Utopia School District No. 840 was founded in 1903 and operated a one-room school adjacent to the Waterton River. Before Utopia School was ready for students, the trustees had many heated discussions trying to settle on a name. Early pioneers picked the name Utopia in hopes this beautiful district would always remain in a state of perfectness. The Utopia School was one of ten one-room schools southeast of Pincher Creek. Instead of the typical teacherage of the time- accommodations provided by the school, teachers would live at a nearby farm. Located near the school was a shed where the teacher and students stabled their horses. The first teacher on record received a wage of $50 per month. Grades 1-8 received instruction for nearly half a century at Utopia School- the school operated from 1904 until 1950, when the building served as a community center for a short time.
The settlement of South Western Alberta began with large free-range ranching operations coming to the area in the 1880s. The first settler in the parish of St. Henry was Jim Gilruth. Gilruth came from Montana and built a cabin in the Yarrow district sometime between 1883-1885. Soon after, members of the Gilruth family and others had settled in the area. In the early days, mass was either held at the Gilruth homestead or families would make the long, arduous trip into Pincher Creek for their Sunday church service.
In 1904 families got together and began to establish plans for a church. The Speth family donated a 10-acre parcel on top the area's highest hill. With the Rocky Mountains to the West and South, the Porcupine Hills to the North and the expansive prairie to the East, the views were and still are spectacular. After funds were raised, residents got to work building their church. Trees were cut from Wood Mountain, 40 kilometers to the west and hauled by wagon to the building site. Once at the building site, the trees were hewed into 8x8 timbers to become the bones of the church. A cornerstone with 1906 engraved into it was set into the South East Corner but has since been covered with cement. The whole parish helped with the construction of St. Henry's whenever they could get away from their farm work. A few even camped on site during the building process. Lumber came from Fernie Lumber. Millwork such as doors and windows came from Cushing Mill in Calgary.
Although it was not quite finished; sporting a temporary altar, bare walls and planks for seats, the church was blessed on May 28, 1907. Father Lacombe named the church. He chose to name it after St. Henry because “He is a good German saint.” A bell dedicated to St. Boniface was ordered from France and installed in 1908. In 1913 a statue of St. Henry was donated and remains in the church today.
After serving the area for 94 years, St. Henry's discontinued Sunday mass in 2001. Parishioners now travel to Pincher Creek to attend church. The Historical Society of St. Henry’s is a non-profit, voluntary association of local families, supporters, and former parishioners who maintain the church and grounds. After suffering damage during a severe hailstorm in late 2014, the church received a new red tin roof which is currently the roof that protects this resilient structure.
Previously, Skiff, Alberta had three grain elevators. Two of which wore Alberta Wheat Pool colours. Alberta Wheat Pool No. 1 was constructed in 1929 and in 1984 merged with Alberta Wheat Pool No. 2 which was built in 1954. Agricore purchased these two elevators in 1998 and demolished them in 2000.
Skiff’s surviving grain elevator was built in 1929 by the Ellison Milling and Elevator Company with a capacity of 123,000 bushels or 3360 tonnes. In August of 1975 Parrish & Heimbecker expanded their wheat and durum milling activity with the purchase of the Ellison Milling Company. With this addition, the company acquired 12 grain elevators in Southern Alberta. P&H operated their Skiff elevator until June of 2002. After closing to the public, the elevator was sold to a private farm and is still in use today.
Since first opening in 1918, Skiff’s general store has changed hands many times. During the hard times of 1935, Ray Eshom and family moved to Skiff with a vision of rejuvenating the downtrodden business. As times improved, so did their business. During their ownership, the General Store was expanded to include petroleum products, farm machinery, and automobiles. The old store was drafty and cold, so in 1940 the building was expanded and the exterior stuccoed. Skiff’s General Store changed ownership a few more times before closing in the 1990s.
Introduced in October 1938, the Ford Prefect was the first Ford with a model name rather than a letter or number designation. Manufactured in Dagenham, Essex from 1938 – 1961, the Prefect was a family car aimed at the thrifty consumer. Ford UK advertised it as a more upmarket version of their other economy cars, the Popular and the Anglia.
