I was honoured this past year to be asked to submit several pieces to the recently-released Lomond and District history book. I have written several articles about this are since starting the Forgotten Alberta project, many of which are based on previous compositions and columns now buried within the deepest, darkest recesses of this blog. One such article was the following history of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s Suffield Subdivision. Originally a two-parter, I have combined both articles into a single essay, which hopefully is an improvement.
I am also grateful to Jason Paul Sailer, Alberta heritage hero, founder of the Ogilvie Wooden Grain Elevator Society, and editor of the Galt Railway Museum blog, for his assistance editing this article, and for adding the recent history of the both Suffield / Lomond and Kipp /Turin CPR Subdivisions. Read on, and let me know what you think!
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.
This prairie outpost, 20 miles north of Taber, has bounced back from a calamitous period during the ‘90s and early 2000’s when the town lost its rail line, elevators and an alfalfa dehydration plant.
Successive misfortunes plunged the community into an existential crisis, prompting the mayor to tell an Edmonton reporter in 2006: “I love Vauxhall, but geographically, some days it feels like we’re in the middle of the wrong place.”
Six years on, Vauxhall enjoys a renewed lease on life. These are prosperous days for a town buoyed by irrigation, oil and gas exploration and high school baseball, a fact reflected by a 20 per cent growth in the town’s population since ’06.
Vauxhall’s road to redemption hasn’t been without a few ruts. The town suffered a relapse in 2010, following an unsuccessful campaign by some ratepayers to dissolve the town into the surrounding M.D. of Taber.
However, in this dry and desolate corner of the West, where town and country are at the mercy of volatile weather and commodity markets, it’s never a good idea to get too comfortable.
This is a lesson the former residents of Retlaw, a dusty drive six miles west of Vauxhall, learned all too well during the drought-ridden ‘20s and ‘30s.
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: