

Other charter members initiated were Laura Pfaff, Cora Ironside, Carol Stubbs, Lydia Stensland, Sarah Ryckman, Kathleen Grover, Anna Palamarchuk, Thelma Maetche, Anne Chomyn, Gladys Nessman, and Frances Cherkas.

The Order of the Royal Purple elect a new slate of officers each year.

The Honored Royal Ladies were as follows, starting with 1961: Lillian French, Betty Herold, Margaret Holmes, Grace Taylor, Ann Chomyn, Cora Ironside, Tillie Faupel, Gerry Campbell, Maxine Nill, Doris Sinclair, Joyce Quaschnick, Joan Mohl, Phyll Ellis, Betty Sulz, Frances Anderson, Edna Annas, Shirley Robertson, Leila Gall, Mable Hansen, Donna Vossler, Gail Liddicoat, Rosanna Hanlon, Mae Wiens, Lois Middleditch, Laura Williams, Eileen Standing.

The National objective to raise money for the Elks Purple is helped each year by a tag day held the first Friday of May by the Hanna Ladies. During the year money is raised for this worthwhile fund through donations by members and friends.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Rod & Gun Club
The Hanna Rod and Gun Club is an Alberta Fish and Game Association affiliate. This Club was instituted approximately 50 years ago by local Sportsman. Over the years it has had three name changes. Firstly, it was the Hanna Fish and Game Club, then the Hanna and District Gun Club, and last but not least it was re-organized to incorporate the hunters and fisherman. Now it is known by the name Hanna Rod and Gun Club.

From its conception where a few dedicated people kept the club going membership reached 122 members in 1986. The main objective of the club is to keep updated on the hunting and fishing regulations and try to make them fair for all. Bring better fishing and hunting into the area, and better the community by providing a safer community. The club teaches the Hunter training program if required.

The latest project of the club was to build a safe rifle and handgun range for the Hanna District. Through the grants and donations of labour, equipment, and material the club has completed a 250 metre range.

One of the major fund raisers is the annual gun, hobby and antique show that is held the third weekend of July each year. This show has 160 tables and brings displays and items for sale from all over western Canada. This show attracts people from near and far to buy, sell and trade.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Make Your Own Fun

Court House, built in 1939

In the early days Hanna residents made their own fun. But truly it was a wonderful time to live in a small town like Hanna where most of the people were young and delighted in fun and games.

The summer leisure time was spent outdoors. There was the ever popular baseball, soccer, tennis, walks in the country, band concerts or taking your best girl for a buggy ride on Sunday afternoon.

“Bum” Lake was a couple of miles west of town. Hanna officially named it “Hanalta Lake” but to heck with such niceties. Bum Lake it remained.

Anyway it was a popular spot on Sunday afternoons. Groups of friends and neighbors gathered there to enjoy the sun and fresh air, visiting and picnicking. Sizeable rafts appeared and it was pleasant to float on the quiet water or even eat lunch while on the water.

Younger people relished the opportunity for an invigorating afternoon of swimming.
Two stories have come down to us from that era; one that the band would mount a raft and play; the other that there was an island in the lake from which they delivered a concert.

In the late 1950’s Fox Lake development was in full swing as Luther Faupel and Lyle Grover supplied the construction equipment for developing the recreational park a mile and a half west of Hanna. In July, 1957, the Hanna Boat Club with cooperation of town council and PFRA improved the grounds by building a better wharf, a cooking shelter, and picnic tables.

August 18, 1957 the Hanna Boat Club held the First Regatta. There were various water sports played including water skiing and surf boat riding. A picnic and other activities with a fireworks display were held later in the evening. Attendance for the day reached 815 people.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Fox Lake Association

In 1962, the Fox Lake Association was formed and around this time the lake went dry and a crop of oats was planted in it.

Later the lake

Tracy the Jeweler and Bruce Wallen’s Men’s Store

filled and in 1981, the Minister of Recreation and Parks, Hon. Peter Trynchy, designated Hanna as the recipient of a $100,000 grant plus a $20,000 per year maintenance subsidy for the lake development. Note: the grant was reduced to $8,000 in 1995. The announcement seemed sudden but resulted from a brief presented by the Chamber of Commerce to the Annual Cabinet Tour in the early spring. A plan for developing Fox Lake was devised by Ross Rawlusyk and Mike Gaul of the Palliser Regional Planning Commission after having been approached by a citizen’s group. The town and the Fox Lake Committee saw the initial program commence and some members of this group were: Vance Little, Garth Hanlon, Ross Rawlusyk, G.R. McCrea, C.T. Grover, and Ed Greenslade. The program provided a definite and ongoing plan for the Fox Lake development, with regard to the realignment of the area in parking space, swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking, and washing facilities. The lake also became more stabilized by the supplies from the power development at Sheerness rather than depending solely on natural run off water. Since the town’s water supply no longer depends on this source of water, water level is expected to remain adequate for continued use as a water spot resort.

On July 26, 1984 Fox Lake Park officially opened and Hon. Peter Trynchy and Henery Kroeger, MLA attended the ceremonies.

Fox Lake park has the following facilities available: 2 camp kitchens, fire rings, camping stalls, washrooms and changing areas, developed beach area, day use area with picnic tables, boat launch.

New additions include a sewer dumping station, a ball diamond, and the Hanna Elks are sponsored the development of horseshoe pits.

The Hanna Playground was built and later supervised by the local Kinette Club in 1958. The swings, rides etc. were donated by the Kinsmen.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Part V

Construction Boom

In the late 1970s construction work was high in Hanna and this brought an influx of people to Hanna. Due to limited accommodation, the museum allowed people to park trailers on some open land behind the museum. The services provided were few. In 1983 – 84 the trailer park was upgraded as a joint project between the Hanna Historical Society and the Town of Hanna. The trailer park now is full serviced with water, sewer and power facilities.

As a result of the new subdivision, a new park called Winkler Park was built in 1984 by the Nova Corp, as a work project.

Recently the East Goose Park was upgraded as the town installed a new irrigation system, walkways, fenced the area and planted trees.

Plans have also been discussed for making the CNR Dam into a recreational area.

Consequently one can see that as the town of Hanna progresses so too its recreational facilities advance. Hanna has the following recreational facilities and programs: golf, curling, figure skating, baseball, hockey, swimming, soccer, gymnastics and tennis. If you have any questions about the facilities you can find the town recreational department in the Community Services area of the town office.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Sports of All Sports

The first mention of a skating rink was April 7th, 1919 on Block 24, lots 17, and 18. Also, in 1919 there was a covered curling rink on Center Street a block south of the old Courthouse block. The Curling Club was organized in 1912-13 and on February 14, 1914 they held the first annual Bonspiel. Hockey games were also being held in 1912 – 13.

For many years the town rink was located on the site now occupied by the town office parking lot.

The curling rink was then moved in 1922-23 to the corner of 4 Avenue, and 1st. West, north of the National Hotel. Adjoining this curling rink was an open air skating rink on the south side. A formalized hockey club formed about this time.

Then in May of 1948, a proposed layout for the “Seven Acre Park” was presented which included a swimming pool, curling rink, wading pool, bath house, hockey and skating arena, picnic grounds, tennis courts, and a playground. The location for the park was on third avenue and fifth avenue on third street west. Immediately the Hanna curling Club made plans for building the new rink.

On August 5, 1948 the leveling of the ground for the five sheet curling rink and arena completed and the space for the structure staked off by members of the curling club. December 20, 1952, the rink officially opened called “Children’s Opening Day” staged by rink manager, Ken Tory. Impromptu races were held on the rink. Two special awards given were for the youngest skater presented to Harry Taylor of Hanna and for the furthest away visitors to the arena presented to Gerald Davey of Craigmyle having traveled 23 miles.

On July of 1958 the “Seven Acre Park” later called the Civic Center was equipped with artificial ice.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Hockey Conquests
On April 2, 1959 the first ever Provincial Title (Agnew Trophy) was won against Edmonton and brought to Hanna by the Hanna Hornets Hockey Club. The club formed in 1952 – 53 and due to the lack of an organized Hanna hockey league the team played outside teams.

In 1980 the present curling rink and arena opened. This new complex is located south-west of the old curling rink. The old curling rink is now used for storage and for holding livestock during the Fall Fair and Rodeo. Presently Hanna has 10 organized adult hockey teams and a minor hockey league. The curling club has grown and is steadily using the new curling rink in season.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Swimming Pool
The first Hanna swimming pool opened in July of 1950 and was nestled alongside the curling rink on 3 St. and 5 Ave. West. The caretaker, M.J.G. McGowan and lifeguards, were contracted. Irene Devereaux, the first lifeguard, who still resides in Hanna recalls the beginning of the pool. The pool was open weekdays every afternoon, evening, and from 2 – 5 PM Sundays.

In the mid – 50s about 1956 – 57 the Hanna Seals Swim Club was formed and still functions today.

On August 7, 1972 the existing pool located on the corner of 3 St. and 3 Ave. West officially opened. At this time the diving tank was installed beside the swimming pool.