The Prefect came with an 1172 cc flathead inline 4 cylinder engine that could be started with a hand crank in case of battery or starter failure. On its way to a top speed of 98 kilometers per hour, the Prefect's 30 horsepower would take it from 0-80kph in 22.8 seconds. With mechanical brakes, 6 volt electrical, vacuum powered windshield wipers, and not even the option for a heater, Ford's Prefect was indeed an economy car. The only real styling change in the lifetime of the Prefect was the headlights being integrated into the fenders after the second world war.
In 1948 Ford established its' North American Sales and Service (NASS) division, bringing 12,250 British Fords with them. Ford was one of the first companies to try and sell inexpensive imports in volume. In 1950, Ford was the best selling import car in both Canada (14,804 units) and the USA (1,850 units). The British Ford line was officially absorbed into the Ford Division in 1966.
In response to declining grain prices after the first world war forcing farmers to sell their crops at a loss, a co-operative was organized. Formed in 1923 with an initial 26,000 members, the Alberta Wheat Pool was the first farmer's co-operative on the Canadian Prairies. It wasn't until 1925 that the first three Wheat Pool elevators were built in the province.
The F.W. Mcdougall Construction Company who specialized in building coal tipples, seed cleaning plants, and grain elevators across Alberta and Saskatchewan constructed a 40,000 bushel elevator in Warwick in 1929. A 41,000 bushel balloon annex was added to this elevator in 1956.
Warwick's Alberta Wheat Pool elevator was built in 1929. The 32000 bushel grain elevator belonged to the Federal Grain Company until the Alberta Wheat Pool purchased the elevator and a 34,000 bushel crib annex on March 16, 1972. It remained in business until closing in November 1979. In 1980 the last acting Elevator Manager bought the elevator and moved it to his family's farm.
The family who homesteaded this land came from Northern Ireland via Boston, Massachusetts. After living in Boston for a period, the family brought their son to the Alberta prairie. For a young man entering the 9th grade, life on a prairie farm required considerable adjustment. He lamented that chores had to replace participating in organized sports and that adapting to a new school environment was challenging, but soon adjusted to his new life and considered it a blessing.
He attended the Olds School of Agriculture and received his Diploma in Agriculture in 1928 and went on to have many productive years farming the family homestead. Some of the changes he saw throughout the years included the building of new churches and schools to accommodate a growing population, changes in farming methods as a result of some hard lessons learned from the Dirty Thirties, along with many technological advances.
After the owners passing, the land and buildings were sold at an auction sale in 1992.
A GB model Minneapolis Moline tractor in signature 'Prairie Gold' paint and a Task Force Chevy grain truck sit together in retirement.
The Minneapolis Moline GB was built in Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1955 until 1959. Priced at $5000USD the two-wheel drive tractor weighed 7100 pounds. The GB came equipped with a liquid-cooled 6.6 liter four cylinder rated for 71 horsepower at 1300RPM.
Chevrolet and General Motors introduced their all new light trucks – the Task Force series in March of 1955. Borrowing from passenger car styling, the new GM’s smooth sheet metal, hooded headlights and wrap around windshield (an industry first) gave them a contemporary look. Along with the drastic styling changes, 1955 saw many new options introduced for GM trucks. For the first time, power steering, power brakes, a 12 volt electrical system, an overdrive unit, and a 265 cubic inch V8 were available. Buyers still had the option of sticking with the venerable stovebolt six which had been in use since 1929.
1958 saw a redesign of the front end sheet metal; quad headlights were introduced. The first fleetside boxes became available, and factory air conditioning was found in Chevy trucks for the first time. The Task Force body style was manufactured until 1959.
Alberta's first one-room schoolhouse was located in Edmonton in 1881. By 1910 there were 1195 one-room schools in Alberta, with the majority located in rural areas. Students traveled to and from school on foot, horseback, or horse-drawn buggy.
In the 1920s, while buggies became motorized, school districts consolidated into larger buildings, forcing students to travel farther to receive an education. In the 1930s students began riding steel bodied early versions of the modern school bus. During a 1939 conference, the first standards were set out to streamline production and increase the safety of school buses. One rule that remains in effect today is the use of 'school bus yellow' because it is easy to see at dawn and dusk and contrasts well with the black lettering.
