Tag Archives: Peel’s Prairie Provinces

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

History books, websites help uncover the southeast’s forgotten history


Many local histories from Alberta communities can be found online.

I received an early Christmas present this year.

Out of the blue, a reader of this column offered me two local histories from his collection, and I was happy to accept. I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude to Frank Horvath of Barrhead, Alberta for his kind donation.

I developed a love of local histories as I learned about my own family, who homesteaded in southeastern Alberta over a century ago. Local histories— compilations of unvarnished recollections and grainy photos of intrepid homesteaders and their descendents—are often the only record that exists of Alberta pioneer families, and the communities that grew and often withered around them.

Continue reading History books, websites help uncover the southeast’s forgotten history

Bow City – The village born unlucky

Many thanks to the Historical Society of Alberta, and the legendary Mr. Hugh Dempsey, CM, for the opportunity to share a decade’s worth of research on the former village of Bow City. Below is the piece in its entirety in the Winter 2012 edition of Alberta History:

Bow City Alberta History (Refresh if iFrame does not appear)

Handy historical and genealogical resources for Albertans

As Albertans we are truly fortunate to have a wealth of free digital resources with which to explore our community or family histories.

A couple of exciting new initiatives have recently debuted which, had they existed in their current form five years ago, would have saved me a few trips up the QEII. Continue reading Handy historical and genealogical resources for Albertans