New improvements and updated equipment have been made to the pool and the Kinsmen sponsored the nearby wading pool to be installed for the younger enthusiasts.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Local Sports
Besides the other sport activities mentioned above there was a Lacrosse Club organized in June of 1913. Dr. Grant was president, J.A. McClure, vice president, P.C. Belcher, secretary, J. McLean trainer. This club no longer exists. Also, in June of 1913, the Hanna Tigers Football Team was organized and the membership included Edgar Hunt, Wm. English, J.H. Murdock, T. Hunt, J. Donald, Wm. Towns, F. Dasson, A. Lee, Bert Watson, G. Stephens, E. Edwards, F. Fielding, Wm. Goldie, M.S. Macleod, T. Defries, W. Glover, F.C. Johnston, R.S. Penny, J.T. Ryan, and Chas Eade. This club no longer exists either. Also in 1913, Ed Sharpe, owner of the pool hall installed 2 bowling lanes.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The Old Ball Game
A leading sport in the Hanna Community is baseball which began with the first game played formally on Victoria Day, May, 1913. A baseball club was organized and a diamond built for the accasion. Every rural community had an organized baseball team and the leagues competed all summer. The Hanna Nine, then played in the now east industrial area.

In 1950 another ball diamond was secured through the cooperation of the town council. The diamond had an updated playing field, more room for parking cars, and another bleacher.

In 1951 a six team fastball league was running in Hanna and the older was updated.

In July 1958 a baseball game could be seen playing every Sunday and the four team Little League began operation.

In Hanna at present there are 6 diamonds; 2 located on the museum grounds and one behind the J.C. Charyk High School and three North of Fox Lake Trail at the Tri-Plex. With Hanna’s growth, one can see the town recreation developing and taking shape. Recreation is now organized and planned. A brief survey of Hanna’s recreational facilities past to present will enable one to see the progress made.

Text courtesy of the Hanna Herald

The Golf Club
Golf in Hanna began by local enthusiasts banding together to form a club in about May of 1921. The membership ran $10.00 for gentlemen, $5.00 for ladies and the club boasted a membership of 30 men and 10 ladies. The club secured the rights to the grounds on the quarter section lying immediately north of the town and a nine hole, 27 – 2800 yd. course was roughly laid out. Helping the club design and supervise the building of the course was golf professional, Mr. Jackson Walton, from Calgary. By roughly May 22, 1921 most of the work was finished on the course and the greens were being finished. The greens took longer because the sod had to be removed and a covering of oil-soaked sand put on all nine greens unlike the present grass greens. At this time there was no clubhouse built and a tool shed 6′ x 8′ used.

In 1983 the existing course was rebuilt by professional golf architects and is probably one of the best rural 9 hole layouts in Alberta. The new design makes maximum use of existing terrain and includes new greens, sand traps and ponds. It measures 3,298 yds. from the championship tees. The Golf Club retains a current membership of almost 300 members. Each season more district people become involved in golf and Hanna is becoming known along Highway 9 as a good place to stop for a game of golf.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The Tennis Club

The tennis club was one of the earliest sport clubs to be formed in Hanna. It began when interested players formed the club in July of 1913 with a tournament against Coronation. New courts were opened during the week of June 3, 1920. The courts were located north of a ball diamond on the north side of Second Avenue. Mr. H.C. Sim who leased the land allowed the club to build and fence a portion of his land for courts. There were three cinder courts built for the club members use. The club anticipated a successful season projecting a membership list of fifty or more due to its great display of enthusiasm in Hanna. However, no records found could validate their projection.

The present tennis courts are located beside the golf course. There are two asphalt courts available for the general public’s use.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Part VI

Cultural Life

Entertainment in Hanna has gone through several phases. A brief look at the town’s past and present cultural organizations provides a glimpse of progress in the arts.

In 1912 Hanna’s First Orchestra was organized and sponsored by the Metropolitan Church. Its first appearance was during the Christmas Concert and program in the Empire Theatre. The orchestra members were: Neil Struthers, George Stephens, Frank Harris, Fred Herbert, Charles Stephens, and Cam Struthers. Also, during the winter of 1912 – 13 the Brotherhood of the American Yeoman put on a series of concerts and literary programs.

In July of 1913 the Glee Club formed but disbanded May 12, 1916 because most of the members were in the armed forces and their leader, Dr. Honey was in Gallipoli. Also, in July, 1913 the Brass Band or Hanna Citizen’s Band was organized. A benefit concert was held August 21, 1913 to raise money for their instruments. The town council supported the Band and in 1914 paid a bandmaster. Then in 1915 council paid the band’s debt of $50.00 which paid for their instruments, uniforms, and music. The conditions made by the band for receiving the town assistance was to hold a free band concert once a week during the summer months. Known members of the Band were: Louis Hasney, bandmaster, Chas Eade, Chas Backstrom, Geo Horner, Jas Hazelwood, W. Robertson, Chas Dickerson, Mr. G. Jamieson, Wm. Parkin, Bruce Wallen, H. Federick, Mr. Wallace, Tom Eade. The officers were A.M. Gibb, president; Chas Eade, secretary; C.F. Whitford, treasure; J. Wallace, librarian. Another club formed in 1913 during the middle of August was Hanna’s Dramatic Club.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The Continuing Drama
During the 30s the Hanna Dramatic Society was performing and many plays were sponsored by local church ladies groups like “What Happened To Jones” sponsored by the Anglican Ladies Guild or “Miss Cherry Blossom” held in 1937 sponsored by the United Ladies Aid.

In 1952 the Friendship Club was organized and an operation holding dances and socials in the community.

In the 1960s the Hanna Players were in full swing and were very popular. The group first formed about 1958 – 59 when a group of interested people met to organize the Players. They met in the former United Church now the Community Services Building and held their performances in the Jr. High School. The group usually put on a major production per year and did some plays in Oyen and Drumheller. The cast varied depending on the production being put on but the group always had a membership of at least 25 or more. Earlier the group put on Gilbert and Sullivan productions, such as, “Pirates of Penzance”,”The Mikado”, “H.M.S. Pinnafore”, and “Gondoliers”. The first director was a British import who taught in Hanna, Ralph Milner. Later directors were Dick West, and Frank Lee. John Morell also directed the plays, “Oklahoma” and “Man of LaMancha”, put on by the group.

Mr. Morell was teaching in Hanna and since has become well-known as a director and playwright. The final production, “Sound of Music” was performed in 1974 as the group lost key members

As mentioned previously by the later 70s the Hanna Players were no longer active and the Masonic Temple Association was formed in 1979 due to concern for the lack of cultural organization in Hanna. This association was comprised of Joe and Marj Blair, Andy and Marj Duff, and Bill and Betty Cross. The association attended a program called “Showcase” in Edmonton which is designed to promote young Canadian artists. The association adopted a similar program of “Showcase,” bringing cultural programming to Hanna in conjunction with Alberta culture. “Showcase” provided an incentive to support young Alberta and other Canadian artists allowing them opportunity to perform and be known to the public without playing the bar circuit. There were usually 3 or 4 productions put on per year including vocalists, instrumentalists, band, dancers, and several plays. The first production, the play “Paper Wheat”, was put on June 1979 by the 25th St. Playhouse Theater from Saskatoon. The play depicted 1930s farm life and was received greatly by Hanna audiences.

Liona Boyd played in Hanna the year she only did one concert in Southern Alberta. Some other productions put on were; Lauren Vincent and her band, Telix Cossack, some orchestras from Edmonton and Calgary, and a magician. Showcase ran from 1979 until the spring of 1985 due to the associations other commitments.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The Allied Arts
This organization just became an association May of 1985. The origin of Allied Arts stemmed from some interested people aspiring to develop Hanna’s entertainment sector. They found a perfect place to begin in the original courthouse. After Allied Arts became organized and registered as a Society it put a booth in the Hanna Fall Fair winning first prize in the organization category. In August the association was visited by Alberta Culture representatives, Art Losey and Harold Corchene. The association toured La Belle Mansion in Pincher Creek and in October organized a painting club. In November, 85 representatives from Allied Arts met the Deputy Minister of Culture to sign the lease for the old Courthouse. In September 1985, they received a donation of $8,500.00 from the Sloane Estate and in January, 1986 Bob Bellis donated some photography equipment and the association purchased ten drawing tables from Rangeland School Division. Also, in January 1986, the association met the Further Education Council to talk about workshops done in 85 – 86 were: basic drawing, mukluk making, wheat weaving, Christmas ornaments, two painting workshops and a children’s art workshop. In April, 1986 the CRC grant of $5,000 was approved and the Culture Minister came to visit Hanna. Another donation of $1,800.00 from the town engineers was also given in April, 86. The Allied Arts Association feels that “Showcase” is an important project because it not only will be educational in allowing participants to broaden their knowledge, but will also enhance Hanna’s entertainment, life, and value. Some groups they hope to bring in are Children’s Theater Groups, Big Band, Opera, etc.

Another organization which has and will enhance Hanna’s night life is Stage Hanna. Stage Hanna originated in 1982 – 83 when a group of interested persons gathered for a meeting. In 1982 the group solidified and the theater was formed. The play first performed was “George Washington Slept Here”. The group usually puts on 2 shows per year generally in Spring and Fall and the Junior High auditorium hails is headquarters. Dinner theaters were at the Legion Hall. In 1983 the group went on the road to the Hand Hills to do the play, “The Family Man”. In December 1984 they held a musical called “Mr. Scrooge” and the group would very much like into the future to do another musical. In the fall of 1985 the group was involved in conjunction with the Hanna Chamber of Commerce in putting on the dinner theater during the First Annual Dust Bowl Days. Freda Geuder and the company wrote the script, produced, and played “Dust Bowl Days”. A great and exciting achievement for the group. Theater and the arts are well established in Hanna and the many participants and supporters of the cultural life look forward to a productive future.