These days, over 700 million trips are completed in Canada annually, using roughly 36,000 yellow school buses.
Drumheller's Little Church opened to the public on July 9, 1958. Reverend Edgar C. O'Brien of the Pentecostal Church came up with the idea. He wanted the church to be a place of worship and meditation and not just a tourist attraction. Reverend E.C. O'Brien contracted Robert 'Bob' Gibson to design the church. Gibson also hand painted the original windows portraying Christ teaching the Apostles. Tyvge 'Tig' Seland was responsible for constructing the original church with donated materials.
Throughout the years, the church has been rebuilt/repaired many times. The most recent rebuild being in 2015 after it sustained vandalism and fire damage in October of 2014. The sign out front states Drumheller's Little Church – Seating 10,000 People – 6 At A Time. I'm sure that number has been passed many times over. Drumheller's Little Church has stood the test of time and remains a popular tourist attraction in the Drumheller Valley.
Ferdinand Porsche, known for developing the world's first gasoline-electric hybrid, designing winning race cars and light, yet powerful airplane engines, first thought of a small car for the everyman in the early 1920s. Porsche saw an opportunity for a people's car in the economic, political, and social changes taking place in the wake of the first World War. The leaders of European auto companies did not agree with Porsche. Cars were for the well-to-do. Workers would take the bus or cycle to work.
Not seeing eye-to-eye with big automakers, in 1931 Porsche founded a consulting firm. In 1934 Porsche won a contract from Adolph Hitler to design a small people's car. This peoples car was to consume no more than seven liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers, have four seats to accommodate the family, be air-cooled to prevent the engine from freezing in cold weather, and be able to maintain a speed of 100 kilometers per hour. Working from his previous designs, Porsche completed his first two prototypes in 1935 and built subsequent iterations, until the final design was realized in 1937.
By the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939, only a handful of consumer cars had been produced, when production switched from civilian to military vehicles. Following the end of the war, the Volkswagen factory was controlled by Allied forces who tried giving it way but could find no takers. The British automakers were uninterested and said: "the vehicle does not meet the fundamental technical requirement of a motor-car.” When Henry Ford II asked his right-hand man Ernest Breech what his thoughts were, Breech said: "What we're being offered here, Mr. Ford, isn't worth a damn!"
Not being able to give away Volkswagen, Major Ivan Hirst was put in charge of getting the bombed out factory up and running again to fill an order for 20,000 VWs for the occupational forces. By January 1948 the factory was producing 2500 cars a month when the British Army appointed Heinz Nordhoff as the General Director of Volkswagen.
Nordhoff took the reins and defying the odds, began steering Volkswagen down the road to success. In 1950, Nordhoff appointed Maximilian Hoffman to introduce the American car buyer to the Volkswagen. Hoffman sold an underwhelming 330 VWs that first year. Sales slowly increased over the years. In 1955 Volkswagen of America was established and the millionth car was produced. Out of the first million, only 9000 had made it to North America. By 1965 one million Beetles per year were being built. In 1972 the 15,007,034th Beetle rolled off the assembly line, matching Ford's Model T worldwide sales record. 1974 saw the last Beetle produced at the original factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. Production continued in other European facilities, Mexico and Brazil. The final Type 1 VW Beetle was built in Puebla, Mexico on July 30, 2003. The original VW Beetle sold over 21,000,000 units!
With the odds stacked against it, not only did the Volkswagen Beetle prove the need for an affordable reliable people's car but it garnered a cult following along the way.
The gambrel roof barn in this post was built in 1934 and gradually fell out of use in the 1980s. The current owners, who have been living here since 1972, tell me that the original builder's brother built a gothic arch style barn just down the road in an attempt to outdo his brother. Both are very handsome barns but, in my opinion, the effort in one-upmanship was a success.
