Category Archives: People

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“.

The latest from Forgotten Alberta

As paid work and personal commitments keep me more than busy, my time for contributions to Forgotten Alberta has been nearing non-existent.

However, despite the fact I haven’t had an original thought in months, I have been honoured to have my previous works featured in a couple of Alberta publications during the past month.

Alberta Views magazine featured my piece on Dr. Alexander Scott of Bassano, renowned as Western Canada’s first flying doctor, in the November issue. You can read the original Prairie Post column here.

The Oyen Echo also ran my vignette on Cavendish casualty, Pte. John Harold Fenton, on the cover of their Nov. 8 edition. Check out the original here.  Thank you to David McKinstry for making this happen.

I was also fortunate to be asked to contribute several articles to the most recent Lomond and District History Book, most of which are based on posts and articles originally published on this site. In the coming weeks I will republish some of these, the first being an updated history of the C.P.R.’s ill-fated Suffield Subdivision.

In other news…

Continue reading The latest from Forgotten Alberta

#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

Road Trip: Meandering along the “Peavine” (Hwy 876).

Les mauvaises terres. Steveville #Alberta #Canada #canadianbadlands #explorealberta #specialareas

A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on

Whenever I swing through the southeast, the road home is seldom the most direct route. Last Sunday was no exception.  On the way back from  balmy Brooks, the brood and I veered north towards the Red Deer River, taking Secondary Highway 876 into the heart of Special Areas #2. We traced the CNR’s abandoned “Peavine” rail spur north from Steveville,  stopping to photographs some ruins and ruminants, before concluding our brief sojourn with a stroll down the breezy boulevards of Sunnynook.

Continue reading Road Trip: Meandering along the “Peavine” (Hwy 876).