New Heritage Marker Unveiled in Big Valley

On Friday, August 1, 2014 another heritage maker was unveiled to join the family of over 70 provincial markers located throughout Alberta. Situated in Big Valley, the heritage marker profiles the early history and architectural significance of a prominent local landmark – the St. Edmund’s Anglican Church.

The unveiling of the St. Edmund’s heritage marker coincided with the Big Valley centennial and homecoming celebrations that took place August 1 – 3, 2014. L to R: Gail Knudson, Mayor of Big Valley; Asaph Johnson, Village Councillor; Brenda Manweiler, Historic Places Research and Designation; Lois Miller, Village Councillor and Director, Big Valley Historical Society; Trudy Spence, Secretary, Big Valley Historical Society

The unveiling of the St. Edmund’s heritage marker coincided with the Big Valley centennial and homecoming celebrations that took place August 1 – 3, 2014.
L to R: Gail Knudson, Mayor of Big Valley; Asaph Johnson, Village Councillor; Brenda Manweiler, Historic Places Research and Designation; Lois Miller, Village Councillor and Director, Big Valley Historical Society; Trudy Spence, Secretary, Big Valley Historical Society

St. Edmund’s, valued by residents of Big Valley as an important part of their heritage, was constructed in 1916 through local donations and a $500 contribution from English citizen Caroline Leffler. Leffler offered the donation to the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary to establish a church in an area of his choice. Big Valley was selected and the church was constructed on the crest of the valley, visible from miles away. Still today, St. Edmund’s Anglican Church stands as a significant community landmark.

In 2002 St. Edmund’s was designated a Provincial Historic Resource for its associations with the town’s history as a railway boomtown and as a very good example of modest Gothic Revival architecture. St. Edmund’s was first painted blue in 1974 for Big Valley’s initial homecoming – 40 years ago!

The Big Valley Historical Society applied for the development of the heritage marker through the Alberta Heritage Markers Program, which is funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation. Historical society members and local residents are excited about the heritage marker as it will help to celebrate the provincial significance of the church and increase awareness for this important historic place.

The Alberta Heritage Markers Program promotes greater awareness of the historic people, places, events, and themes that have defined the character of our province. The program brings Alberta’s dynamic history alive through heritage markers placed at roadside pullouts, within parks, and in other community locales.

St. Edmund's_FINAL

Written by: Brenda Manweiler, Manager of Historic Places Research and Designation

2 comments

  1. Reblogged this on DanOCan and commented:
    We were very fortunate that we stumbled across a member of the Big Valley Heritage Society while touring around the town last month. She was very passionate about the church and was more than happy to get a key and open it up so she could show us the inside. That sort of passion is such a rare thing, it seems. Sometimes when you spend so much time with people who are passionate about history you forget the general public is often not even aware. I’m glad to see the government supporting our local heritage through the use of informational signs such as this one.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Dan. We couldn’t agree more that Big Valley is a lovely community and that its residents are passionate about their heritage. It was a pleasure to work with members of the local historical society while developing the heritage marker. We are happy that residents and tourists visiting the church will now be able to learn more about its history.

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