Monday, 25 September 2017

From 1925 until 1963, the train came through Esther three days a week with freight, mail and grain cars. There never was a station or a station master in Esther. This little building served as the storage shed and a small waiting room. Sometime after 1963, groceries and freight were no longer hauled by train and this little building was purchased by Bruce Pratt and moved to his farmyard where it remains today. It is a small piece of the community history that has been preserved and is still standing straight and proud.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

If you look on Facebook you will notice that several people travel through Esther because of the elevator and often take photos of the several abandoned buildings there.
The Esther Garage was built in the early 1940's and has changed hands many times since then. Clayton Ball and Harry Hunter built the garage to keep their truck in, Clayton also sold Fargo trucks for a few years. The Office portion was even used as a schoolroom for a few years. In 1949 Sam McKnight bought the garage and started a welding and repair shop, Jim Pratt was his first mechanic. In the early 50's Henry Kroeger bought the garage and sole Massey Harris machinery and Dodge cars, Henery's brother George ran the garage and was the mechanic. In about 1955 Bruce Pratt bought the garage and his brother Roy who is a heavy duty mechanic ran it for him. The last and current owner of the garage is Bill Dalton and today it is used for storage and is very photogenic for the passing photographers searching for the next abandoned building to take a photo of and post on one of the great Facebook sites.

Friday, 8 September 2017

I often pick up the Esther History Book and browse through it, this morning I came across several wedding pictures and thought I might post a few of my friend's wedding photos.
Roxie (Miller) Pratt from Loverna and Roy Pratt from Esther dated for some time and then became engaged and decided to be life partners. They were married on July 17, 1964, and celebrated 53 years of marriage this summer. I remember the tiny little trailer they first lived in and eventually upgraded to a bigger trailer and in turn poured a basement and developed their existing home around that trailer, including a swimming pool and hot tub. Their home was always the gathering place for the ball club and many fantastic pool parties were held there. Happy Anniversary Roxie and Roy, with many more to come.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

This statue, named after Peter Fidler, a Hudson Bay fur trader and surveyor, commemorates the bicentennial of Elk Point in 1992 and the history of fur trading posts in the region. The wooden chainsaw-carved statue measures 9.8 m (32 ft) tall and is located at the north end of Elk Point on Highway 41. 

As the 19th century dawned. No other Hudson Bay employee had as much experience in the way of the people of the plains and woodlands as Peter Fidler. He lived his life as a dedicated family man. His Cree wife, Mary was his lifelong companion who traveled with him during his explorations. In 1796  he initiated the building of the first river boats in Alberta, he received a letter from George Sutherland the chief factor at Edmonton House in the fall instructing him to build two boats to send to Edmonton House in the spring. Peter Fidler was an easy going man and traveled his Hudson Bay territory with little antagonism and was respected by all he encountered.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Herefords and Hereford Breeders in East Central Alberta raised some of the best cattle in the world. John Hagens Sr. had a dream for many years of owning a ranch, his dream began to come true when he met a gentleman by the name of Alvin Hempkin in his hometown in Germany. Alvin told him of his life in a small village in Alberta called Esther with acres of wide-open spaces. John had heard enough, he left Germany and arrived in Esther in September of 1928. When he arrived in Esther he purchased one cow for $40.00  and a short time later bought a few more. During the 30's times were very difficult and each farmer could only keep 3 or 4 cows. In the early 40's the weather changed and life got better and John purchased purebred Herefords from local breeders, Beynon, Westerlund, and Haberfield. They named the ranch Wheatsheaf Ranch and in 1944 John was presented with his life membership to the Candian Hereford Association. Today this same ranch now known as Hagen Valley Ranches is operated by John Sr's sons John Jr., Erwin and their families.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

                                                        The Royal Cafe, Loverna Sk.
I remember the Cafe in Loverna, but I don't remember ever hanging out there much.
In 1914 a one story building was moved into Loverna an upstairs was built on the building and this became the Royal Cafe. There were four Chinese Gentlemen who operated this cafe in early years, three of them moved on and Harry Seto stayed and operated the Cafe. Everyone would dash to the cafe after dances for a quick lunch. The upstairs rooms were rented out for overnight guests.
Harry had a unique sense of humor and often had things to say about people in his own Chinese humor. Harry looked on Marlyn (Red) Warrington with special affection, He was often heard to say "Marlyn crazy like hell." Vic and Liz Volk bought the cafe from Harry in 1963 and kept it open until 1965.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Sibbald, Alberta 1920, as long as I can remember, Sibbald was always a hub of excitement. Sports days on the 24th of May weekend were always lots of fun and the weather was usually very unpredictable. It might be a beautiful sunny day or it could snow part way through a baseball game. In later years we traveled to Sibbald for disking bonspiels and the infamous Sibbald Carnival, this is a story for another day. If you look at the photo above and Sibbald today it shows how small towns that flourished during the early years slowly go backward when modern technology comes to play. I have so many fond memories of social activities in Sibbald and often travel back there just for a look and a few memories. The Sibbald AWP elevator was the last Pool elevator that I hauled grain to when we were still on the farm. I have been very fortunate to have inherited my mother's history book collection, 22 in total, hopefully, I can share some of these great articles and memories with my friends here on my blog and on Facebook.