Inside a gambrel roof barn, you will find at least one gambrel used for hanging carcasses at butchering time. The word comes from the hock of a horses leg. The bend in the leg resembles the bent rafter line of a gambrel barn roof. These roofs provided more storage in the hayloft when compared to a gable roof or A-frame. A gambrel roof barn is usually an indication of European influence.
Gothic arch (pointed arch roof truss) barns evolved from the gambrel roof design and provided even more storage capacity by allowing for large, open haylofts with no supporting columns in the middle. The graceful contours of a gothic arch barn were thought to increase the value of a farm.
A complete kit could be ordered delivered to the nearest train station. The kits included floor plans, pre-cut lumber, and all hardware needed to assemble the family's new barn. In 1920 Sears-Roebuck offered the “Cyclone,” a gothic arch style barn, starting at $530.00 for the 24x24 foot model. The largest Cyclone barn was 40x140 feet and could be had for $3418.00. In 1916 Sears-Roebuck advertised their Barn No. 60, a 32x62 foot gambrel-roofed barn for $945.00.
Norwegian settlers who had been living in the Red River valley near Crookston, Minnesota came to the Bardo area in May 1894. Many families spent the first winter in dugout shelters while collecting materials to build a proper home. As many new families came from Norway, the community was growing. A significant number of these settlers came directly from Bardo, Norway, and that is how Bardo, Alberta took its name. The first post office operated under the name Northern, from March 1898 until December 1904, when the name was officially changed to Bardo. The first school was built in 1898 and was also used as the community's place of worship. In 1908 land was donated, funds were raised, and Bardo's first church was built. This church was in use until it burned down in 1921. A second church was constructed, and the first service held on September 3, 1922. Telephone service came to Bardo in 1910. The first power line in the area was built in 1928, but it wasn't until the formation of a Rural Electrification Association (R.E.A.) in the early 1950s that electricity became more widely available to the area.
Construction of the Tofield–Calgary branch of the Grand Trunk Pacific railroad began in 1909, shortly after the mainline from Winnipeg to Edmonton was completed. Steel was laid to Bardo, the first station south of Tofield, in November of 1909. The first train traveled from Tofield to Camrose on the 5th of February 1910. Due to default on repayment of construction loans to the federal government, the GTP was nationalized as the Canadian National Railways in 1920. By the mid-1930's passenger and freight service going through Bardo began to dwindle. Freight service continued until 1977-78 to accommodate the grain elevators. In 1978 the rails between Tofield and Kingman were removed.
As farms increased in size, producing more grain, Bardo realized the need for a grain elevator. In the early 1920s the Pioneer Grain Company built a 40 000 bushel elevator at Bardo. Power was supplied by a 10-15 horsepower, one cylinder engine. These engines were referred to as a one lunger. In 1929 the elevator was sold to Alberta Wheat Pool who added a 35 000 bushel annex in 1940. The annex, intended to be temporary was not built on a foundation. The one lunger was replaced by a four-cylinder continental engine in the 1960s. The Bardo elevator closed for business on July 31, 1971. In 1972, the elevator was sold to the Bardo Elevator Co-op who used it for about ten years.
Today, the current owner, who acquired the property a little over a decade ago, does what he can to prolong the life of the elevator but it is falling into disrepair and needs a roof. With estimates well into six figures for a new roof and no help from the powers that be, the Bardo grain elevator will continue to deteriorate like so many others.
The 1973 oil crisis saw oil prices in North America quadruple in only a few months. People formed long lines to fill up as gas stations were running out of fuel. The oil crisis created an oil boom in Alberta. This boom generated more new multi-millionaires than any time before in Canadian history. Hoping for a piece of the wealth, 4000 people a month were coming to Alberta. The province's population grew by a third in the 1970s. At the peak of the boom, Calgary was issuing more than 1 billion dollars worth of construction permits annually, more than populous American cities like Chicago and New York.
The oil crisis of 1973 prompted many changes in the way we produce, consume, and distribute our energy. Many tensions were created, as Alberta and the federal government did not have the same view on many of these issues. In response to the 1973 oil crisis, more research was done on alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power as well as nuclear energy. North American auto manufacturers began to produce more fuel efficient automobiles.
One of these cars was a new subcompact from Chevrolet, the Chevette. Weighing in at 1998 pounds and carrying a sticker price of $2899USD, the Chevette was introduced in September 1975. In its first production year, the largest engine available was an Isuzu produced single-overhead-cam 1.6 liter. With 62hp at the crank, the car received an EPA-rating of 40mpg highway. Production continued until 1987 when it was replaced with the Chevrolet Sprint.
The International Harvester 2+2 is a rear wheel drive tractor merged with a front wheel drive unit. The 2+2 used a modified rear section of an IH86 series and a new front frame section. The 2+2 was marketed as “2 Wheel Performance + 2 More Wheels Drive.” They offered the traction and floatation of a 4wd but retained the control and versatility of 2wd. The forward mounted engine and rear cab provided 54/46 weight distribution, along with unmatched balance, stability, and visibility in a 4wd row cropper.
This model, a 3388, saw a total of 2146 units built during its production run from 1978 until 1981. In 1981, a 3388 would set you back $45680USD. It came with a 16-speed transmission and 436 cubic inch turbocharged 6 cylinder diesel that produced 114hp on the drawbar and 130 PTO horsepower.
Their long nose earned the 2+2s many nicknames such as anteater, landshark, and Snoopy.
For the 1941 model year, Chevy trucks sported a re-designed front end with the headlamps sunk partly into the fenders instead of sitting above. The 41-47 Chevrolet trucks, known as the AK Series, were the first model to depart from sharing the same styling as passenger cars.
Knowing that their trucks could be needed for the war, Chevrolet engineered the AK series to be a stronger, more versatile truck. The standard 216.5 cubic inch inline six cylinder was bumped up to 90 horsepower. The trucks came with beds made of heavier gauge steel, a longer wheelbase, a crank out windshield and more comfortable seats.
In February 1942 Chevrolet ceased building civilian models to concentrate on production for the war. Chevrolet civilian truck production did not begin again until August of 1945.
The AK Series remained in production until about May 1, 1947, when the Advanced Design trucks entered production.
Francis Kingsbury opened the Kingsbury post office in 1904. It was located in his home, one and a half miles south of the hamlet of Kingman, where he lived with his father (a widower) and two brothers. In 1909 the post office was moved into Kingman. As there was another post office in the province called Kingsbury, the post office changed its name to Kingman to avoid confusion with mail delivery.
Lots in Kingman went onto the market October 19, 1909, at 10:00 am. In short time, Kingman had two general stores to serve the new residents. The first was owned by Taje & Olson Company of Bawlf. The second, directly across Main Street, was occupied by A. Horte and Sons (later becoming the International Store). In February 1910 the first passenger train on the Tofield-Calgary branch of the Grand Trunk Pacific railroad stopped at the Kingman railway station.
During its first years, Kingman experienced extensive growth. The community laid claim to a doctor's office, a real estate office, a dressmaker, a grain buyer, a farm machinery warehouse, and a restaurant, where a full course meal was had for 35¢, or coffee and pie for 10¢.
The construction of a Hogg & Lytle grain elevator began in July of 1916. The 40,000 bushel elevator was ready for business in August of that year. In September of 1926, the Home Grain company purchased the elevator, continuing operation until it was acquired by Searle Grain Company in the spring of 1929. 1940 saw an annex added. Sometime in the early 1970's Searle sold the elevator to the Federal Grain Company, who in turn, sold it to the Alberta Wheat Pool a few years later. The elevator was dismantled in about 1975.
A United Grain Growers (UGG) elevator, with a 35,000 bushel capacity, was completed and ready to handle grain for the 1922 harvest. During its first year of operation, the UGG handled 60,000 bushels. Kingman's UGG elevator was demolished in March 1976.
Kingman's Alberta Wheat Pool grain elevator was built in 1928 with a 40 000 bushel capacity. Two 15 000 bushel annexes were added in 1941.
By the 1960s things in Kingman began to slow down; businesses closed and people moved away. In the mid-1960s rail service was discontinued; the tracks removed in 1978. In the late 60's the train station was relocated to Dodds where it was used as a dwelling. Sadly, it burnt down a few years later. The International store was the last remaining general store in Kingman, closing its' doors in 1971.