By the turn of the century man had conquered the air, he could fly. It all happened far from the prairies, where most people had never seen an aeroplane. Imagine the wonder of children, many of whom had never even ridden in a car, to see a machine in the sky.

Aeronautics made great strides forward during W.W.I. when planes designed and pilots were trained to fight a war from the air.

Two local boys, Clyde Holbrook and Les MacLeod, who survived the war, went into flying on their return. They acquired a plane and engaged in barn storming. They flew to surrounding places, put on an air show, stunts like loops, diving, spins, swaying from a rope, and other stunts. This would draw a crowd. Then passengers would be taken up from a small charge.

Pilots in various areas were engaged in the same business. It was known as the “Dollar-a-minute days” a flock of great excitement that lasted about three years.

Said Norine Code: “Of all my schoolday memories, the most exciting and unforgettable was of the arrival of the first aeroplane in Hanna. Two intrepid young men of town – Clyde Holbrook and Les McLeod purchased a war surplus aircraft and flew it home from Saskatoon. On that never-to-be forgotten day, I was a pupil in Grade 5 in the old frame school house: the time, if my memory has not failed me, would be during a sunny afternoon in May or early June, 1920.

When the drone of the plane’s engine was finally heard, the attention of every pupil was focused on the east windows; it was then that Teacher decided we might just as well be outdoors. The plane circled town and made for the landing field, which was located on the south bank of the C.N.R. reservoir, at the southeast corner of town. A small hangar was located in the field adjoining the south road.

That summer we watched our daring flyers with bated breath as they performed so many evenings in the skies over Hanna. I believe that it was Clyde Holbrook who excelled in aerial acrobatics. The skill he displayed, as he maneuvered his craft through loops, dives and sideslips was incredible. One of the most spectacular feats of his aerial repertoire was the spin. He would climb to perhaps 12,000 feet or more, go into a spin and hurtle downward with ever increasing speed. No matter how often this stunt was performed, the spectators always wondered if Clyde would pull out of his spin in time to avert a crash.

As might have been expected with the arrival of our very own airplane; the boys in town were soon busily engaged in building models. Crude as they may have been, the little six inch propellers at least were superb and would spin like fury in the slightest breeze.”

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Anglican Church
One of the oldest congregations in the community was the Anglican, and the church was among the first of Hanna’s early structures.

Although regular church services began in the town in 1914, services had been held in the outlying areas, notably Netherby, since 1910, firstly by the Rev. M.W. Holdon from Castor, and later by the Rev. H.E. Scallon from his Epiphany Mission at Byemoor.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Western Canada Fund had financed a venture known as the Railway Mission based at Regina, and headed by the Rev. the Hon. E.R. Lindsay, brother of the Earl of Crawford. Priests were stationed at various centres and the Goose Lake Line was served by the Rev. R.E. Young from his base at Youngstown. Representation was made from Hanna for the town to be included in the itinerary, and on Sunday, May 10, 1914, the first Anglican services were held in the town. Holy Communion at 8 a.m., and Matins at 11 a.m. were both held in the School House, while Evensong was held in the Theater, with a congregation of 45. The following week a Sunday School was started in the Herald Hall.

A mission House was obtained and all services from the end of April were then held there until the building of All Saint’s Church towards the end of the year.

The church was opened for services on Advent Sunday, November 29, 1914, and a Service of Dedication held the following Friday evening, December 4, with Cyprian, Bishop of Calgary officiating.

By the summer of 1916, the congregation of Hanna was asking the Bishop for a clergyman of its own, and in October was rewarded by the appointment of the Rev. James Williams as Priest in Charge. Unfortunately, owing to domestic troubles, Rev. Williams turned to England in July 1917, bringing a halt to services in Hanna until March 1919, with the exception of four special services (including the Peace Thanksgiving) conducted by the Rev. M. Beardshaw.

The Epiphany Mission, which had been organized in 1913 by the Rev. H.E. Scallon, was based at Byemoor, and from March 1919 took Hanna under its wing. Regular services were held by Mr. (late Rev.) H.L. Nobbs, Lay Reader, with Rev. Scallon coming monthly to celebrate Holy Communion. The Rev. Scallon, with his thick “navy” beard, was a familiar sight around the country side, either riding his horse, or driving his ponies and buggy. He was tremendously devoted to his duty and let no weather stop him if it was humanly possible for him to hold a service that had been arranged. It is told of him arriving to take one service, after driving through cold blizzard-like conditions, with so much ice in his beard that it had not all melted even at the end of the service. There may still be some people around who remember him as he “looked after” his flock in Hanna, where he was based permanently from January 1924 until May 1928. He made a flying visit to the district from England in the fall of 1935 for the dedication of the Mission House at Byemoor as the Church of St. Paul.

Space is far too short to cover the history of the Church fully. The Anglican parish continues to thrive serving the community in Hanna and district.

During this long service to the community the following outside areas have been the recipients of services by the Rectors based in Hanna: Dowling Lake, Delia, Craigmyle, Dundee, Netherby, Richdale, Lonebutte, Sheerness, Pollockville, Sunnynook, Majestic, Endiang and Cessford.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The United Church

Due to lack of missionaries and other Protestant churches in Hanna during the pioneer days, the First Presbyterian Church was always a “United Church”. In later years there was no conflict over the vote when it came time to join the mother churches in union.

The first service held on the townsite of Hanna was held in the unfinished building to be used for the Brown Pool Hall. The missionary was a young Irishman by the name of Thomas Warwick, who had come to the district in the spring of 1910 as a homesteader.

The service was held during July or the very early part of August 1912. The unfinished building had no roof nor were there doors or windows. The weather was very warm and the mosquitoes innumerable. A small smudge was built and the small gathering proceeded with their worship.

A short time later, the Ladies’ Aid was organized and regular meetings were held. The first meeting was held at the home of Mrs. W.C. Stirling.

The first copy of the Hanna Herald, printed on Christmas Eve 1912 announced church services under Rev. J.J. Samuels as pastor. He was the first ordained minister to the Church and preached his farewell sermon on May 25, 1913, after which he returned to Toronto. The Stirling Hall (Herald Hall) was used for church services during those early years.

The first meeting of the Ladies’ Aid reported by The Hanna Herald was on February 5, 1913 and was held at the home of Mrs. John Backstrom. However others had been held during 1912.

On January 19, 1913 the first congregational meeting of the Presbyterians and Methodists was held in the Herald Hall. Rev. J.J. Samuels in the chair; Mr. O.C. Smith, Secretary pro tem. Mention was made that a “board of managers had laid the foundation for a new church edifice”. It was located at the corner of 4th Avenue and 2nd Street East. The modern church is now located on North Government Road across from the hospital.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

St. George's Parish
Until the year 1913 the diocese of St. Albert comprised the whole Province of Alberta. In the summer of that year, the district was divided, the southern partion comprising the diocese of Calgary, Edmonton being made an archdiocese. The boundary was fixed as the line between the 30th and 31st townships, commonly known as the correction or pole line. Up until this time, the exiled priests of Tenchebray (Peres de St. Marie) had charged of the vast territory north of the Red Deer River. When the division was made, Hanna was still in the diocese of Edmonton, the southern boundary being just two miles south. Hanna is therefore the most southern parish in the archdiocese of Edmonton.

It was in the year of 1910 that a priest first set foot in what is now the parish of Hanna. A certain Mrs. Kiernan, living near what is now Rose Lynn, some thirty miles south of Hanna, was taken violently ill. Rev. Fr. LeConte, PSM of Castor, fifty miles north, was called. On the thirty-first day of May 1910 Father LeConte set forth for the south. It was a typical Alberta summer day. On the first day he covered about thirty miles and arrived at the farm of Mr. Stephen Wagner, some four miles south of what is now Garden Plains, the northern boundary of what is now the parish of Hanna. This was the first time this family had seen a priest since their arrival in the West from Prince Edward Island. The next morning the Reverend Father said the first Mass, as far as records show, in the present parish of Hanna. Assisting at the Mass were the Wagner family and a family by the name of McCafferty who lived in the parish of Castor but whose farm, at that time, was about a mile west of that of Mr. Wagner. Father LeConte also baptized Harold McCafferty, this being, of course, the first baptism in this parish.

The next day, June 1st, the weather suddenly changed. A terrible blizzard arose. Undaunted however, the priest continued on his way. After an almost impossible journey, the good father arrived at his destination about five o’clock in the afternoon. Here he was held up for three days on account of the storm.

Toward the end of October he made a second trip to this part of the country. A good congregation awaited him.

About this time the Post Office of Copeville was founded. More Catholic families were moving into the area. A delegation called on Father LeConte at Castor and asked for the visit of a priest. In the spring of 1911 this devout missionary set forth on a round of the Villages on what is now the Goose Lake Line of the C.N.R. between Calgary and Saskatoon. This journey occupied six weeks and was repeated in the fall. In 1912 Father LeConte and Father Renaut made several visits to these centres. The divisional point of the new C.N.R. line became known as Hanna. Due to the fact that it became a railway terminal, it increased in population very quickly and soon out stripped other towns along the line. The first Catholic families to locate were the three LeBlanc brothers; a certain J. McDonald and a family of Leferte. New Catholic families were now coming in rapidly. The Black Brothers opened a restaurant; William English, a Belgian of Irish descent, became manager of the Union Bank.

