Category Archives: The Map

#FABTrip15: St. Julien School

St. Julien School was named for the First World War battle of St. Julien, part of the Second Battle of Ypres, which took place in Belgium during the spring of 1915. The Second Battle of Ypres was significant as it marked the first time chlorine gas was used by German forces to inflict mass casualties on Allied troops. The Canadian victory at St. Julien also marked the first time an armed force from a former European colony had prevailed on European soil. According to the Esther community history, locals met at Chris Torgerson’s farm in 1918, voting 9-2 in favour of building a school. After considering Vimy Ridge and Rutherlands as possible names, school trustees agreed on St. Julien to honour the famous victory. The school opened in 1918, and remained in operation until 1955, closing after a new school in Esther negated the need for St. Julien. #alberta #canada #military #history #pioneer #schoolhouse #war #ww1 #worldwarone #ypres #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries

A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on


#FABTrip15: Majorville Medicine Wheel

2015 Forgotten Alberta road trip kicked off Sat. with a visit to Majorville Medicine Wheel #FABTrip15 #mybadlands

A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on

The August long weekend has come and gone, and with it, the 2015 Forgotten Alberta Road Trip . Following much debate over appropriate hastags, Greg Farries and I started our three-day excursion in a major way, visiting the Majorville Medicine Wheel, situated in a  remote area of Vulcan County.

Over the next three days, we would partake in a whirlwind tour of Alberta’s southeastern corner, logging around 1200 dry and dusty kilometres in an effort to see what there is to see. Continue reading #FABTrip15: Majorville Medicine Wheel

Thank you.


So many people to thank for this terrific honour. Thanks to @gregfarries , Rose & Ryan at the @PrairiePostAlta , Liza Dawber & Vulcan County, and of course my wife and best friend, Amanda. This couldn’t have happened without your support. #ABheritage #ABforum14 #canadianbadlands #Alberta #history

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Alberta Culture has posted a summary of the Heritage Awards celebration in Red Deer. The post includes a link to photos of this year’s recipients and presenters. Flip through and have a look at some of this year’s worthy recipients.

Another post with more photos is on the Alberta Heritage Resources Foundation blog, Retroactive.

The story of Forgotten Alberta

On March 14, I was privileged to join a diverse lineup of presenters at Medicine Hat’s Esplanade Heritage and Cultural Centre for the second Pecha Kucha Night of 2014.

It was an interesting and informative night for all involved, and I’d like to thank Pecha Kucha organizers for inviting me to present.

For those who missed it, or who are looking to kill roughly seven minutes, I’m happy to present the Story of Forgotten Alberta.

Drought and desolation erased Kinnondale from the map

My dad's granaries, alongside the former site of Kinnondale School, in 2007. None of the antique farm equipment or structures, including the converted residence of homesteaders named Hartley on the right, remain today.

What a difference a decade makes.

In 2003, my beloved Calgary Flames embarked on a season that would end one victory short of a Stanley Cup championship. A return to playoff form this season seems, well, very unlikely.

Ten years ago, the province of Alberta was on the verge of becoming debt-free, and would record a $2 billion budgetary surplus. Ten years later, not so much.

For the first settlers of southeastern Alberta, the contrast between 1916 and 1926 was also striking.

Following consecutive above-average harvests in 1915-16, a casual observer might have concluded that the region was on its way to becoming the economic powerhouse of the province.

Ten years later, the southeast was verging on economic and societal collapse. Settlers were leaving the land in droves after a decade of drought and extreme natural events strained the resolve of even the hardiest homesteaders.

Nowhere was the change in fortune more evident than in the former Kinnondale district, situated in northeastern Vulcan County.

Continue reading Drought and desolation erased Kinnondale from the map