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.

Monday, 28 August 2017

In 1961, the community of Hoosier decided to build a local golf course and in 1962 their dream was realized when a Club House was built and with the help of local residents so was the golf course. Over the years the membership was as high as 100 active members to as few as 15. My parents learned to golf on this course and became very ardent members and golfers in Hoosier. I remember many family Sundays spent golfing in Hoosier. Mom and Dad ventured over to the golf course on a regular basis and soon became close friends with Don and Babe Stevens and traveled the countryside with them to many golf tournaments. I am not a golfer but do remember trying to whack that little white ball and look like I knew what I was doing, all for not of course so I stayed playing ball.

Friday, 25 August 2017

In 1982 the CNR railroad was dismantled from Coleville, Sk. to Sedalia, Ab. There were mountains of railroad ties piled in various locations. Some of them were in very good condition and selected to be shipped to Los Angeles to be used for landscaping. I was commissioned to haul these ties to a central location so they could be sorted and graded to be shipped to their appropriate destinations. It was a lot of hard work bundling and loading the ties so they would stay on the trailer, being oddly sized they didn't always want to stay in place.
The photo above is the last load of variously sized ties that I loaded and removed from the stock pile in Hoosier Sk.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

On Sunday, June 25, 2017, we traveled through the back country and ended up at the Cardinal Divide, it is a very slow but beautiful drive up the Elk River Road to the Trunk Road and then on into Cadomin, through the Valley to Mountain Park which is the headwater of the McCleod River. We stopped at the Mountain Park Cemetary to pay respects to some of Chris's family members who resided in the town of Mountain Park. The Cheviot Coal Mine is adjacent to the Cemetary, the historical and the modern all in one valley. The elevation at Mountain Park is about 5800 feet, the Cemetary is at 6200 feet. Mountain Park was known as the highest civilized point in Canada at one time. Due to generally declining coal markets, the residents of Mountain Park moved to other towns and the town itself soon became a ghost town, some moved their homes board by board from there to a new location, several of these were moved more than once. We had the opportunity to have dinner with a lady who lived in Mountain Park, we will be going back with her in tow to absorb more of the history of this fascinating part of our Alberta History.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

In the early years of building and getting children to country schools, was sometimes an adventure.
The "School Van" pictured here was one of six that were used in the Hoosier Saskatchewan School District No. 1145. There were six different routes that were tendered on by local farmers and townspeople. They were tendered spring and fall and driven by the winning tenderer or his or her spouse, son or hired man. During the thirties, the tenderers were paid an allowance that went against their land tax. The Vans were constructed of wood with a canvas enclosure and was designed to run on wheels in the spring, and fall and could be converted to sleigh runners for winter. There was even a little wood stove inside to keep everyone warm and cozy. These Vans were eventually replaced by motorized School Buses, which made life much easier for all, drivers and students alike. Hoosier is a few Km. east of the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, north of Marengo Sk. and not very far from where I grew up and lived for many years.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

In the early days, there were schools situated in very unique places, usually when small communities felt the need for a school in their area. This particular school was located a few km NE of the town of Esther, it is the Claremont School District No. 3018. The school district was formed in 1913 and plans were made to build a school, the community took out debentures from the government, a carpenter was hired and with volunteer labor, the dream became a reality. The school was situated on Neil Blue Sr's land and since he had come from a town in Ontario called Claremont, that was the name given to the school. For many years the school was also used as the United Church and ministers came from Compeer to give the Sunday Sermon. The last records of teachers and activity in the school were in 1940-41, it seems the school closed after that year. The school still stands today on the Blue farm north of Esther.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

When I was growing up and learning to curl, one of my hero's was Ron Northcott. One of his curling mates was Fred Storey from Empress, Alberta, pictured in the center, he threw lead rocks for Northcott. This team of professional curlers Won the Alberta Championship seven times, Canadian Champions three times and World Champions three times.  Fred is a member of the CCA Hall of Fame and also the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. Fred started his curling career at the age of 13, by hanging out at the old curling rink in Empress, substituting whenever he could. This is a great achievement for a young lad from the tiny little town of Empress.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Lundbreck Falls, just a bit west of the town of Lundbreck along Highway 3 is typically a lazy little fall with a 30-meter drop. Last Sunday we stopped there and grabbed a few shots, it is roaring over the rocks and is incredibly loud with a spray mist. I was told that there is still parts of the high country that still has a lot of snow and the run-off has only just begun. I am always awed by this little falls and have photographed it in all seasons and many variations, including one with the train in the background. It is well worth the drive from Black Diamond past Longview and on down to Lundbreck on a Sunday afternoon. The scenery is incredible and the drive is very relaxing.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

