Update: A copy of the Majorville Landscape Management Plan, prepared in March 2012, was submitted to Vulcan County Council for review on March 4. Click here to read more.
Late in 2014, Hanna-area farmer, Gottlob Schmidt, known as “Schmitty”, became a celebrity of sorts after it was announced he had donated of 940 acres (380 hectares) of his own land to be established as Antelope Hill Provincial Park. Situated on undisturbed native grassland, Antelope Hill is not yet open to the public, as Mr. Schmidt still resides there, part-time anyway, on the farm his family has owned since 1933. However, at some point in the future the park will be opened, with opportunities for low-impact day-use being made available to the public, including hiking, nature appreciation and wildlife viewing.
The announcement is significant, not only because of Schmitty’s uncommon foresight and generosity; but also because Antelope Hill is the first provincial park to be created in southeastern Alberta in almost 50 years, the last being Tillebrook (between Tilley and Brooks) in 1965.
A great article below from the August 1, 2014 edition of the Prairie Post by Rose Sanchez detailing the contributions of many towards a successful heritage marker application for the village of Bow City.
Former Bow City site to get a heritage marker
The former site of what was meant to be a metropolis — Bow City — will be remembered for years to come with an Alberta heritage marker.
Vulcan County officials were successful in seeing their application approved. It was submitted to the Heritage Markers Program at the end of January.
The program is meant to support the installation of markers that “promote greater awareness of the historic people, places, events and themes that have defined the character of the province.”
Jonathan Koch, who operates the Forgotten Alberta website which showcases history of the southeast corner of the province, was instrumental in helping pull the application together, along with Liza Dawber, grants and program co-ordinator for Vulcan County.
Vulcan County officials have become more aware of the history in their area since starting the municipal heritage partnership project in 2011.
“This is a very cool, interesting story,” says Dawber, about Bow City. “We’ve become much more aware of some of the very interesting stories that happened throughout time in Vulcan County.”
Good news everyone! From the Brooks Bulletin, intrepid scribe Rob Brown informs the masses that the Province of Alberta has approved Vulcan County’s application for a historical marker at the site of the former Village of Bow City (reproduced below).
A big thank you is owed to Liza Dawber and Vulcan County for their work approving and submitting the Heritage Marker application, and the community partners who supported the application.
Bow City getting village status historical marker
Just in time for next week’s 100th anniversary of becoming a village, Bow City has been awarded a historical marker noting the fact.
On July 13, 1914 Bow City was incorporated as a village.
Last week, Jonathan Koch, an avid historian working on the recognition project, said the province notified him a marker is forthcoming.
He says it is important to recognize the past.
“We certainly do run the risk of losing our history if these aren’t marked and people aren’t doing the work,” he says.
Notice is hereby given, in accordance with the provision of the Village Act in that behalf that, by order of the Minister if Municipal Affairs in the following area; namely: North-east quarter of Section 9 and the west half of Section 10 in Township 17 Range 17 west of the Fourth Meridian has been erected a Village under the name of the Village of Bow City of the Province of Alberta.
Dated at Edmonton this Thirteenth day of July 1914.
Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs
With the above notice, which appeared on p.692 of the 1914 Alberta Gazette v. 10, a collection of domiciles, shacks and commercial establishments scattered across 800 acres of barren prairie was organized into the Village of Bow City.
Effective July 13, 1914, Bow City’s incorporation as a village, for a brief time, offered hope for boosters and believers alike that their schemes and dreams centred around a coal mine in the dried-out middle of nowhere would be realized.
Although the village hung on for over three-and-a-half years, its fate was in question within weeks of the above proclamation. Undercut by the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, and unable to secure a railroad, the Village of Bow City never stood a chance.
What did Bow City look like on the eve of incorporation? The following images provide a glimpse into the village born unlucky:
According to Dr. Schmitt, all that remains of the “Bow City Crater” today is “a semicircular depression eight kilometres across with a central peak”. However, evidence suggests that a meteor strike within the last 70 million years left a crater that was initally eight-kilometres wide, 1.6 to 2.4 km deep, and produced an explosion “strong enough to destroy present-day Calgary”.
“An impact of this magnitude would kill everything for quite a distance,” stated the professor in a UofA media release. “If it happened today, Calgary (200 km to the northwest) would be completely fried and in Edmonton (500 km northwest), every window would have been blown out. Something of that size, throwing that much debris in the air, potentially would have global consequences; there could have been ramifications for decades.”
In an interview with Calgary Herald’s Colette Derworiz, Dr. Schmitt described the site of the discovery, a vast expanse of grazing lease and farm land about 30 miles southwest of Brooks as: “…probably one of the most boring places. It’s beautiful, but it’s flatline and in that sense it’s quite boring.”
As it turns out, I happened to spend a considerable chunk of my youth living a few miles west of this beautiful, boring and flatline place; on a farm situated in an area formerly known as Kinnondale.