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.
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.
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.
(Hover over image to activate slideshow options – Slides courtesy of Glen Lundeen / prairie-towns.com)
The launch of Prairie-towns.com signals yet another online endeavour to preserve the history and heritage of Western Canadian communities.
Contained within the collection are over 2700 photos, many postcard images, from 400+ communities throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. Amongst the total is are several pioneer-era postcards from southeast Alberta communities such as Alderson, Chinook, Orion and Suffield (see above) that have withered considerably, or disappeared altogether since the images were captured.
Happy belated New Year to everyone! Owing to a career change and relocation over the Christmas break, I have been unable to post until today. My sincerest apologies.
With 3-5 feet of snow piling up in my yard at the moment, now is a nice time to reflect on the first Forgotten Alberta road trip back in 2003. I was living in Lethbridge with my wife to be, and on a hot and still August day we set out eastbound along Highway 61 into Forty Mile County to see what we could see.