On February 15, 1977, the last grain elevator in Kingman was moved to a private farm. It took ten days of preparations and loading to ready the 200-ton structure for transport. It was transported with a modified former WWII tank carrier. The 8 mile move took six and a half hours.
Today Kingman has a school, post office (in the former International store building), museum, community hall, and an outdoor skating rink. Kingman celebrates its Scandinavian roots with an annual Lutefisk Supper. The 2017 supper saw a turnout of over 400 people.
Some noteworthy dates in Kingman's history:
1911- Prospering with a population of 87
1912- Telephone service began
1912- Kingman's first school opened
1913- Pool hall built
1914- A. Horte and sons opened their second store
1917- Yngve Johnson bought the first tractor in the area
1919- In May fire destroyed the post office, telephone exchange, a store, and a building used by Camrose Central Creamery
1922- Garage opened
1922- Small cyclone hit the village damaging some of the buildings
1922- Barbershop opened
1923- April 11, 9:45 pm - fire destroyed the livery stable
1927- Kingman hall built. First dance held in January, 1928.
1928- Cafe built on the site of Horte & Sons store that was destroyed by fire.
1930- Manning -Sutherland Lumber Company sold to Beaver Lumber Company
1932- Progress Lumber Company builds hardware store adjoining the lumberyard
1947- A New school built
1967- Population 100 (approx.)
1988- Kingman School burned down
2006- Population 87
2011- Population 90
2016- Population 103 – and growing
The C-Series or Low Cab Forward (LCF) trucks were built from 1960 until 1975. The C500-C700 were rated as medium duty while the C800-C1000 were designated as heavy duty.
The LCF used a 1956-60 pick-up cab and unique front body panels. The front fenders swing out, and the hood flips up allowing easy access to the engine.
C-Series trucks were constructed with durability and comfort in mind. The cabs were built with heavy gauge steel and had thick rubber mounts to lessen noise and vibration. The cabs also came equipped with comfortable seats and 5-way ventilation.
Dual headlights set the earlier trucks apart. After 1967 Dodge incorporated the single 'pie plate' headlights used on their light trucks.
Gasoline engines were made by Chrysler and diesel engines were provided by Perkins, Caterpillar, Cummins, and Detroit Diesel.
In 1975, Dodge decided to exit the medium and heavy-duty truck segment in the U.S. and Canada, only building a few more trucks for export to Mexico, Central, and South America.
The LCF was the last heavy truck that Dodge made.
From the 1880s Until 1902, the two giants McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. and the Deering Harvester Co., as well as their smaller rivals, were involved in what is now known as the “Harvester Wars.” Production of harvesting machines far outweighed demand, creating fierce competition between manufacturers. Salesmen tried everything they could to sell their equipment. There are stories of bribery, sabotage, and violence.
As the Harvester Wars dragged on, equipment prices fell drastically, and selling expenses grew to more than 40 percent of total sales. In 1902 a merger with the five most significant companies was brokered by the J.P. Morgan banking firm. The McCormick, Deering, and Milwaukee Harvester companies, Plano Mfg. Co. and Warder, Bushnell & Glessner merged to become International Harvester Co.
For many years following the merger, IHC sold two slightly different lines of equipment, one named McCormick and the other Deering. The two lines of equipment were consolidated, and McCormick Deering became the name of a line of tractors and farm machinery manufactured by the International Harvester Co from 1922 until 1947.
International Harvester's first harvester-thresher combine was the McCormick Deering No. 1, built in 1914. Pictured is a McCormick-Deering No. 22 harvester-thresher, manufactured from 1925-1956.
The Dorothy Improvement District No. 246 was formed on December 18, 1913. On February 13, 1932, it was included in the Municipal District of Lone Butte which became part of the Municipal District of Berry Creek on April 1, 1933, which later became part of the Special Areas in 1936.
Two hundred families farmed in the area at one time. Most of the land that used to produce wheat crops has been reverted to grassland and now supports cattle ranching.
