Tag Archives: graveyard

#FABTrip15: Pte. John Harold Fenton of Cavendish, Lest We Forget

 

John Harold Fenton reported for duty on June 10, 1918. A farmer’s son from the windswept plain at Cavendish, Alberta, young Fenton was just 17 when he journeyed west to Calgary to enlist in the Alberta Regiment of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  Possibly driven by patriotism, a desire for adventure, or the need to escape the dusty desolation of the drybelt, Private Fenton signed up just as the Great War was drawing to a close. While Germany’s forces on the Western Front were nearing defeat by October 1918, another deadly foe was emerging from the east, this time closer to home. Read more at www.forgottenalberta.com #LestWeForget #Alberta #Canada #RemembranceDay #WW1 #abandoned #forgotten #pioneer #cemetery #history #mybadlands #FABTrip15 @gregfarries

A photo posted by Jonathan Koch (@forgotten_alberta) on

John Harold Fenton reported for duty on June 10, 1918. A farmer’s son from the windswept plain at Cavendish, Alberta, young Fenton was just 17 when he journeyed west to Calgary to enlist in the Alberta Regiment of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.  Possibly driven by patriotism, a desire for adventure, or the need to escape the dusty desolation of the drybelt, Private Fenton signed up just as the Great War was drawing to a close. While Germany’s forces on the Western Front were nearing defeat by October 1918, another deadly foe  was emerging from the east, this one closer to home.

Continue reading #FABTrip15: Pte. John Harold Fenton of Cavendish, Lest We Forget

Update: Alderson up in smoke

An update on Alderson, the past remains of which appear to have gone up in smoke. It appears a prairie fire swept through the area around August 14-15, leveling what little was left of the former village.

Following up on his comment in an earlier post, Forgotten Alberta reader, Greg, has forwarded a number of pictures depicting what he found when he visited the former village a few days ago.

As he mentioned in his comment, much of what is left resembles a moonscape; although I am struck by the site of green grass in late September, a rarity itself in southeastern Alberta. The state of Alderson today also stands in stark contrast with what I found there in late July, when abundant overgrowth had overtaken and obscured the entire townsite.

With the bones of this bygone village now exposed, I sincerely hope it will not be besieged by pickers and plunderers, rooting for souvenirs within the newly scorched earth. In my opinion, the value of this site extends far beyond being a place to be plundered for period trinkets and souvenirs.

Scrolling through the images below, I can’t help but wonder how the former village of Alderson is any less significant than any number of the 12,500 historic places listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places? Curiously, the site of Canadian Pacific Langevin Number 1 and 2 Gas Wells, listed as the site of the discovery of natural gas in Alberta (and possibly Canada), was recognized in 1981, and the cairn commemorating this event is literally across the road from the Carlstadt / Alderson townsite.

It seems a glaring and obvious oversight that the subsequent settlement was not included, especially considering the circumstances of its decline, and the historic value of this community as an illustration of the collective history of southeastern Alberta’s homestead period. Of course, this designation preceded the publication of Empire of Dust, without which we might have already forgotten about this forsaken village long ago.

To me, there are many reasons for seeking some sort of protection and recognition for this site, and the recent prairie fire underscores the need even further.

The experiences of the people here helped shape our province. As a descendant of southeastern Alberta pioneers, this place is sacred to me.

It deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

AldersonABSept26-2014-(42)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(16)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(41)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(8)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(13)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(6)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(7)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(5)-web AldersonABSept26-2014-(4)-web

 

Related:

Alderson: The past remains

At Alderson, a former village along the Canadian Pacific Railway mainline, northwest of Medicine Hat, time and freight roll on – but the past remains.

To echo the thoughts included within the preface to Empire of Dust (see below), it should be a historic site. There are stories to be told there.

Split personality. 

X” marks the spot.

Looking southeast down Bowell Street, Alderson

Related:

Alderson Cemetery

At Alderson Cemetery, the dead of a halcyon era keep silent vigil over a community that, like themselves, passed from existence long ago.

Volunteers from the Redcliff Lions Club maintain the cemetery here, ensuring that a century after its founding, the spirit of this bygone community lives on.

A few notes on the video: The gas plant down the road was the source of (most of) the incessant ambient humming in the video. Fortunately, the drone was punctuated by occasional contributions from the local meadowlark and other feathered friends.

Most importantly, many thanks to my better half, Amanda, for tackling the voiceover; and also for selecting the poem, “But not forgotten”, by American poet, Dorothy Parker.

Exploring Palliser’s Grave

Mark Cogan, an award-winning film maker currently based in Ireland, recently visited the gravesite of Captain John Palliser,  located at Comeragh Church, Briska, Co. Waterford, Ireland.  The Irish explorer whose name adorns the exceptionally brown segment of Alberta’s southeast we call Palliser’s Triangle, was laid to rest well over a century ago in this particularly verdant corner of the Emerald Isle:

Mark, who is no stranger to Palliser’s Triangle, is relocating to our great province in April. With any luck the proprietor of Medicine Hat Films will turn his considerable talent toward documenting the wide open spaces of Alberta’s southeast!

Here are a couple more pictures Mr. Cogan kindly furnished me with from his visit, including a close-up of a plaque commemorating Palliser’s contribution to Alberta’s development, courtesy of the Province of Alberta:

Palliser_grave image