2020 Update

Hi all – just a quick update to let you know the Forgotten Alberta project is alive and kicking, but busy social distancing.

For those who can’t wait for the next installment, there is much in the works behind the scenes, which I’m hoping to share with you later this spring.

In the meantime, for those of you who are interested in catching up, you can find me easily online via:

Forgotten Alberta is coming to Brooks

A quick note for any and all who are interested: I will be speaking about topics related to history in the Brooks area on October 5 at the Brooks Public Library.

I will also be airing my latest project, Above and Beyond, a short documentary about Bassano’s flying doctor, Alexander G. Scott, for all in attendance.

Many thanks to the Alberta Genealogical Society, Brooks and District Branch, for asking me to stop by and to ramble a bit about my old stomping grounds.

The Lund Home

“Here on these prairie plains I stay,
Wanting nevermore to stray,
The winter days will come once more,
And north winds whistle ’round the door.

For always in my heart I sing
The song of a wondrous prairie spring,
And the melody to me so dear,
Is only this – My home is here.”

– An excerpt from “My Home Is Here.” by Lydia Montallan of Carseland.

Originally published in the June 1947 issue of Canadian Cattleman, “My Home Is Here” appears alongside an article about Otelie Lund in “The Piegan Country”, a 1966 history of the Maleb area of S.E. Alberta. Natives of Norway, Ms. Lund (b. 1880) and her husband, Lars, settled in what was known as the Glen Banner district in 1909. The Lunds built a two-storey home in 1917, a local landmark which still stands to this day on a hilltop five miles north of present-day Orion (pictured).

The hardships were many for Ms. Lund. Widowed when she was 70, fifteen years later she was still feeding cattle, chopping wood, hauling coal, and living without electricity. A 1965 article in the Medicine Hat News celebrated her as a “living example of true pioneer spirit and courage”:

“Mrs. Lund, who did not have a family to raise, has not seen a relative since coming to this country in 1909. She had left behind in Norway a large family of sisters and brothers when she came with her new husband on the new venture. Perhaps all her dreams weren’t realized, but building a new life in a new country has brought many satisfactions to Mrs. Lund as she now looks back on it all and treasures each precious memory of old times, old days, old friends.”

Ms. Lund passed away ten years later at the age of 95.

Above and Beyond: The living legacy of Dr. Alexander G. Scott

Can you imagine a small-town doctor with an airplane, visiting patients all around southern Alberta 100 years ago?

For almost 40 years, Bassano’s Dr. Alexander Gladstone Scott worked around the clock, tending to the well-being of the surrounding frontier communities. With patients spread across many miles, he took to the roads, and then to the skies, going “Above and Beyond” to care for prairie people in the days before public health care.

In a video produced by Jonathan F. Koch and the Forgotten Alberta Project, with the cooperation of Bassano Medical Clinic, the Town of Bassano, and the Rural Health Professions Action Plan (RhPAP), we celebrate the living legacy of Dr. A.G. Scott: An innovator, pioneer, and prairie trailblazer.

Continue reading Above and Beyond: The living legacy of Dr. Alexander G. Scott

“And God Created Manyberries”

“You’d like Manyberries if you ever came to visit. You might even fall in love with the place and decide to spend the rest of your life here. Nobody would ever address you as stranger because there are no strangers allowed in Manyberries. That is to say that people here are so friendly they see you as a potential friend the first time they meet you.” – Ron Wood, And God Created Manyberries

Chronicling the pioneer-era people and places of the southern Alberta drybelt. 2014 Alberta Heritage Resources Foundation Heritage Awareness Award recipient.