The Beaver Hills (amisk-wa-chi in Cree), also known as the Cooking Lake Moraine, was created by the last glacial retreat about 12,000 years ago. This treed, upland area consists of hummocky "knob and kettle" terrain, where wetlands, lakes and dry mixed-wood Boreal forest form a perfect habitat for diverse vegetation, mammals and birds. This area was important to the various First Nations people who lived a nomadic lifestyle on the Prairies, and also to the fur trade in the 19th century.

In 1893, the district in rural Strathcona County once known as Clover Bar was declared by the North-West Territories Legislature as Statute Labor Fire District Number Two. This early form of self-government grew from the need to protect property from stray cattle and horses, and the threat of fire. It also led to the setup of trails for increasing settlement.

How did Wye Road get its name?

Mindful of the significance of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) at Strathcona (South Edmonton), Wye Road was named for the "wye" at the road's westerly terminus, at the rail yard between 76 and 77 avenues. A wye is a rail term for a triangular arrangement of tracks, where crews could, in a three-point turn, change the direction of a locomotive so it was facing the direction from which it came. Wye Road followed a branch of the historic North Cooking Lake Trail through Tofield, the Cooking Lake area and ending at the wye at the Strathcona rail yard.

Who was Tom Clover?

After joining the gold rush in California in 1849 and following it to British Columbia's Caribou gold fields in 1858, Thomas H. Clover was lured further still by rumours that gold had been discovered on the North Saskatchewan River in the North-West Territories. In 1859, he set out east to cross the Rocky Mountains, an adventure in itself, and arrived at Fort Edmonton the following spring. (Source: Berry, J.P., Clover Bar in the Making, 1881-1931)

After trying different locations, Clover finally set up his "rocker" east of the fort at the bar where he had had the most success. Located two and a half miles north of the old Clover Bar post office, it became known as Tom Clover's Bar. Soon "Clover Bar" was the name used for the whole district between the river and Beaver Hills.

Where were the early (1920s) train stations and freight stops located in Strathcona County?

  • Canadian Pacific Railway freight stop: Ellerslie
  • Canadian Northern Railway station: Bretona
  • Canadian Northern Railway freight stops: Scotford and Griesbach
  • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway stations: Deville, Uncas and Ardrossan
  • Grand Trunk Pacific Railway freight stops: North Cooking Lake, Bremner and Clover Bar

What lake in Strathcona County was designated as a tourist destination in the early 1900s?

North Cooking Lake. Sailing races and regattas were held at the lake, and paddlewheel boats toured between North Cooking Lake and South Cooking Lake in the early 20th century.

Did you know Strathcona County is home to the first rural area to become self-governing in what is now Alberta, then the North-West Territories?

In the 56th year of Her Majesty Queen Victoria's reign, the territorial government of the day declared Clover Bar as Fire and Labor District Number Two - April 14, 1893. This measure was taken to address problems that settlers were having with fires and wandering livestock, and their need for trails. This district was enlarged from 108 square miles to 216 square miles in 1903, and in 1913 it became Local Improvement District 517.

Do you have a question?

If there is something you have been wondering about Strathcona County's history, in your question. We will try to find an answer.

Here are a few more ways you can find out more about Strathcona County's history.

These resources are available from the Strathcona County Museum and Archives:

  • Strathcona County: A Brief History by Linda Redekop and Wilfred Gilchrist
  • Journey Back in Time, A Guide to Historical Sites in Strathcona County

You can also tour through the various exhibits and displays at the museum, which is located at 913 Ash Street in Sherwood Park. The hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

780-467-8189 or

Other resources on Strathcona County's history

Last updated: Thursday, November 14, 2019
Page ID: 41171