On the first Sunday of November 1912, Father LeConte celebrated the first Mass in the town limits of Hanna in the Harness Shop of J.E. Jones on the north east corner of second avenue and second street west. Only twelve persons were present. The second Mass was celebrated the following April in the Herald Hall. Thirty five Catholics were present. Shortly after this the Mass became a monthly institution being celebrated either in the Herald Hall or at the home of Mr. De Jurkowski, an architect. It was this man who started the social gatherings of the Catholics of the town, which did much to preserve the faith. In the meantime the town was growing at a remarkable rate.

Plans were now beginning to be made for the building of a church. The first sod was turned in the Autumn of the year 1915. Before winter set in the basement was dug. In the following spring the work proceeded under the direction of Henry LeBlanc. On the first Sunday of June 1916, Mass was said for the first time in the new church. It possessed a bell donated by Mr. Brunner and an organ.

On the 29th of June in the year 1917, His Grace Archbishop Legal made his first visit and blessed the church under the title of St. George. On this occasion twenty-five children received the sacrament of Confirmation.

The next great event in the parish of Hanna was its formal canonical erection into a parish. On the 24th day of July in the year 1921, the first parish priest in the person of Rev. A. Darvell, an ex-Franciscan from England, arrived in the parish. He came by car from Castor, being met on the way by a number of the parishioners. There was no rectory and the good Father stayed at the homes of some of the parishioners until July 1st when he moved into a rented house owned by Mrs. Buchanan.

On the 2nd of July Archbishop O’Leary made his first visit to Hanna and was given a civic reception, a dinner being held at the National Hotel.

Undoubtedly a major event in the life of the parish was the coming of the Sister of Charity of the Immaculate Conception from St. John, New Brunswick to establish a foundation at Hanna. So in August 1946, the first three sister to come were Sister Mary Evangelista Superior; Sister Lucia Marie and Sister Mary Jean Patrick. The convent not being ready, they took up their abode in the rectory. July 2, 1947, the official opening of the convent took place, receiving the name of “Our Lady of Perpetual Help”.

On September 1947, the Sisters opened a Commercial school with five pupils in attendance. The sisters also taught Music besides their Catechetical work, both at Hanna and the Missions. The school closed in the late 1960’s.

On April 27, 1954 Father Harnett received permission from the Archbishop to build a church and was authorized to raise money for that purpose. Preparations were made in 1954 and in 1955 the actual construction took place.

The first week in July, on Sunday, the first sod was turned for the erection of the new church by Father Harnett. On July 12th, the old church was moved to Delia. The new church was blessed by His Grace Archbishop McDonald.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Bethel Evangelical Church
The beginning of the church is dated back to July 1911 when Superintendent of the Conference Rev. L.H. Wagner visited the area as he heard the good news that the railroad was going to be built from Kindersley, Saskatchewan to Calgary.

On August 7, 1912 pioneer minister Rev. C.S. Finkbeiner who was stationed at Didsbury in 1908, rode on horseback to see the new town site of Hanna. He found 2 shacks, a pool hall and one tent which was used as a restaurant. He immediately made arrangements to hold a service the next Sunday, in the pool hall which didn’t have a roof yet. There were 12 men and one lady besides his wife and daughter who attended.

Upon advise of the Superintendent lots were purchased and a temporary church was erected. Soon this little church was too small as the attendance grew. By 1914 a church basement was completed but soon the news flashed that England and Germany had declared war. This had a drastic effect on the church work. The next spring walls and a roof and the interior of the church were finished, but this church never flourished and the congregation dissolved and the property was sold.

Rev. C.S. Finkbeiner received a call to come to the pioneer area, 20 miles north east of Hanna to hold services in the homes. He traveled from Didsbury to Castor via train and then he was met by Mr. Wm. Pahl, who took him by horse and wagon 50 miles to his home north of Richdale. The first Sunday this minister’s heart was blessed to see people coming to the service with horses and wagons from every direction. They were hungry for the Word of God. Some of these pioneers had been members of the Evangelical Church in the Dakotas, U.S.A.

In 1911 C.S. Finkbeiner was stationed at his new mission. He also took up homesteading. In 1916 a church had been built and was dedicated Spondin Salem Church, often referred to as “The Little White Church by the side of the Road”, serving as a place of worship for many years. After 46 years the little church became inadequate. The Spondin Congregation were transferred and officially welcomed to be a part of the Hanna Bethel Church on May 1962.

During the years 1923-1945 the Hanna Congregation were worshipping in a little white church too. Then a second church 1945 – 1957. This church was located on the corner of 6th Avenue and Centre Street where the present church is now.

During the ministry of Rev. G.F. Weurfel there was need for a larger church. The ground breaking ceremony was on July 23, 1956. The people had a vision and a willingness to work. Thousands of hours of labour and thousands of hours of equipment use were donated. Men and women worked side by side as this large church took form. Many of the members were farmers and hired help at home while they worked on their church building. God blessed their efforts as on May 25, 1958 a lovely white church with green trim was dedicated to the Glory of God and His Word.

A good number of young people of this church have gone into full time Christian service, and many others have established Christian homes and are serving the Lord where ever they live. Hanna Bethel Church stands as a witness of Gods Love.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Alliance Church

What was Hanna like in 1937? The majority of the sidewalks were wooden, the streets unpaved and rough. The homes were heated by coal, a heater in the living room, the kitchen by a cook stove. Water was delivered to many homes by horses and cart, later by truck, so much per pail. Plumbing, for instance, was only in the houses of the better-off people. The “wee house” in the corner of the back yard was more prevalent. Many of the homes needed painting but times were hard and there was no money for home improvements. Yes, our town was quite different from the Hanna of the 1980’s! Relief or Welfare, as we now call it, was the lot of many families. Jobs were scarce and the rule of life was, “make do, make over or do without.” Many needy people received apples, fish and cheese that were shipped in from British Columbia and Ontario by rail.

These were extremely dry years and the farmers, also, were eking out a mere existence. In the Hanna Herald during 1937 there were two very severe dust storms reported. At the end of May, telephone and electric lines and small buildings were blown down and the town was strewn with debris. The “worst storm ever,” was the general conclusion.

It is interesting to note the prices of food and clothing in those days! Again, the Hanna Herald is our source of information. Grade “A” large eggs were retailing at 12 cents a dozen, peaches by the box at Chadbourn’s store were $1.50. Carol’s Coffee Shop would serve you a hot dog and a cup of coffee for 10 cents and a Sunday chicken dinner for 50 cents! Men’s suits ranged in price from $11.95 – $21.00, and ladies summer hats were on sale at $1.00. You could buy your boy a pair of shoes for $2.50 – $2.95 per pair. A brand new Chevrolet two-passenger Business Coupe retailed for $745.00! In 1938, Mrs. Crego of Spondin had a six-roomed house for sale with a new furnace for $200.00, cash. We had passenger trains in and out of Hanna in those days and you could travel to Calgary, return from Hanna for $3.45.

Yes, these were depression days but there was a bright side to the dark clouds! Neighborliness was a way of life. People cared about one another and shared what they had, be it ever so little. The churches were well attended, both morning and evening services and many were turning to the Lord. The gospel was preached over the radio and people found Christ through the “Heaven and Home Hour”, “Sunrise Gospel Hour”, and through broadcasts from Prairie Bible Institute, to mention just three. Rev. Oscar Lowry was on the air from Calgary for some time and many still talk of how the opened their hearts to the Lord Jesus through his ministry. Faith in God grew in people’s hearts as they trusted Him for the supply of daily needs and He answered prayer. We were cast on God and He honored our faith.

Hanna Alliance Church celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1987, July 31, August 1 and 2 with a weekend of events and services.

In January 1937 our church began humbly in a rented building, the “White School”. It was located close to the present Primary School.

The first pastor was Mr. Clifford Carter, who was also a busy layman. He was employed for many years by Odell’s Limited.

Later, as the schoolhouse was needed for pupils, the church group, known as Calvary Tabernacle, moved to the Alma Block on Second Avenue, West.

In 1941, the little group decided to join with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and, as Mr. Carter had resigned, Mr. Gordon Ferguson became the first Alliance pastor.

The Bambrick building at the corner of Third Avenue, East and Center Street was for sale, so the church purchased it and moved in. Many renovations were made as the finances came in. The church was growing rapidly, especially the Sunday School and youth group.

During the years 1944 – 46 many major projects took place. The building was raised and Mr. Otto Pfahl, with horses and slip dug a hole for the basement. Many other men helped with this back breaking job, digging dirt out by hand and then pouring cement for the walls. Having the basement provided the church with much needed Sunday School rooms and a fellowship room. Living quarters for the early pastors was at the rear of the Tabernacle. They were really cramped for space!

The congregation grew under the ministries of William Rose, John Harder, Norman Dreger, Harold Jost, John Klassen and Roy David. During Mr. Klassen’s and Mr. David’s years here we had the largest Sunday School in our history. How we packed them all in that little building is a great mystery! Then, the CN cut down drastically on their operation in Hanna and we lost several families who had to move away.

In 1962 we purchased the old United Church building and found it much more spacious and convenient. After Dr. David left Howard Woodruff, Graeme Crouch, Percy Barley and Jack Allinson served as our ministers in this building.

As the years went by we realized that extensive renovations were necessary on the old building so after prayer and seeking God’s will in the matter it was decided to build a new sanctuary. Lots were purchased on Second Avenue West and on June 10th, 1973, our present attractive and functional church was dedicated to the Lord.

