Local history enthusiasts can soar the skies above this Alberta municipality to survey its early rural landscape from a vantage scarcely if ever seen by its residents back in the day. Archival photos—oblique aerials from the 1970s back to the 1920s—of farms, businesses and settlements offer context and a rare perspective on Strathcona County's "yester-year." Mostly due to development, many of the older buildings are now gone; about a half dozen still stand today.
These timeworn images offer a history lesson that give us a sense of what it was like “back in the day.” From the north of Strathcona County to the south, every locale is different. Most photos were taken from a model of plane that featured an overhead wing; removing the doors enabled the photographer to get a better angle of properties at very low altitudes.
At your own pace, click on any photo to study it in full screen and read the history. You can then use the arrows on the sides to toggle between the images.
Smyth farm, from the south, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-35-16
Only 16, George Smyth set sail from Ireland at the invitation of family friends who had emigrated to Alberta. He worked for this family west of Leduc for two years before his parents, John and Mary, and sisters, Jennie and Edith (Edie), came, as well. After a few years of renting while exploring their options, the Smyth family purchased this farm in 1911 at what is now the southwest corner of Baseline Road and Broadmoor Boulevard.
They started up a dairy operation before buying a threshing machine and then, in a joint venture with neighbours, they expanded into grain operations themselves. The sisters also worked in the city, Jennie as a seamstress and Edie at an Irish restaurant. Jennie also raised chickens and sold eggs to the Hotel Macdonald.
The Smyths were active in the Christian Brethren circle, and in the family’s first years on the farm they held church meetings in their home. The members grew in number to eventually form the Wyecliff Bible Chapel, which still meets today east of Sherwood Park.
Tragedy struck the family hard in the 1920s. Mary died in 1920 and John in 1923, and the family lost the dairy herd to tuberculosis in 1922. The siblings stayed together and eventually recovered to build a new home and garage in 1936.
The decades passed and the land was subdivided around the time of George’s death in 1974, with all but six acres sold to developers for Sherwood Park’s Broadmoor Centre Business District. The house faced east and fronted what is now Broadmoor Boulevard.
Smeltzer homestead, from the south, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-35-13
Born in Ontario in 1867, Maurice Smeltzer first ventured west in 1891 to deliver a railcar of draft horses. He returned the following year and applied for the “right of entry” on a quarter section—the homestead land just west of what we now call Smeltzer House in Sherwood Park. Sherwood Park’s Westboro neighbourhood was developed on this land.
In 1899, Maurice married Eliza Pithie, and the couple lived in a log house on Maurice’s homestead. They had two sons. James, born in 1905, died in infancy; Francis John (Frank) was born in 1907. From a young age, Frank helped his father on the farm. After studying at the Olds School of Agriculture, Frank took on more of the farming responsibility and when his parents passed away in the 1930s he continued to operate the successful venture his father had established. Frank built up a purebred Yorkshire hog operation with as many as 250 hogs, and over time the farm encompassed 600 acres (including 120 acres of leased land), as well as a mix of livestock. Between Maurice and Frank, they won awards for hogs, oats and barley.
Smeltzer brick house
Smeltzer brick house, from the southeast, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-35-12
Built for Maurice Smeltzer, one of the Salisbury district’s first homesteaders, this handsome Foursquare has stood steadfast since 1920, even as surrounding rural farmland shifted to urban streets. The Smeltzers gladly moved into their new home, what we now call Smeltzer House; it was a 30’x32’ two-storey house with the square profile and pyramidal roof characteristic of the Foursquare style. The family enjoyed such welcome features as double brick walls (that helped to insulate the house), leaded glass windows, a full basement and indoor plumbing. Electricity in the home was generated by a Delco plant until 1944, when the area was connected to Edmonton Power.
In 1933, Frank married Agnes Kirkwood and the couple lived together with Frank’s parents, a common practice in the day. They had two sons, Ian and William (Bill); a daughter, Wyona Agnes, died in infancy. This aerial shows the harvest in progress, mature trees and outbuildings. The country road in the top left is now Broadmoor Boulevard. A portion of Sherwood Park’s Broadmoor Estates neighbourhood was developed on this quarter-section.