                                                         Wenger Heights School
Wenger Heights School was situated southwest of Esther, it was built in 1914 making it the second oldest school in the Esther area.It was situated on a high point of land on the NW 29-30-3-W4 on land owned by J.D. Wenger. The school operated from 1914 until 1934 when there were only eight students attending, in 1937 the School District was incorporated into the Acadia School Division and students had by that time gone to several different schools in the area. As many of the old schools from this era, they were bought by local farmers and either used for grain storage or for shops. This particular school was moved to New Brigden and then eventually purchased by Innozenz Hertz who in turn tore it down for the lumber.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Sharing my Experiences.
During the winter of 1968 my friend and neighbor, Ron Barnett, asked me if I would like to work on a seismic crew. I discussed it with my parents and they suggested it would be a fantastic experience. After Christmas, I drove with Ron to Hanna, Alberta to begin my career with Velocity Surveys, a Seismic company from Calgary. We spent a couple weeks living in the old Seymour Hotel and working south of Youngstown, near Big Stone, after that, we moved to a camp job south of Grande Prairie on the Kakwaw River. We spent the winter there and at breakup moved all the trucks and drills back to Calgary.
The following winter I went back and had the opportunity to work on the survey crew, eventually ending up behind an instrument, working with two great guys, Bill Pajak and Brian McBride. When spring came, instead of shutting down, we all boarded a plane and ended up in the Arctic on Prince Patrick Island at a place called Satellite Bay. When I stepped off that airplane, it was -60 F and very windy. I asked myself, what on earth possessed you to do this? Well, long story short we stayed there from April 1 until July 1 and I got to experience 24 hours a day daylight and had the opportunity to work with some great people, who became lifelong friends. When I got home I helped on the farm then back to a crew doing Gravity Exploration near Caroline. My younger brother Brian joined me on this crew and that is where he began his career as a surveyor. He too has had some fantastic adventures throughout BC., Ab., NWT and now in Saskatchewan with Stantec.
All in all the many different experiences I had during my time on seismic crews prepared me for the rest of my life, preparing me for life's experiences and allowing me the ability to be able to work with confidence in myself.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

A New Twist.
Blogging is something I never thought I would do, today I am trying something new.
I normally try and include some history from where I grew up and surrounding communities, today I am going to write about something different.
I joined several photography pages on Facebook and find them interesting and enjoyable. Photography is my hobby not my business, at one time I thought it would be fun to be a starving artist but now I just enjoy taking photos and posting them for others to enjoy. I have made so many new friends on these sites and I have to say it is a great place to meet many wonderful people. Sharing our photos and stories that are part of our many weekend adventures, have become trips we excitedly look forward too all week.
It is amazing how many abandoned structures there are in Alberta, we find farmsteads, churches,
schools and ghost towns in all parts of the province. In areas northeast of Edmonton, the European
influence abounds some beautiful old churches and schools. In one particular area we found a Romanian church and a school built completely of stone. Recently my friend and I went back to the area and discovered two abandoned churches still standing and in reasonably good shape. We also discovered a beautiful old stone house, built from stones out of Beaverhill Lake.
I hope to write more of these type of blogs in the future, two people who have influenced and
encouraged me to create my blog site are Dale Stewart and Chris Doer, both experienced bloggers. I
want to thank them both for their confidence and encouragement.
I have been told I am supposed to broaden my horizons and take photos other than abandoned
buildings so our next trip out for photos I am going to be doing some landscapes and experimenting with filters and lenses. Photography can be such a rewarding hobby, one you can enjoy looking back on and also sharing with family and friends. All of the different sites on a Facebook are wonderful to share on and learn new techniques from fellow photographers.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life, breath the fresh air and enjoy everyone around you.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Once again, traveling around Alberta is full of surprises. My friend and I took a run through the area NE. of Edmonton on Saturday of the long weekend. I have not been able to find much history on this old garage other than what it says on the front, it appears it was built and established as Beauvallon Motors in 1940. The entire structure is built of stone, although rare in Alberta, appears to be common in this part of the province. We have come across stone homes, school, stores and now this garage. This part of the province has so much European history, typically Ukrainian and Romanian, it is well worth the trip to experience the massive old and new churches, schools and beautiful old homes in communities rather than in towns. I have been in this area several times and it seems every trip has a new experience and surprise in store.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

I have traveled up and down Highway 43 many times with work and when I lived in Peace River. I have driven underneath this trestle many times but never thought much about it. Late last fall, in November on a trip to and from High Level, we stopped and snapped this photo of the Rochfort Trestle Bridge, it is the longest wood trestle in North America, it is 736 meters long, and 33.5 meters tall. The bridge was built in 1914, over the Paddle River, two short portions of the bridge have been replaced by steel and it is periodically used by CN. You can park on the hill on the west side and get a great view of the bridge, in 1914 it was a huge undertaking to construct a structure of this size and intricacy.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Occasionally, when we are traveling about this beautiful province, we will drive by things several times before you realize, hey this is pretty cool. The above photo is one of those things, the four cement blocks are the remains of a bridge built in 1913 by Canadian North Railway. Pembina River area coincides with the extension of two railways, Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian Northern. Both companies decided to build railroads to the Pacific Coast via the Yellowhead Trail. The duplication of both railways proved inefficient and forced both companies into default in 1917, In 1922 the bridge built by Canadian North was dismantled and these four cement blocks remain as a historical reminder of the railway race.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

                                                       New Brigden Train Station.
In 1925 The CNR, a crown corporation made up of two bankrupt railroad companies, Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Railway, began laying track from Loverna west to Hanna, Alberta. By 1926 it had reached New Brigden and continued west to Hemaruka, It ended there and never did continue on to Hanna. The new found wealth of a railroad brought many services to New Brigden that helped the residents build their new community. Grain elevators, hardware store, grocery store, restaurant and other businesses popped up in the community. The community flourished with a school, community hall, curling rink and skating rink and in later years a joint venture between New Brigden, Esther and Sedalia built a curling rink with two sheets of artificial ice. Today, the curling rink and school and new community hall are still open and the hub of activity. The New Brigden Drama Club has for many years taken advantage of the incredibly talented people in New Brigden and surrounding communities, putting on Musical Plays that are second to none in this province. I went to high school in New Brigden, played baseball there and participated in some of the Drama Club productions and I have so many wonderful memories of this tiny little prairie town.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

                                                  Hauling the whole grain elevator.
In October of 1925, the UGG Grain Company opened a recently constructed grain elevator in New Brigden, Alberta. The first elevator manager was W.A. Holmes. In 1928 a second elevator was constructed in New Brigden by the AWP. As time went on, millions of bushels of grain were bought, sold and loaded on boxcars at these two elevators. Eventually, the railroad company decided to shut down the rail line and these elevators along with others along the Bigger Line were closed. The original UGG elevator which had been purchased by AWP was torn down in 1982. The picture above shows the Original AWP elevator traveling on the highway, in 1984, heading towards Consort, Alberta to its second home.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

                                                             Oil & Gas at New Brigden
In 1920 an oil company started to drill for oil near New Brigden, it brought a lot of activity and employment to the area. However the boom was short lived, in 1923 the well was destroyed by fire and vacated. Once again in 1941, a drilling rig was set up about 3 miles west of New Brigden. It was a tall rig (120 ft.), the diesel motors that drove the draw works ran on distillate which was hauled in by rail. A steam engine was used during the winter to keep things thawed out. It took a box car load of coal every week to keep the steam engine running, the coal was shipped from Sheerness to New Brigden via rail. Nels Holmes truck was used to haul the coal to the rig from New Brigden and the dynamite that was used for the drilling process was stored in a cutter and guarded by Ed Wilson. It was reported that the well was about 6000 ft deep and drilling would continue for a few days and then suddenly the drilling was ceased and the well was capped. To this day no one knows for sure why the well was ceased and capped. The above photo is of the 1941 drilling rig.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

                                                        Morrin Corner Buffalo.

For many years, I have, and I am sure a lot of you have done the same. Driven on the #9 Highway traveling to Calgary or points west and noticed the large herd of buffalo at Morrin Corner. I often stopped and took photos of them, one afternoon this old bull was close to the fence having a discussion with another bull on the south side of the highway.
The gentleman who owns the land and the buffalo purchased his first 25 animals in 1995 and has now grown his herd to 145 cows and bulls. The buffalo are less work and net more money in the bank than cattle do, he also has tours of the farm and buffalo for tourists and enjoys telling his stories about Peter Fidler's trip from where Red Deer is now, to where Drumheller is now with many stops in between to observe the buffalo. It is worth while to stop and check out the buffalo at Morrin Corner.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

                                                           Loverna Saskatchewan

As I have often mentioned, Loverna, Saskatchewan was my second hometown. Many friends were made over the years. Once a townsite had been arranged for on the surveyed railway route, a problem arose, a name for the new town. Mr. McFarland asked for the privilege of naming the town-to-be after his daughter, Mrs. Loverna George, who still lived in the states. SO, "LOVERNA" it became. I have so many fond memories of Loverna, living only a few miles away, we spent a lot of time there, playing ball, music lessons, curling and good old fashioned country dances. As a young lad going to dances, I remember some very colorful characters attending the dances. Today, Loverna  is a Ghost Town but is still an interesting place to visit.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

                                                       St. Julien School District #3578
In 1918 The St. Julien Community, south of Esther, Alberta held a meeting and decided to build a school for all the children in that community. A site was chosen, it was central to all the residents on the NW corner of 34-30-2W4 at the base of a hill known as Starvation Butte. The school was open in 1918 and remained open until 1955 when a new school in Esther was built and the students were taken there by school bus. One of the early teachers was Beryl (Robarts) Thurston, pictured above, she taught there in 1942 and 1943. The old school is still standing today, being used for grain storage as many of these old schools ended up doing. The St. Julien School Corner is still a landmark for many of the locals and also for those of us who used to live in the area. It has been used as a reference point for many lost travelers.

Monday, 10 April 2017

As I travel in north central Alberta I have noticed many old homes and barns with dovetail log construction and then covered with a coating that is a mud and straw mixture. I notice that often times the coating has partially fallen off but due to the dovetail construction of the actual building, they still stand straight and tall. I can only imagine the many hours of work that was involved in the precision cuts with not so precision tools, that it takes to construct these homes and barns. I have a great admiration for our pioneers in their talents when it comes to building construction. There are massive barns and homes constructed on the prairies without the aid of all the mechanical lifts we have available to us today.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

 While traveling this great province, you will be surprised at some of the histories. On one of the trips my friend Dale and I took to the far reaches of South Eastern Alberta we came across a gentleman cutting grass on his farm driveway so we stopped to chat. The above shack was one of the first buildings on the original homestead. His grandparents came from Minnesota in 1906 to Warner and then traveled by horse and wagon 80 miles southeast to the homestead. Today Norm and Barb Finstead live in that same community called Pendant d'Oreille and with their son and grandchildren, they ranch 35000 acres and raise over 400 head of cattle. The grandchildren travel 45 miles to Foremost to school and back every day. The Sweetgrass hills are very close to the ranch, it is a beautiful part of our province. That is the road less traveled.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

                                             Ryerson Polytechnical Insitute, "Jorgenson Hall."

Fred Jorgenson from New Brigden, Alberta has a very distinguished life story, After training at the Calgary Normal School, Fred taught locally at Wenger Heights School, Oyen Public School and Olds Agricultural School.  In 1956 he was appointed Principal at SAIT and was there for 10 years. He was then offered the Presidency of Ryerson Technical Institute. Fred stayed in Toronto for 3 years and then returned to SAIT. While Fred was in Toronto Ryerson built a large building and named it "Jorgenson Hall," an amazing tribute to an incredible man.

Monday, 3 April 2017

                                                        Sunday School by Post.

In the early 1900's the Anglican church developed the Sunday School Post, it was a means of reaching out to the young people of their congregations. Lessons were mailed once a month to all the families who enrolled.
The Sunday School by Post Van was a welcome sight when it arrived in Loverna yearly, traveling across the Diocese bring books to the community and holding summer classes where organized Sunday Schools were not active. I don't remember the Van but I do remember Archdeacon Hasell who was the Anglican Minister in the area, in fact, he married my Mom and Dad at my Grandparents farm south of Esther.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

                                                             Distinguished Cattleman.

Local Sibbald Rancher, Murray Huston, added to the Canadian Hereford Honor Roll for his many achievements developing the Hereford Breed in Eastern Alberta. Murray, Jean and their family raised some of the finest Hereford Cattle in Western Canada and were renowned for their many awards throughout the industry. In 1981 Murray was inducted into the East Central Alberta Hall of Fame, for his contributions to the development of East Central Alberta. I had the honor of traveling with this distinguished gentleman to many Masonic Lodge functions and no matter where we went Murray was always received honorable. Murrays family still resides on the ranch at Sibbald raising Hereford Cattle.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

                                                                  Esther, Alberta Namesake.

 By 1912 most of the area between Loverna and the Sounding Creek had been settled, after a devastating prairie fire destroyed everything in its wake in 1910. The Olsens and several other families arrived and settled along the creek. At that time the mail came as far as (Bideford) which is now Altario. Shortly after that, the rail came through to Loverna and a Post Office was established in the Olsen home, a half mile north of the what is now Esther. The townsite was chosen by the local settlers, Anna Esther (Olsen) Landreth was the youngest child in the community and the town of Esther was named after her. A few years later the Olsen family moved to Lloydminster area. The yard where the Olsen's lived is now the Esther Recreation Park and is used for Homecomings, Family gatherings, and ball games.

Monday, 27 March 2017

                                                          Growing up on the Prairies!!

The house I grew up in had some interesting history, In 1912 a family, The Shorts's came from Ontario to Loverna by train and then traveled by horse and wagon to this homestead on the NW1/4-31-2-W4. They built this house and lived there until 1947. My Mom and Dad were married in 1947 and they purchased this farm and moved into this old house. My family lived there until 1962 when Mom and Dad built a new home a few feet to the west of this one. The old house was sold and moved from its original location. Part of it went to George and Phyllis Pratt where it remains today. Part of it was sold to Bruce and Ann Pratt and moved on skids behind several tractors 6 miles to where it also remains today. I have many fond memories of our times living in that old house.

Thursday, 23 March 2017


                                                 Historic Kiskatinaw Bridge

The Historic Kiskatinaw Bridge is located about 30 km north of Dawson Creek BC. 
Construction of this historic bridge began in late 1942 by Dow Construction, it was one of 133 permanent bridges constructed to replace temporary crossings used by the US Army to build the pioneer road. This three-span timber truss bridge has an amazing nine-degree curve, designed to accommodate the highway's steep change in grade on the west end and the need to land at a notch in the cliff on the east end. At this time it was the first wooden curved bridge to be built in Canada. In later years the development of the oil and gas industry resulted in the need for a new bridge, to handle wider, heavier and longer loads, as a result the Alaska highway was rerouted in 1978 bypassing about 10 km of the old highway and historic bridge. The bridge is now a promoted tourist attraction due to it's history. wooden deck, scenic setting and unusual design.

Bill Dalton on the right was one of the early pioneers of the Esther District. Bill arrived with his family, William Sr. who was a Congregational Minister, his mother and sisters, Lucy, Evelyn, Ethel and Fanny.
In 1938 Bill was asked to become the Alberta Wheat Pool agent in Esther where he remained for 14 years. In 1939 Bill and Dorothy (Harley) were married. Dorothy and Bill raised their family of two boys and three girls in Esther where they worked in various capacities from store manager to postmaster and mistress. Their oldest son Bill Jr. still lives in Esther with his wife Madge and for many years they also ran the general store and post office. The other gentleman in the photo is Tom Short who lived 5 miles east of Esther, he retired and sold his farm to my Dad. These two gentlemen were pioneers of the great community that I grew up and lived in for many years.