Many of our young people have gone out into Christian service from this place. A church is made up of individuals, young and old, and all kinds of personalities and backgrounds. We cannot mention all by name but each one, even to the smallest child, has contributed something to the functioning of the church. A helping hand, a warm smile, a willing heart, a loving hug, these things are what makes a church an extended family.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Part VII

Redeemer Lutheran Church
The real beginnings of Redeemer Lutheran Church can be traced to the mid 1920’s when pastors of the Ohio Synod began holding services in the various homes of Lutherans in Hanna. In 1929 an opportunity arose to buy an old school for use as a church building and at that time the congregation of Redeemer Lutheran Church was founded. The congregation’s first building was renovated twice, once in 1929 then again between 1944 and 1946. In 1954 the present building was begun and was dedicated in 1955. A new parsonage next to the church building was built in 1962. Many renovations have taken place to the church building since 1955 including carpeting of the upstairs and downstairs, and a free standing altar. Just recently the congregation purchased a pipe organ, which will be the congregations fourth organ.

Some time between 1944 and 1946 extensive renovations were made to the exterior. Three of the six windows were removed from each side, leaving three. The three windows on each side of the doorway were also removed and a porch was added. New siding, new shingles, and a coat of paint was added. After this renovation the original building was no longer recognizable. Getting an answer to the unanswered questions concerning the origin of the first church building was in itself a thrilling discovery, and the fact that it could have been Hanna’s first school was an added bonus. This symbolizes the relationship between the two most important institutions in our society, the school and the church.

The gathering together of the congregation which was officially organized as Redeemer Lutheran Church was the dedicated work of the Rev. Henry Bietsch and his family. The memory of Rev. Bietsch is dear to the heart of many people. Those who were not a part of this congregation remember him as an imposing personality who was held with respect by all. A pastor who studied in his confirmation class recalls his strong singing voice, and how he literally sang the gospel into the hearts of his students.

Although Redeemer Lutheran Church is presently a one point parish in the past it has been a multiparish with one or more of the following congregations: Scapa, Spondin, Hemaruka, Cereal and Endiang. The pastors who have served the congregation are: Pastor Henry Bietsch (1929 – 1936), Pastor Robert Wulff (1937 – 1942), Pastor John C. Abs. (1943 – 1945), Pastor Herman Brandt (1947 – 1949), Pastor Irvin Hohm (1952 – 1956), Pastor Oscar Sommerfield (1958 – 1962), Pastor Conrad Knoch (1963 – 1971 and 1978 – 1980), Pastor Roman Alksne (1971 – 1977), and Pastor Glenn J. Sellick (1980 – ).

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Greystone - Scapa - Dowling
When the area to the north of Hanna was first settled, Castor and Stettler were the nearest trading centers. Wagon trails that eventually cut deep into the sod wound across the prairie to these towns, as lumber and supplies were hauled by the homesteaders in horse or ox drawn wagons. Mail was also picked up in Castor, until the Garden Plain Post Office opened in 1910, and a couple of years later the Greystone Post Office opened, serving what later became the Scapa-Dowling district. Greystone P.O. was situated fourteen miles north of Hanna and was operated by Mr. and Mrs. A English. The mail was brought twice weekly from the Garden Plain P.O. to Greystone by Mr. English and Lizzie Hillis, his spinster sister-in-law who homesteaded a quarter to the north of them. Her antics in what was then a male dominated society, always made good story telling among the neighbors. Sometime during the early twenties, without a word to anyone the Englishes packed some of their belongings into a wagon and left the country. From then until 1925, a mail-route out of Hanna served the area. A whole new era evolved at that time, with the construction of the Hanna – Warden railway line and the birth of two hamlets along it, to provide much needed services.

Scapa, the most northerly of the two hamlets was named after Scapa Flow in Scotland, by J.B. MacKenzie, the first post master. A general store opened by Ellis Malm in 1925, was the first business venture, and ironically it was that store that was the last to go out of business in 1978. Scapa soon became a thriving, busy little town with eight business places and three elevators. The country side was well populated and the C.N. stationed two section crews there. One maintained the main line and the other worked the Scapa – Spondin Sub line. This track was put in from 1929 to 1931 and never did prove to be practical. By the fifties only a couple of trains a year were going to Garden Plain and Spondin to move out grain. During the sixties the line was abandoned. The Hanna – Warden line became the main artery of communication and transportation for everyone along its route. Much could be said about the benefits the railway brought with it. That is why, sixty years later, even the younger generation were saddened by the abandonment and removal of the Hanna-Warden rail line in 1983.

Scapa will have a small niche in history for several incidents. Part of a tragic event happened in the immediate vicinity, during the bad winter of 1906-07, Lee Brainard, enroute to the Hunt Ranch with a large herd of cattle and horses, got caught in a sudden blizzard at the south end of Sullivan Lake. He lost his son, hired man and most of his livestock. Lee himself made it to the Hunts. Another story (never proven true or false) has it that a horse thief on the run, was apprehended in about the same area, hung and buried on the spot. For celebrities there is Dave Ruhl, a native son who did very well in the wrestling profession. He was in professional competition from 1951 to 1973, retiring with the Canadian Championship.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The Dowling townsite was surveyed at the north end of Dowling Lake. In 1925 Anfy Alpaugh opened the store and post office. The Wheat Pool elevator was built in 1926, for a short time a section man was stationed there. Dowling felt the crunch of changing times before Scapa did. The post office closed in 1952 and the store closed soon after. The elevator operated till 1975. Nothing is left of the Dowling townsite – Scapa still has several houses, the community hall, vacant school with adjacent ball diamonds and sports grounds.

Many of the pioneer families of the area are still represented by a second and third generation. Some left but keep in contact – others have vanished. Following is a list of pioneer families compiled by R.S. Gaugler in 1962. Walker, Sim, Hillis, McRae, Weschie, Wimmer, Himmelrick, Ruppert, Burrows, Sexsmith, Haessell, Peters, Cape, Gaugler, Mitchell, Baxter, Williams, Weiler, Skeelan, Zeamer, Wylie, Pettie, Fowler, McCuish, Harrington, Robertson, Ross, Wiese, Viste, Munro, Doyle, Schottschneider, Kinman, Mansfield, Brunner, Barton, Diegel, Coghill, Fielding, Jones, McBurnie, Gay, Fisher, Grantham, Michael, Johnston, Holloway, Bradley, Raina, Carseson, Hausher, Anderson, Gulseth, Fennel, Lohrmann, Bartsch, Leight, Harvey, Burt, Weich, Slemp, Bodeman, Camp, Glubrecht, Steinbrecker, Lyxzen, Bartman, Hill, Hein, Dunkle, Huson, Sandness and MacKenzie.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The Princeton District centres approximately in the north half of Township 32, Range 16 and the south half of Township 33, Range 16 and is about 20 miles northeast of Hanna. It was settled first by ranchers N. Lund and A. Alspach on S.W. 24-32-16.

The first homesteaders came in the summer and fall of 1908 and 1909. From towns, cities and countries across the sea, and after many a wearisome mile they landed at Stettler. From there it was a two day trip by horses and oxen to what was later to be known as Princeton.

They were greeted by tall grass and beautiful flowers. The grass was so tall in fact that little girls five and eight years old could run through it and not be seen. The only way they could be detected was by the ripple they made as they ran. It rubbed the boots of horseback riders as they rode. There wasn’t a horse or tree from horizon to horizon – nothing but the Stettler trail heading off over the hill. The nearest trees for building sod houses and barns were at the Hand Hills. Firewood was mainly the brush around Victoria Lake and was scarce and precious.

The first post office in the district was called Dowling lake and was located on Bob Watts place at N.W. 24-32-16. Bob Watts was the first mail carrier and the town of Watts was named after him. The post office was later moved to Brinkman Townsends and finally to Stanley Price’s where it was disbanded.

In an incredibly (1n 1912) short time, Princeton School District was formed and the first school was built. This school remained in operation – with a roll call of up to thirty-five children – until 1941 when it was replaced with a new building. The new school has since been replaced with a bus but the building is still serving the district as a community centre. A Miss McGuire was the first teacher in the school and a Mrs. McGuire the last.