A.J. Ottewell farm
A.J. Ottewell farm, from the southeast, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-35-15
Today it is the A.J. Ottewell Community Centre, yesteryear it was the home of Art and Lora Ottewell, and their children Wilbur and Edna. Art was one of 12 children born to Clover Bar pioneers R.P. and Fannie Ottewell. Art purchased this farm in 1910 from a bachelor by the name of Mr. Nettles. Thirty acres had already been cleared and the family could move right into an existing log house. In 1916 Art built the 2-1/2-storey house, shown here, which came with many fine features and modern conveniences.
The family ran a mixed farm, growing grain, raising chickens and hogs, as well as keeping dairy cows. In their new home, the Ottewells hosted the Salisbury Ladies Aid and UFA chapter meetings, as well as whist drives, sleigh rides and even social dances.
Art farmed here for over 50 years, and was active in several farm organizations. He eventually sold the property in 1977 to developers of Sherwood Park’s Woodbridge Farms neighbourhood; a condition of sale was that the house and barn be used for recreation and cultural activities. While the house was moved 50 feet to the west in 1980, the site has served many community needs over the decades since. A replica of the old barn is home to the Art Society of Strathcona County in the Loft Gallery.
West Salisbury Store
West Salisbury Store, from the southeast, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-33-14
West Salisbury General Store and Post Office opened in 1911 a mile west of the Salisbury School at what became known as Salisbury Corner. It was started by F.R. Haythorne, also the district’s first postmaster, who went on to be a community leader—he served on the school board, in the church, on municipal council and eventually as reeve of the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 518. When F.R. Haythorne sold the store in 1914, John Stephenson became the new proprietor; he kept the post office and mail route going, and sold groceries and dry goods, feed, coal oil and axle grease.
Peter and Annie Yohemas purchased the store from Hugh and Doris Richardson in 1941. The Yohemas family welcomed the locals warmly, and looked out for the area children who would frequent the store. They were also known for their generous hospitality with travellers, freely offering a place to sleep and feed for their horses.
With a church nearby and a ball field out back, “Salisbury Corner” was a community hub where friends met. While it was moved a mile to the south in 1964 to make way for a cloverleaf and highway expansion, the store and service station are still in operation today.
Bremner homestead - Schroter farm
Bremner homestead - Schroter farm, from the southeast, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-14-26
James Charles Chatterton (Charlie) Bremner emigrated from Scotland in 1885 at the urging of a family friend. Aided by a substantial inheritance, Charlie first proved entry on his homestead, then expanded his farm, which he called “The Mount,” while investing in other enterprises. What we now know as “Bremner House” was built for Charlie and his wife Edith in 1912-13. Active in the community, Charlie prospered during the boom times but then was hard hit by plunging stock values. He died in 1928.
William and Nellie Schroter bought the “Big House” in 1930 and it was exactly that; with 13 rooms, including five bedrooms, it would meet the needs of their growing family. The Schroters added several buildings to the farm, including replacing a horse barn that burned down with a barn for not only horses but dairy, too. Other new buildings included homes for second-generation Schroters, a shop/garage, and a Quonset for storing machines and a gasoline pump. The Schroters ran a mixed farm and also set up a dairy hauling route. They enjoyed the fruits of their labour, including their own garden vegetables, pork and chicken. The Schroter family owned this property for nearly six decades, at which time it changed hands once more before it was purchased by Strathcona County in 2004. Bremner House was designated as a municipal historic site in 2009.
Clover Bar Village
Clover Bar Village, 1953
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-32-36
A hub for the farming district that thrived here for decades, the village of Clover Bar once boasted a store and post office, church and school. Many miners raised their families here while the coalmines were active up until the 1950s. At its peak, the community flourished to the tune of 1,200 residents! Then, with the start-up of oil refineries just up the road (Imperial Oil in 1948 and British American Petroleum in 1951), this village located at what is now highways 16 and 216, was deemed too close to industry for a growing residential community.
