Big loss for Orion: Stevens Hardware destroyed in Christmas Day blaze

Sad news coming from Orion, Alberta this morning.  I have received word from a  few friends of Forgotten Alberta that the pioneer-era hardware store operated by prairie icon, Boyd Stevens, burned to the ground on Christmas Day.

A video posted on Facebook by Logan Biesterfeldt shows the store already completely engulfed, as locals scramble to contain the fire on a frost Xmas morning. 

Comments  on Facebook and elsewhere online indicate that Boyd is safe, but I will post confirmation and further details once they become available.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have stopped by Stevens Hardware on a few occasions in during sojourns through the south, and had the privilege of conversing with Boyd about his life and times in isolated Orion, Alberta. Visitors to Stevens Hardware  were assured of great conversation, and came away knowing the intimate details of the history of the region. Hopefully Boyd made it through okay, and his family’s legacy will continue.

 

Boyd Stevens: Storekeeper & Orion #Alberta icon. #FABTrip14 @prairiepostalta

A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on

Boyd and the store were subjects of a video short by director, Sean Thonson, of Travel Alberta fame (“Remember to Breathe”) calledPassing Orion“.

#FABTrip16: Chatting with an icon in Orion

A licensed establishment, Orion #Alberta #Canada #mybadlands #explorealberta #FABTrip16 @gregfarries

A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on


In what has become a #FABTrip tradition when travelling through the forgotten SE corner of Alberta, we stopped in the hamlet of Orion for a chat with Boyd Stevens: lifelong resident, proprietor of Stevens Hardware, and one of a half dozen souls remaining in the community. As per usual, Mr. Stevens was convivial and accommodating, while freely sharing historical insights and colourful stories about a pioneer-era community that is passing into history.

Continue reading #FABTrip16: Chatting with an icon in Orion

#FABTrip16: Heading east along the Red Coat Trail

Still afloat. The last sentinel at Skiff #Alberta #Canada #explorealberta #grainelevator #mybadlands #fabtrip16 @gregfarries

A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on

We left the metropolis Maybutt in the midst of rush hour, and joined the lunch hour commute along the Red Coat Trail (highway 61) towards Wrentham. Upon arrival, Jason Sailer kindly treated us to a tour of the Ogilvie wooden elevator, and afterward enduring his second interview of the day, we continued eastward towards Manyberries, our final destination for day one. Along the route we stopped at familiar haunts in Skiff and Etzikom, grabbed some lunch and parted ways with Jason in Foremost, and scouted out the former siding at Pakowki, a surprisingly historical spot.

Continue reading #FABTrip16: Heading east along the Red Coat Trail

Question re. L J RANCH, Bow Island.

A question from Forgotten Alberta reader, C. Davis Broadway, on the blog today:

Does anyone have information related to L J RANCH, Bow Island.
I have an old Winchester rifle with that carved on the stock.
Very interesting…the rifle was manufactured in 1912, the founding date of Bow Island !

I will have a look-see, however I welcome your comments, suggestions, and of course, questions, in the comment section of this post, or email me at forgottenalberta@gmail.com.

Chronicling the forgotten people and places of southern Alberta, Canada's Badlands region.