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.
A video posted on Facebook by Logan Biesterfeldt shows the store already completely engulfed, as locals scramble to contain the fire on a frost Xmas morning.
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.
Boyd and the store were subjects of a video short by director, Sean Thonson, of Travel Alberta fame (“Remember to Breathe”) called “Passing Orion“.
Founded about 1925, the now extinct settlement of Naco, Alberta derived its name from a town and former military post on the Arizona – Mexico border. According to the font of all knowledge, Wikipedia, the word “Naco” means “nopal cactus” in the extinct Ópata language of Sonora in Mexico. Wikipedia also states that “nopal” is a common name in Mexican Spanish for Opuntia cacti, commonly referred to as Prickly Pear. The Opuntia polyacantha, or Plains Prickly Pear, is a hardy variety of cactus found in Southern Alberta that thrives in sunny, hot, and dry locations, such as Naco. #Alberta #Canada #mybadlands #explorealberta #specialareas #rolandschool
First of all, I have to apologize that it has taken me so long to get this post online. The pace of my personal and professional life has ramped up considerably, leaving me with less and less time to devote to my passion, the Forgotten Alberta project. However, on the flip side. I’m truly blessed through the course of my work to be able to work alongside many passionate and dedicated rural Alberta residents who are making their communities better places to live. Last month I was honoured to spend time in Veteran, Consort, and Oyen, where I interviewed local residents, and learned about rural leadership, and the challenges of keeping healthcare professionals in rural communities. I also encountered a stretch of glorious summer weather (one of the few this year), and some spectacular scenery in my travels throughout the Special Areas.
Continue reading A glorious summer sojourn in the Special Areas
Every Saturday Night, Tom Radford, National Film Board of Canada
Hat tip to Dan Overes over at DanOCan for digging up this gem from the vaults of the National Film Board called, Every Saturday Night. Filmed in 1973, Alberta’s generational changing of the guard is captured in grainy technicolour, as the last vestiges of our pioneer-era culture struggle to remain relevant amidst the formidable social and political shift that accompanied the Lougheed-era and the boom .
Continue reading 1973: I barely knew ye
You are invited to attend the “End of the Season BBQ” and a historic Train Station Birthday Bash at the Galt Historic Railway Park in Stirling!
Continue reading BBQ and Birthday Bash coming up at Galt Railway Park in Stirling
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.
Continue reading #FABTrip16: Chatting with an icon in Orion