The Princeton Telephone Company was formed in 1918. This was a great boon to the early settlers as it brought neighbors much closer and communications was much quicker and easier – if the phone was working.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Craigmyle Named
The Village of Craigmyle was built on Wm. Nixon’s land and named after Mrs. Eaton’s ancestral estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The first homesteader to winter in Craigmyle was the late Ed. Brothers in 1908. Many filed in that year, but it was in 1909 when the homesteaders came thick and fast: Harry Stevenson, Ted Read, Ed. Nelson, Bert Smyth, Reg. Stovel, Kirkeby Bros., Farrow Family, Moodie Family, Sam Martin, Rees Family, Geo. Delsing, Col. Eaton, Tom Owen, Dave Allen, J. Blore, Norlie Family, Jim Smith, Davis Family, Wm. Vernon, Adolph Rhum, G. White, Josh Steele, Horace Martin, Wm. Stevens, G. Wylie, S. Brook, Wm. Reeves, Hunter Bros., H. Nixon, H. Haywood, K. Ashby, Fred Cook, Jim Burrows, Hansteen Family, McKee Bros., Howard Family, M. Kennedy, J. McGuire, Stoddard Bros., R. MacIlveen, Fennel Family, F. Diegel, R. Borland, Wm. Nugent, D. Marshall, Scotty Edgar, Scotty Edwards, J. Fowler, M.F. Rew, J. Connor, F. Borel, Blair Family, Hawk Ellertson, Tillotson Bros., G. Pierce, C. Ellerston, R. O’Neil, E.C. O’Neil, R. McWilliams, R. Boyton, J. Cross, J. Boyd, Pollock Bros., Wm. Dargie, T. Hansen, Anderson Family, S. Boucher, C. Emmons, Wm. Nixon, Sr., Coulson Family, Mrs. Hammond, A. Gordon, C. Potter, F.R.D. Hector, O. Aaserud, E. Jackey, A. Cranston, Wm. Hazelhurst, Wm. Klukus, G. Beakler, I. Whittaker, O. Backus, J. Brasset, M. Bye, H. Joberg, J. Rosin, H. Sams, K. Morton, L. Flett, J. Miller, Moench Family, Lenfesty Family, E. Peacock, Galster Family, Albright Family, Bertsch Family, G. Moulden, Snyder Family, Lavers Family, A. Browning, J. Cole, F. Tadman, Shoults Family, J. Willis, C. Lyons, Darrett Bros., J. Beck, Rex Horner, L. McDonald, R. Shandera, Peet Bros., J. Scott, C. Thomas.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

With the settlers, buildings sprung up. Lillico was the first post office in 1909 and in 1910 Lillico school was built. In this building settlers attended church led by their minister Mr. S. Brook. 1910 was a year to remember with pioneers like Wm. Nixon, Harvey Nixon, Shorty Carr and Elmer Marr trailing cattle overland from Crossfield. Reg. Stovel decided homesteading was for him so he bought two cows, the only livestock available in Calgary, and drove out to Craigmyle. Prairie fire swept through, damaging many acres of choice grassland.

In 1911, Lewis Branum, the John Nixon family, and the A.P. Geissinger family settled in Craigmyle. The Hammond school, named for the first woman homesteader in the district, was built one mile east and a half mile south of the village. Victor Hall was built in 1911, and the grade was put through for the railroad.

1912 saw the steel laid and the hearts of our pioneers were happy as they built their Craigmyle Trading Co. store, and post office in the same building. A livery barn was operated by the Thompson Bros. from Halkirk. Dad Colville operated the A.P. elevator and Archie Fleming had the first implement business for I.H.C.

1913 brought Dr. Crawford to the village and he served the district for many years. Crown Lumber erected a building with George Delsing as manager. H.E. Gage opened a harness shop, and Theo De Pencier started a butcher shop. With money coming in the Royal Bank raised a building with manager Hutchings. Tom McKee and Claude Franks decided our pioneers needed haircuts and recreation so they put up a barber shop and pool room. Hawk Eilertson was manager of the U.G.G. Elevator. Mr. Latham set up a blacksmith shop. Jack Remington started a hotel and restaurant. Ginger Nixon, Sidney Brook, Scotty Edgar and Frank Porter operated the first steam threshing outfit. Contractors Sandy Munroe and Murdo McGregor were in Business. The Stanley Bros. bought in the first hardware. D.G. Innes built a store and Clem Bell bought Craigmyle Trading Co. Craigmyle was on its way.

But with this wonderful new country of ours opening up came grave responsibilities. War clouds loomed over the land of our ancestors and Canada went to war in 1914. Boys, then, such as Louis Golds, Frank Burroughs, Everett Howard, Ginger Nixon, Howard Fennell, Jay Kirkeby, Grant Wylie, Ernie White Sydney Brook, Col. Robt. Eaton, Jim Anderson, Dave Finlay, Bob Gordon, answered the call as Canadians have always done. However life in Canada progresses. In 1914 Bill Anderson bought the blacksmith shop from Mr. Latham. C.L. Sitlington bought the hardware from the Stanley Bros., Backus opened a dairy. George Delsing and Pat Thompson had a car. Nurse Hector was here.

The United Church was built in ’15. The station burned down and the blazing shingles started another prairie fire. 1915-16-17 and time is marching on. Craigmyle grew with its farming and ranching district.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Watts is approximately 7 miles west of Hanna. The railway came through late in 1912. Before this time some say that the location went by the name of Copperville.

The name Watts was the surname of a C.N.R. employee. The quarter section Watts is located on was reserved for the townsite when the railway survey was made in 1910 and 1911. The land was never filed on for a homestead. The station and loading platforms were built soon after the steel was laid.

In 1913 Mr. J.L. Boyd started a feed mill and livery barn which he operated until going overseas in 1916.

The Home Grain Co. elevator was built in 1915 followed by the National elevator in 1916. The Watts store and post office was built by Mr. Newton in 1916. He was the first postmaster, and people of the district enjoyed regular mail service here after having depended on small post offices scattered around such as Obelisk, Copeville, Lillico, Hand Hills, Dowling Lake and after 1912, Hanna.

The Bullpound Creek runs very close south of Watts, and as the nearest bridge was one mile east, it was soon moved to the present site.

Travelers, grain haulers and others were able to get a meal at Mrs. Cheechoo’s during these early years.

The grain companies and the C.N.R. had very busy times in the middle and late ‘teens and nearly all of the 20s. Until the Hanna-Warden line of the C.N.R. was built, grain came from as far north as the Endiang district, and from an area south as far as the east side of the Hand Hills Lake. On peak days during these years there was as high as 43 trains per 24 hours. There was a telegraph operator in the station for a short time.

In 1919 Merrill Newton, son of the postmaster started a lumber yard.

The National Grain Co., the Home Grain Co. and Merril Newton built nice houses at this time.

The community was thriving and the Alberta Government Telephones built a party line in the district, and also a private long distance outlet in the Watts store.

In 1921 Mr. Jim Peace built a blacksmith shop, and also a small house, which he operated until about 1924.

In 1922 Mr. J.L. Boyd reopened his livery barn, and was able to service those who hauled grain from the bumper 1923 crops. Mrs Boyd served meals to those who wished them. Several granaries were built in town by farmers so they could more readily deliver the grain when the price was most satisfactory.

In 1923 Mr. and Mrs. N.H. Lund, old-timers of the Annasheim School District bought the Watts General Store and Post Office; also this year the Alberta Pacific Grain Co. built an elevator.

In 1925-26 H.R. (Roy) Embree built a small repair shop, where he and Bill Bolton made repairs to anything and everything.

At about this time the Calgary road was rebuilt just north of town and a new bridge put across the Bullpound Creek. Population of the hamlet was at its peak during these years, numbering thirty persons in the approximately eleven families residing here.

In 1927 on June 7, the old Home Grain elevator, burned, and by fall a new elevator stood in its place.

In 1929 Roy Embree built a large modern garage. In 1930 the main road to Calgary was moved one mile south of town and coupled with the hard times, Roy closed the shop during the thirties.

These time saw many changes. The grain companies were open and closed according to business. The Alberta Pacific Grain Co. bought the National elevator, and the C.N.R. maintenance men were moved to larger points.

In 1937 the need for a high school in the district became necessary and the people of the district under the leadership of Mrs. J.L. Boyd and Mrs. C.S. Phibbs got Sullivan Lake School Division agreed, and a high school was opened late in September in a vacant house, with Mrs. M.D. Cook as teacher for 13 or 14 students in grade 10 and 11. Some children batched in the other vacant houses in town, and even in a granary someone moved into town.

The next year Silver Valley school building was moved to Watts and nine grade 9 students were added to the roll. Later St. George School was moved in for public school, and later still St. George was moved to Youngstown after their school was burned. Watts had the largest one roomed school still in operation in the Sullivan Lake School Division. Two buses served it, and took the junior high and high school pupils to Hanna.

During the early 40s three houses were sold and moved away. In 1945 Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Boyd bought the Watts store and Post Office.

In July 1948 the Alberta Wheat Pool house burned and a more modern house was moved in.

During the 50s times were better and the village went ahead again. The Alberta Pacific Grain Co. built a new house for the agent, the Alberta Wheat Pool built a new annex, the power line was brought in and the village even had one street lamp.
In 1960 Mr. J.L. Boyd retired as postmaster, but kept his general store business. Hanna post office serves the district again. The C.N.R. sold the depot and the loading platform.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Hand Hills
Among the first people to settle in the Hand Hills was George Black who came from the Klondyke in 1906 to settle on the ranch. He built his first house in 1907 and added a lean in 1909.

The Parr school, one of the first in the Hand Hills was named after Mrs. Black’s nephew. James Parr Sleath.

Jack Miller, and his brother Mel were settled at the south end of Hand Hills Lake in 1905. For several years after settling there, Jack continued to play hockey in Edmonton and worked on the ranch in the summer.

Emil and Herman Joburg came in 1906 with about 80 head of cattle. In the hard winter of 1909, they lost about half the cattle. After that they put up plenty of feed in the fall and no longer depended on the chinook winds to keep the prairie grass bare in winter.

Les Flett was an early horse rancher arriving with his wife in 1905. Flett and his sons soon became prominent horse racing enthusiasts and by 1917 were well established in the profession. One horse, Smoky Perkins, purchased from Pete La Grande for $75, never lost a five eighths mile race. Elmer Flett lost only one Roman race in many years of competition. The Elmer School was named after Elmer Flett, the first child born in the Hand Hills. The Fletts and the Cosgroves went on to become dominant participants in chuckwagon racing and became household names at the Calgary Stampede.