With the coming of the railroad in 1928, three grain elevators were built in Dorothy: an Alberta Wheat Pool, a United Grain Growers, and an Alberta Pacific. The Alberta Wheat Pool was still operating at least as late as 1971. The United Grain Growers elevator was torn down in 1931. The Alberta Pacific remained in business until 1951. Later, a large farming operation in the area acquired it to use for grain storage and were still utilizing it as of 1971. The last scheduled train service through Dorothy ended in 1968.
To avoid navigating a steep winding trail on the south side of the Red Deer River a grain chute was constructed from metal pipe. The chute ran about 300 feet down the hill into an overhead bin at the bottom of the hill where a truck would pick up the grain and take it to the elevators a mile away. In the fall of 1929, the south grade was built down to the ferry ending any further need of the chute. The materials from the chute were salvaged and the bin was put into use on a nearby farm.
C.R. Kidd built a general store in the fall of 1928, but by the fall of '31 went broke. Many were having a hard go of things during this time, so Mr. Kidd generously let them have their purchases on credit, realizing that his chances of collecting were slim. Later, he worked for the elevator in Drumheller, and then operated the Drumheller Ford dealership, before selling out to participate in an oil discovery northwest of the city. He and his wife retired in Calgary.
Initially, Catholic Church services were held in residents' homes around the community. In 1941 a former school was moved in and used for church services. In 1943 the Wilford School was bought for fifty dollars and moved to Dorothy. The new Catholic church was blessed by Father Anderson on a Sunday in June 1944. The last Mass held in this church was on October 22, 1967.
Across the road is the United Church. When discussing how to raise funds for a church, residents decided on organizing a chicken supper and making quilts and then holding a bazaar to sell them. Enough was raised to buy a house in 1932. It was moved 25 miles from Finnegan into Dorothy. As no large trucks were available, the house was moved with horses and smaller equipment. The last service held at Dorothy's United Church was in 1961.
Although small, Dorothy still holds its vibrant community spirit. In recent years, both of the churches have been restored, and there are talks of repairing the grain elevator that was damaged by a storm on July 22, 2015.
Tucked away in the scenic Hand Hills, this house and barn were built in 1909 on the present land owner's great uncle Mark Lenfesty's homestead. When the family, consisting of William and Anna Elsie Lenfesty and their children Sterrie, Mark, Day, and Stella (Babe) Lenfesty, moved to the Hand Hills, they spent the first winter in a sod shack a mile and a half south of Mark's future homestead. In the spring they acquired the lumber from Stettler and built the house and barn on Mark's property. They all lived there until they were able to finish building on each of their own properties. Mark lived on his property until the well went dry in the 1960s when he moved in with family who farmed the land to the south.
William “Grandpa” Lenfesty was a stonecutter by trade, but like many settlers worked a variety of jobs. Driving a food wagon in the Riel Rebellion, he took an arrow to the forehead. Carrying nitro-glycerin, the man showing him how to handle it lost his hand when he accidentally bumped a small container on a rock. Grandpa Lenfesty worked as a steam shovel operator for the Grand Trunk Railway and later the C.P.R. He followed the railway west and homesteaded near Shepard in 1902.
The present land owner, Day Lenfesty's grandfather took first place in saddle bronc at the first Hand Hills Stampede and was a founding member of the Hand Hills Lake Club House. The Lenfesty family has been an essential part of the rodeo's success over the last 100 years. Day is treasurer of the Hand Hills Lake Community Club. He handles most of the community functions, cooks for catering events, and mans the food booth at the stampede with his famous saskatoon pie.
On July 20, 1917, the first Handhills Stampede was held on J.J. Miller's ranch at the south end of Hand Hills Lake. The local branch of the Red Cross sold admission ribbons for $1 a piece; women and children received free admission. They raised $3200 with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. Many locals pitched in to make the first show a success, and that community spirit continues 100 years later.
Currently, Day Lenfesty and his brother Tim and family farm the homestead lands of Grandpa Lenfesty, Sterrie, Mark, and his grandfather Day, as well as the land acquired by his Aunt Babe and her husband, Lawrence Ringrose.