Author: Alberta's Historic Places

What Happened to Old Fort Edmonton?

The afternoon of October 11th, 1915 saw removal operations commence. At the time, the buildings associated with Fort Edmonton V (the last incarnation of the fur-trading fort) were seen as an eye-sore next to the newly completed Legislature building and grounds. Newspapers of the day reported that the fort was taken down quickly as some citizens were outraged at its demolition. To quell the panic, the government assured the people that the old fort was being dismantled and would be moved to new quarters, repurposing the buildings as a museum. That never happened and the timbers associated with dismantled Fort Edmonton seemingly disappeared from the public eye. So, what really happened to the old fort? Stories about what happened to the timbers spread like local urban legends, most of them with no apparent basis in fact. There were rumours: that the timbers were reused in the construction of various structures and buildings in and around the Edmonton area; that the timbers sat for years in several piles both outside the Legislature and on the south side of the river; that beams were stored in the basement of the Legislature, before being used as firewood by an uninformed custodian; or that at least some of the historic timbers met their end in a nine-metre high Boy Scout bonfire lit May 12, 1937 to celebrate the coronation of King George VI. While some of these stories have some factual basis, others have not been fully confirmed or discounted.

Demolition of Fort Edmonton (1915), City of Edmonton Archives EA-10-79.

Demolition of Fort Edmonton (1915), City of Edmonton Archives EA-10-79.

(more…)

Before SAIT, ACAD and the AFA: A brief history of arts organizations in Alberta

“The strangeness will wear off and I think we will discover the deeper meanings in modern art.”

-Jackson Pollock

Modern art is unhappy with the current society; it’s a reflection of reality that’s unabashedly unrealistic. To anyone with a general knowledge and interest in art, you might not think Alberta owes a great deal of its early artistic development to modernist creation. But, modern art indeed played an early role in establishing the foundation for the funding and encouragement of artistic expression in our province. It would be two artists who, tired of the rigid hand of colonial Britain influencing what art “should” be in Alberta, would help other artists, painters and printmakers express themselves in whatever way they saw fit. (more…)

The 2016 Alberta Historical Resources Foundation Heritage Awards

Alberta Historical Resources Foundation 2016 Heritage Award Recipients.

Alberta Historical Resources Foundation 2016 Heritage Award Recipients.

The night of October 14 was filled with pride and honour as award recipients, guests, staff and board members celebrated the biennial Heritage Awards at the historic McDougall Centre in Calgary.

The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation presented the awards in four categories to 14 deserving individuals and organizations in recognition of their accomplishments and contribution to the preservation and promotion of Alberta’s heritage.

Outstanding Achievement

  • Don Hepburn (Red Deer)
  • Howard Fredeen (Lacombe)
  • Jean Johnstone (Lethbridge)
  • Nancy Millar (Calgary)
  • Honourable mention – Elizabeth and Bill Bullick (Coronation)

Heritage Conservation

  • Glen Leslie Church Preservation Group (County of Grande Prairie), Glen Leslie Church restoration
  • Empress and District Historical Society (Empress), Canadian Pacific Railway Station restoration

Heritage Awareness

  • Crowsnest Heritage Initiative, “Discover Crowsnest Heritage” signage program
  • Haying in the 30’s Cancer Support Society, “Haying in the 30’s” event
  • Honourable mention – Bear Lake Canuck Historical Society, “Canuck Classic: The Story of a Treasured One-Room School”
  • Honourable mention – Milo Library Archives, “Milo Library Archives On-Line Access Project”

Municipal Heritage Preservation

  • Municipal District of Bighorn No. 8
  • Yellowhead County
  • Honourable mention – Town of Raymond

Additional information is available on the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation webpage at http://culture.alberta.ca/heritage-and-museums/grants-and-recognition/heritage-awards/.

Congratulations and thank you to all Heritage Award Recipients!

Fighting Words?

Origin of the Names Battle Lake, Battle Creek and Battle River

Note: This post was originally published on RETROactive March 9, 2011.

Battle Lake is located approximately 53 km west of Wetaskawin and is one of a series of water features in the area that are identified by the name Battle, including Battle Creek, Battle Lake and Battle River.

The name Battle Lake was first recorded in the 1883 field notes of Tom Kains of the Dominion Land Survey (DLS). He recorded it as “Battle River Lake” due to its location on the Battle River. He later shortened the name to Battle Lake and, in 1901, that form of the name was approved by the Geographic Board of Canada for use on maps. (more…)

Sand Paint

Sand painting is a faux finish technique that was not uncommon for exteriors of masonry buildings in the early part of the twentieth century.  By dusting sand onto paint while still tacky, painted wood or metal details were made to resemble stone.  If you guessed you were looking at magnified grains of sand in the teaser photograph above, you were right.  The photograph, taken through a binocular microscope, is actually of a sand paint sample taken from the Senator Lougheed Residence in Calgary.

Senator Lougheed Residence, Calgary

Senator Lougheed Residence, Calgary.

Sand painted wood details at the Senator Lougheed Residence, Calgary

Sand painted wood details at the Senator Lougheed Residence, Calgary.

(more…)

Heritage Marker Unveiling in Peace River

The Municipal District of Peace No. 135, which has been celebrating its centenary in 2016, hosted the unveiling of the two latest Provincial Heritage Markers on August 24. The first marker details the rich history of the region’s fur trade and the competition between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company, as well as the crucial participation of First Nations people as trappers and provisioners. The second marker highlights the history and growth of agricultural settlement in the area at Shaftesbury Settlement. The unveiling was attended by Leah Miller, Board Member of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, who brought greetings from the Board and Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ricardo Miranda.

Leah Miller, Board Member of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation at the unveiling of the Shaftsbury Settlement Heritage Marker.

Leah Miller, Board Member of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, at the unveiling of the Shaftesbury Settlement Heritage Marker.

The Shaftesbury Settlement marker was installed at the St. Augustine’s Mission Site in September 2015, while the Peace River Fur Trade marker was installed at the site of the McLeod’s Fort Cairn on Highway 684 in December 2015. The Provincial Heritage Marker Program promotes greater awareness of the provincially-significant people, places, events and themes that have defined the history and character of our province. The public plays an important role in the program, and we welcome applications from groups or individuals who want to propose topics and locations for future markers, including our popular urban/trail-sized markers, suitable for placement in towns, parks, and other locations with pedestrian traffic. For more information about the program, please visit our website.

New Peace River Fur Trade Heritage Marker at the site of McLeod's Fort Cairn on Highway 684 in the Municipal District of Peace No. 135.

New Peace River Fur Trade Heritage Marker at the site of McLeod’s Fort Cairn on Highway 684 in the Municipal District of Peace No. 135.

Written By: Allan Rowe, Historic Places Research Officer

Remembering Allan Pard

Allan Pard (right) and Blair First Rider (left) (Photo Credit: Jack Ives)

Allan Pard (right) and Blair First Rider (left) (Photo Credit: Jack Ives)

Alberta Culture and Tourism staff are heartbroken by the loss of our mentor, colleague and friend Allan Pard. Allan (Mi’kskimmiisoka’simii “Iron Shirt”) was a highly respected and beloved Piikani Nation Elder and ceremonialist, active in ceremony and numerous sacred Societies. Working for the Government of Alberta for more than 30 years, Allan was integral to a large number of Alberta Culture and Tourism initiatives and served as a senior adviser to the Ministry of Indigenous Relations. He constantly strived to bridge relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples by fostering environments of understanding and respect. He challenged us to do better, and led by example each step of the way. (more…)