Some other early ranchers were: Dart, DeBois, Pile, Kinninmonth, Gardiner, Lindsay, Montgomery and Benedict.

A big fire started south west of Black’s lease in August 1909 by lightning. Tom Owens, a young boy told of helping his brother Bill to get three horses together including one from Rev. Cruikshanks which were used for ploughing fire guard. Twenty five cowboys of the Jack Ogilvie ranch at Fish Lake arrived to help put out the fire which was travelling southeastward at a brisk rate. At midnight, when it was presumed the fire was out the fighters all repaired to the Owens home where they devoured all the food in the house. The fire burned under the fireguard and the weary cowboys returned to fight the fire the following day until it was conquered.

By 1909 and 1910 almost all land in the Hand Hills was occupied, and by 1916 most of the schools were built. Dances in the Elmer School, causing friction between the local school board and the cowboys wishing to have fun on Friday nights, led to the people in the community deciding to build a club house. It became the Hand Hills Lake Club and the first secretaries were: Jack Morse, Mel Miller, Bob Congdon and Rex Horner in that order, and the first presidents were: Coughlin, Flett, J.J. Miller and McFadden.

Flett and Miller sold shares at $10 each and by the spring of 1919 work was well underway. Shorty Thompson and Shorty Murray did the plowing and the grading of the track. Robert McDonald supervised the building of the club by volunteer labor. Some of the helpers were: Lorne McDonald, Jack Edwards, Jack Morse, Jack Bell, Bill Millard, Jack and Mel Miller, Bill Collar, Anton Anderson, and Harry Shoults.

Corrals were put up and the first Stampede got underway on July 19, 1919 with J.J. Miller as manager. Two previous stampeded had been held at Miller’s ranch with the proceeds going to the Red Cross.

The early settlers in the Hand Hills played hockey every winter on the lake. Two houses 10 x 14 were built on skids and hauled on the lake for dressing rooms. During the summer, they served as dressing rooms for swimmers.

The Lone Butte district had many football and baseball enthusiasts who gathered every Sunday to practice and play against neighboring communities.

One of the first cars in the district was bought by Harry Shoults from Les Flett the day before the 1919 stampede. The idling screw on the carburetor wasn’t adjusted properly, and the runaway car took out five gates on the way to the Stampede.

Dr. Lawson settled five miles west of the lake and looked after the medical needs of the early settlers. Lawsonburg school was named in his honor.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald


Garden Plain
Garden Plain was a trading centre and post office before the railroad came through. The freight and mail was hauled from Stettler and Castor by horses. The mail was distributed from the post office to Fertility and Greystone. Garden Plain also boasted three coal mines operating in 1909. Its name came from the town in Iowa where T.A. Kane, the storekeeper and mine owner had originated.

With the construction of the Scapa-Lovern rail line, the townsite was moved about three miles southeast of its original location. Some of the pioneers were: Claypool and son, F. Kennedy, the Wright family, H. Brown, Graham and son, Benzie brothers, Taylor families, Lewis family, Lepard family, Cattanach family, R. Fredericks, Burt French, Robert Unsworth, Wagner brothers, Conrad family, Mr. Alley, Mr. Clark, Ben Bunce, Ironside family, M. Siverson, Alex McLean, Glover, F. Blackwell.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The following was submitted by: Barb Young, of Calgary, Alberta in 2000

“In 1910, an American named “Mr. Kane” opened the first Coal Mine in the Garden Plain district just two miles north of the Horace Lewis Homestead. This was a “Godsend” to the settlers in the area as “buffalo chips” was the only fuel for heating their homes until this time. Soon it was learned that the area was rich in coal and other coal mines were developed. Mr. Thomas Walters opened a store near the Kane Mine which flourished for 3 years until it burnt down in 1912. In the spring of 1913, it was rebuilt on the west side of the Coulee and the store supplied groceries, lumber and hardware to the district. The same year (1913) Alf Sturgess opened a Post Office at the same location. When the railroad came to Hanna in 1912, it drew all the trade for the next 3 years. However, when World Was 1 broke out in 1914, the need for a district store arose again. Mr. Kane opened a Store and Post Office in 1916 (near where the present Garden Plain Hall now stands). During that time, he mailed out notices to all settlers for a name for the community. Suggestions such as “Glen Lyon” “Flowery Glen”, etc. poured in, but the name of Kane’s birthplace in the United States was chosen and the district was called “Garden Plain”. It was an appropriate name as the land was truly a green rolling plain like a garden.”

During the winter of 1905 and 1906, a cattleman was wintering a herd of cattle at a spring in the vicinity of what is now Sheerness.

About mid-winter the water supply was dwindling and he decided to dig a well. About 10 feet down he struck a seam of coal and found as he dug deeper the seam was about five feet thick. He not only found water, but he tapped a coal field which supplied thousands of settlers with fuel. Before the railroad came through in 1919, horse and ox teams hauled countless tons of coal from the mine. Every fall it became a hive of industry as settlers from many miles around came and camped and waited their turn to get loaded.

One fellow from Saskatchewan came more that 90 miles to get his winter supply of fuel. He was driving six oxen and hauled three wagons. It took him three days to make the trip to the mine. After a wait of two days to get loaded, he took off on his homeward journey which he figured would take another four days.

There were many professional men who came west in those days and settled on the land. Among those who took up homesteads in the Sheerness district were three doctors: Dr. Bylers, Dr. Esler and Dr. Cameron. These men were Godsend to the early settlers. During an outbreak of diphtheria in 1912 they traveled countless miles on horseback looking after their patients.

The first post office to serve the district was on the George Crozier homestead. Mail came in by stage once a week from Bassano. In 1911 the post office was moved to Sheerness and Miss Brotherson was installed as post mistress. She married Julius Warnebolt who operated a coal mine at Sheerness for many years.

The first general store in Sheerness was operated by Lamb and Schkarabaum.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The Bullpound Country
One of the many tributaries of the Red Deer River is the Bull Pound Creek. The beginning of the creek can be traced back to the north slope of the Hand Hills and from there it meanders through the Watts Flats and on in a southerly direction for about 70 miles and finally empties into the Red Deer River in the vicinity of Hutton. As it passes along the east side of the Hand Hills, the country through which it flows, spreads out in a wide, flat expanse of land which is known as the Bull Pound Flats.

The land was surveyed out in townships in 1885, and shortly after a fellow by the name of George Cowan came in with a bunch of cattle and located his ranch in township 29, range 14. His grazing domain stretched out for miles on each side of the Bull Pound Creek and hundreds of cattle bearing his brand, fanned out from the home corrals which were located in a deep coulee on the east side. The hard winter and deep snow of 1906 and 1907, took its toll and in the spring, dead cattle lay everywhere. Fewer than 100 of the 1,000 head survived and Gowan never rebuilt his herd.

The land had been surveyed in sections in 1906 and the ranchers heard rumors that it would be thrown open for settlement soon. They started liquidating their holdings and by 1909 the homesteaders had taken over. The coulee where the Gowan ranch buildings were located is still called Gowan’s Coulee.

A complete list of settlers who filed on land in Township 29, Range 14, includes the following names: Alex Mohl, father of Alex Mohl Jr. and grandfather of the late Clarence Mohl of Hanna; T. Howatt, M. Brandt, E. Teed, N. McLean, J. McFayden, J.W. Gall, father of a number of sons and daughters still living in this vicinity; C. Frakes, who lost an arm in the First World War. There were three Jones’ and for identification purposes were nicknamed as follows: J.C. Jones “Casey”, E. Jones “Alkali” and T. Jones “Butcher”. The latter was the father of Dooley Jones who still lives here. Then there was W. Vokes, the Irish lad who told the census taker when he called in 1912, to take the census that he didn’t have any senses to spare; T. Churchill, J. Bolt, E. Eldridge, H. Slingerland and W. McIlvenna, both killed in World War 1; W. Dayton, Olson brothers John and Andrew, Sam Wadsworth who operated one of the first coal mines in the country; O.P. Stringer, Josiah James, father of Marshall, Nathan and Ferg James, who all homesteaded here. R. Crowle well known blacksmith of Hanna; T. Somerville, Jake Tiffin and son Earl; T. Houston, H. Tolton, G. Giler, J. Borodula and sons Alex and Andy; F. Hyslop, J. Egan, W. Zakopyko, the old Russian fellow who filed on his homestead without seeing it, and when he came out in the spring of 1911, it was all covered with water and he had to build his shack on the road allowance. The boys claimed he lived in the water so much that he grew webs between his toes!

Others included Carl Johnston, J. Fordor, alias “Jack Watson”, Fred Schmitz, father of Freddie Schmitz, who lived south of Hanna; D. Leight, F. Brocklebank, P. Hornbrook, W. Maxsy, S. Willman, A. South, A. Littleton, J. Russell, A. Flatman, J. Bryson, J. Playut, H. McKenzie, H. Hammel, Shea Bros., Dr. G.H. Wade, Mayor of Hanna for many years, F. Smith and C. Sheely.

The Bullpound School, built in 1912 – first school board, J.W. Gall, Alex Mohl, Jake Weidrich and T.J. Warwick, secretary-treasure. The first teacher was B. Rivers who had a homestead in the district.

The first pupils registered in the Bullpound School were: John Wild family – John Dr., Emelia, Ida, Gus and Fred, John Gall family: Bertha, Edmund and Emma; Gus Eberhardt family: Gustave Jr., Fred, Olga, and Emil; John Borodula family: Andrew, John and Mary; Jake Weidrich family: Sam, Bennie, Martha and Jacob; Michael Gaetz family: Emma, Otto, Elsie and John; Sam Rust family: Tillie, Dave and Gus; Alex Mohl Sr. family: George, Lydia, Adam, John and Albert.

The Olive School built in 1915 – First Board of Trustees George Thomas, Fred Schmidt and T. Howatt, Ferg James, secretary-treasure. The first teacher was Miss Reid who later married the late Dave Harvey.

The early school register contained the names of: Jack Maynes, Alex Maynes, Lloyd Schmitz, Fred Schmitz, Bell Thomas, Audrey Thomas, Olaf Knutson, Ted Churchill, Lucy Churchill, Wm. Churchill, George Howatt, Olive Jones, Fred Jones.
The Red Rose School was built in the summer of 1911. Henry LeBlanc a carpenter who had a homestead in the district was awarded the contract to put up the building. Ferg James laid the foundation and helped build the school.
The first board of trustees was E.A. Portfors, Cal Vowel and T.G. Sanders. The first teacher was Mr. Holbrook. He was the father of Clyde Holbrook who later became a pilot and flew in the First World War.

Some of the first students attending the Red Rose School were: Millie Dryer, Nellie Dryer, Francis Dryer, Clifford Hannah, Earl Hannah, Inex Vowel, Alex Jones, Cora Churchill, Ted Churchill, Earl Howatt, Harvey Howatt, Bill Raugust, Charles Knauft, Florence Knauft, Ella Knauft, George Knauft, and Merle Sanders.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Richdale District
One of the first settlers to make his home in the Richdale district was Fred Madge, who still resides there. Fred squatted on the Berry Creek, south of the present village of Richdale in the spring of 1905.

At that time the land had not been surveyed out into sections, so many of the ranchers just moved in and located on some favorable spot and waited for the survey.

The railroad came in 1912 and the townsite of Richdale was surveyed out on land belonging to a Mr. Pierson. Previous to this the first post office for the district was on the farm of R.S. Wadell, just east of Richdale and near the C.N.R. water tower. Wadell had a grocery store in connection with the post office, and when the town started in 1913 he moved the store and became the first merchant in Richdale. The post office was taken over by Mr. Shankey.

The Alberta Pacific built the first grain elevator and the agent was A. Marshall. Buck Deviny had the first livery barn and Sam Maley worked for him.

Jim Smith built a hardware store in 1913 and when Richdale became a village he was elected reeve or “Mayor”. 1913 was a boom year in Richdale. The Bank of Toronto was built and Mr. Hurlbert was the first manager. The Crown Lumber opened for business with Barney Rason as manager. Jim Stewart started a butcher shop and Wadell built the hotel.

The first school to be in operation in Richdale was held in the community hall in 1913. This was a kindergarten class organized by Miss Stella Shankey. She had 14 pupils. Later that year the school district was formed with R.S. Wadell, J. Ross and T. Deviny as trustees. W.A. Pinkerton acted as secretary-treasure and Miss A.B. Anglin was engaged as the first regular teacher. The children still attended classes in the hall.

In 1917 the school house was built and two teachers were engaged. They were Mrs. Dr. Byers and Mrs. Stewart. There was a total of 65 pupils attending school at this time.

Owing to crop failures in the district in 1918 the staff was cut to one teacher and W.A. Pinkerton carried on the teaching duties until 1925.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Sunnynook District

Shortly after Dick Ringdahl arrived at his homestead in 1910, there was a settler on practically every half section of land. They consisted of lawyers, teachers, doctors, dentists and ministers who came with the idea of proving up on their homesteads at a profitable gain – only a few farmers were scattered among them.

The first post office and store was Flowerdale, which was owned and operated by A.R. Stewart, mail being brought from Bassano by coach and store supplies also from Bassano came by team and wagon one trip a week.

Toward the end of May a public meeting was called to solicit members for a United Grain Growers Co. with Harry Lennox as president. Shortly after this another meeting was called to organize a school district which was named Laurier No. 2321. A small school house was built as there were seven children of school age and in a short time a school was operating with Dr. W.J. Lanergan as teacher in 1910. School board members were Ed. Oliver, E. Boggess and A.T. Hyde.

This same year a municipality was organized named Flowerdale M.D. 244 with six Councilors who were John Cope, George Stevens, Mr. McKinney, Austin Mercer (reeve), A.C. Campbell, Joe Knutson, Bill Thompson being secretary-treasure. Meetings were held in Laurier school and operated until the Berry Creek area was formed.

Church services and Sunday School were ably taken care of by the late Rev. Cruikshank who visited the area bi-monthly, rain or shine.

The first wheat from this district was marketed in Youngstown in the spring of 1913. Later the grain was hauled to Richdale and Stanmore until the “Peavine” of the C.N.R. was built. The Sunnynook elevators were ready for business in 1918, later bridges were being built across the Berry Creek.

It was a big problem to find water for human consumption as well as for animals. Many of the shallow wells contained such bitter water it was impossible to use it. Often water was hauled six miles in barrels and occasionally one would find a supply of drinking water to which everyone in the district would come. In the fall of 1910 the Provincial Government sent a drilling machine to drill one well in each township. The majority of these were most satisfactory, the average depth being 240 feet to the water line.

Every small community organized a baseball team, and these games became the best form of entertainment every Sunday afternoon. Some of the early baseball boosters were A.C. Campbell, John Jones, Lou Hyler and George Hanson.

For a time prior to the dry years of the thirties Sunnynook enjoyed a rapid growth as new settlers came in and more land was broken. The community enjoyed such facilities as two or three stores, a railway station, bank, post office, etc. In the dry years of the thirties hundreds of families moved out of the area, and the hamlet declined considerably, as the once broken prairie was allowed to regrass where today some of the original settlers, if not their descendants are engaged mainly in cattle ranching over a vast area, which once knew the ring of the homesteader’s hammer, as he built his small shack, the barb wire fence, new roads, bridges, etc. that signified the typical opening up of the west.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

The Red Deer
Shortly after the Red Men gave up the vast prairie plains and the steep banks, and lush flat lands along the Red Deer River as their normal habitat, white settlers soon began to arrive. In the 1900s the country along the Red Deer River between Hanna and the town of Brooks, saw many ranchers come in. Real old-timers will recall the names of Billy Campbell, Walter Peake, Leslie Douglas, Chas. Douglas, Hodgson, Russell Brown, Bill Caldwell, Herschel Wright, Chas Bray, Field Bros. (of Fieldholm Post Office and Ferry); John Smith, the Eides of the P.K. Ranch, Foresters and Charlie Parks. Some of the descendants of the early settlers are still living, and there descendants too, continue to make the Red Deer country their home, and stoutly continue the ranching business.

Long before there was a Hanna, these people came into the river country, with Brooks and Bassano being their main trading towns. In 1909 the country opened up to homesteaders, and in that year heavy rains occurred, so that in mid-July creeks were flooding their banks, and a literal plague of mosquitoes struck the area. Many of the homesteaders lost horses, who broke away that summer as they were tormented almost to death by the mosquitoes. The mosquito plague that year has been termed the worst in the known history of the area.

In 1910, during the month of May, the peak of the homesteaders influx was reached, with 2700 being registered in the Calgary Land Titles Office for settlement in the south country. They came by wagon, horse and ox team, on saddle horse and even on foot, all seeking out their land. But there homesteading days were not easy ones. In 1909 one of the worst prairie fires in history raged across the land, destroying homesteaders’ shacks, destroying livestock, and in several instances causing loss of human life. The severest blow came in the form of destruction of the lush grazing land with hundreds of square miles blackened.

As the settlers persevered and continued to take out a living from the virgin soil, communities began to spring up, schools were established and the social life of the area took on a brighter note. Agriculture Societies were formed, and all old-timers will well remember the annual Pandora Fair. In 1915 and 1916 the country was favored with a good crop, and grain was hauled to Bassano and Brooks and even as far north as Richdale.

The south country fully opened up in 1920 when the C.N.R. built the proposed line from Hanna to Medicine Hat, which ultimately ended at Steveville, where economic conditions did not warrant its continuing on to the original point. A mute reminder of the project is the set of huge concrete piers in the Red Deer River at Steveville, on which a railway trestle was to have been built.

With the coming of the railway such communities as Sunnynook, Pollockville, Cessford, Wardlow, Carolside and Steveville sprang up, with railway through these points drawing much of the settlers’ trade.

Unknown to them at the time, the worst enemy of the settlers was to become drouth, and in the years to follow the south country was dealt damaging blow. So much in fact, that hundreds of settlers were forced to move out, and huge tracts of once thickly settled land, became open to only those who were stern enough to remain. It is said that the reason some of the settlers stayed was simply because they didn’t have enough money to move out! That might be so, however, from time to time climatic conditions changed and many of the ranchers who remained did obtain a measure of financial reward for the efforts. Drouth still is the south country’s biggest drawback. However, as far as its people are concerned, all will agree they are among the “Good Lord’s Finest”.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald


Norine Coad
The Hanna Archives
Freda Viste
The Hanna and District Pioneers
and Old Timers Association
Pearly Scott
Ross Bartman
Frank Berke
The Campion Family
Carol Mathe
The Staff of the Hanna Herald

And All Of Those Who Contributed Ideas Or Material In the Compilation Of This Book
© 1987 Gorman & Gorman Publishing Ltd.
All Rights Reserved