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.