The goal of #FABTrip21 is to take you, the viewer, on a virtual tour of southern Alberta’s out-of-the-way places and spaces, which we do for less, saving you time and money as you follow along with your personal device (that was a bit of a stretch for a pun, I know). We kicked off a smoky Saturday in August with a trip to the hamlet of Byemoor, a nifty little locale on the edge of the drybelt.
According to “Still God’s Country: the early history of Byemoor and area”, the community of Byemoor was first known as “Wilson’s Siding,” as the townsite was built on land purchased in 1924 from homesteader, Jack Wilson. The name “Byemoor” was reportedly suggested by another settler, Leonard Browne, who was born at Stockton-on-Tees in England, which apparently is also known as “By-the- Moor.” As the story goes, several names were suggested for the fledgling burg, with Browne’s suggestion, Byemoor, being drawn from a hat by his son, Buster. I was informed around 25 people live in the hamlet today, which is part of the County of Stettler No. 6.
Lumbering along in Byemoor.
“Byemoor, Alberta.”, (CU1108508) by . Courtesy of Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary – Photo dated 1932
“Established in 1908, the Hartshorn Post Office served this pioneer agricultural settlement midway between Stettler and Hanna. From 1911 until the Canadian National Railway completed a branch line to nearby Byemoor in 1925, Hartshorn flourished as a community and recreational center. After 1925 the general store and Farmers Cooperative Creamery were moved away, leaving the Anglican Mission. A young Anglican clergyman fresh from Worcester, England, the Rev. H.E. Scallon arrived in 1913 and directed construction of a mission house the next year. Both before and after it was rebuilt following a fire in 1920, his “Epiphany Mission” served as the community centre of Hartshorn and the lodgings for assorted visitors. When necessary, it accommodated the post office, court proceedings, polling station, Red Cross branch and flu epidemic relief center. After the Rev. Mr. Scallon left in 1928, Hartshorn continue to be the region’s Anglican mission centre, but in 1934 the main building moved to Byemoor to be rededicated the next year as Saint Paul’s Anglican Church.” The above is an excerpt from a roadside heritage marker near Byemoor entitled “Hartshorn and the “Epiphany” Mission”. I was fortunate to meet the present owner of the church when I stopped in the hamlet of Byemoor. She informed me the last service held in the church was Christmas Eve 2011. These days the church is used occasionally as a space for artists to exhibit their work.
Mission shown was third built; first was destroyed by hail and second by fire. “Anglican mission, Hartshorn, Alberta.”, (CU1108507) by . Courtesy of Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary – Photo dated c. 1924
Reverend Scallon, left; Reverend John Evans, right. “Reverend J.J. Evans and Reverend H.E. Scallon anglican clergymen, Byemoor area, Alberta.”, (CU1108570) by . Courtesy of Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary – Photo dated Nov. 11, 1935
Although the Canadian National Railway’s Hanna to Warden line was initially surveyed in 1912, construction on the line didn’t begin for another twelve years. According to “Still God’s Country”, when the long-awaited rail link arrived in Byemoor in September 1925, farmers in the area had already delivered around 223,000 bushels of grain to Byemoor siding to be shipped. In anticipation of many bumper crops to come, Byemoor’s elevator row quickly took shape, with three elevators gracing the community’s skyline by 1928.
“Byemoor, Alberta.”, (CU1108556) by . Courtesy of Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary – Photo dated 1940
On Hanna-Warden line. Push teams and dump wagons being loaded. “Canadian National Railways grading between Endiang and Byemoor, Alberta.”, (CU1127362) by . Courtesy of Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary – Photo dated 1925.