Clover Bar Village
Clover Bar Village, 1953
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-32-37
In 1952, the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved a new development to the south and east of the village. Initially called Campbelltown, later Sherwood Park, the satellite townsite was developed for the families of the refinery workforce and became popular with so many others. As Sherwood Park grew, residents of Clover Bar gradually moved, some to “the Park” and others to Edmonton, then in 1970 its 47 buildings were auctioned off and either moved or razed for a cloverleaf interchange to be built.
Back in the 1880s this area was part of a scheme to quickly settle the west; it was envisioned to be a bustling “Clover City.” Then in less than 100 years, it vanished from the map.
Lendrum farm, from the southwest, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-36-4
Born in Ontario in 1853 to Irish emigrants, Charles Porter Lendrum farmed in the Prescott area before following his brother Robert out west. In 1903 at the age of 50, Charles purchased this land that had already been proven by the original homesteader, a man by the name of Thomas Hyslop.
When their Uncle Charles became ill in 1910, Annie and her twin sisters Myra (Mimie) and Mary (Mamie) came to look after him and manage the farm. The sisters’ wheelchair-bound cousin Florence also came. Having trained as nurses, Mimie and Mamie cared for their uncle and cousin, and were also known to frequent their neighbours for visits or when someone was ill.
When Charles died in 1914, title and responsibility for the farm fell to Annie; she did much of the farm work: growing grain, raising chickens and milking their one cow, while handling family business. When Florence and then Mimie died in the 1920s, Annie and Mamie carried on. When Annie died in 1943, 90 of 160 acres had been broken. Modest buildings on the property included a two-storey log house, barn, henhouse and granary. Sherwood Park’s Broadmoor Estates and the Broadmoor Public Golf Course were developed on this land in the 1960s.
A sculpture of the Lendrum sister, located on Broadmoor Boulevard, is a reminder of the compassion, courage and resolve these three single women showed together in the face of the huge challenges they met.
Hamlet of Josephburg
Hamlet of Josephburg, 1974 from the southeast
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #80-36-2
Strathcona County’s most northerly hamlet, Josephburg, is a small farming community situated just south of the original South Victoria Trail. Settled in the early 1890s by emigrants hailing from the village of Josefsberg in the Habsburg crown land of Galicia, they were people of German-Austrian descent looking to escape the poverty in the “old country.”
Faith was also central to the pioneers’ way of life. Though stemming from different denominations, they eventually united in their shared beliefs, calling themselves “Friedens Gemeinde” or Peace Congregation.
Hamlet of Josephburg
Hamlet of Josephburg, 1974, from the northwest
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #80-36-1
When they arrived they found truly “virgin territory”—it is written there were only two settlers in the whole area between Fort Saskatchewan and Andrew. Indeed they found much promise in their new homeland for in 1894, within just three years of arriving, the Josephburg district was reported to have 45 settlers, 1,000 acres cultivated, 600 cattle and 24 horses, and they had built a school. Gus Doze, the first secretary/treasurer of Josephburg School District No. 296 began to spell Josefsberg in his own way, hence the change to Josephburg.
In 1928, the CPR built a rail line through Josephburg; over time, four grain elevators were built, demonstrating the success of farming the prime soils in the region. While none of the elevators exists today, a seed cleaning plant continues to serve the farms in the area.
Partridge Hill Church
Partridge Hill Church, from the southwest, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-17-28
The Partridge Hill district was settled primarily by members of the Parry Sound Colony of 1892, followed by other colonists from the same area in subsequent years. One of their first priorities was to set up a school; Partridge Hill School District No. 280 was established in June 1893, and the school opened in January 1894.
For the first number of years, settlers used the schoolhouse for church services, as well; in fact, three denominations used the school—the Presbyterians, Methodists and Anglicans. When construction of this dedicated church building, shown here and still in use today, was finally finished in 1903, it was thanks to a $300 Home Mission grant, a fundraising quilt project led by the Ladies Aid, and the volunteer labour of parishioners. Land for the church was donated by Richard Gordon. With a debt of only $40, the new church opened on May 17, 1903.
Services were held each Sunday with alternating hosts; one week it was led by the Presbyterians and the next week by the Methodists, yet parishioners of both denominations attended every week. Each congregation maintained its own identity and structure, although there was a combined Sunday School weekly. Nationally, a union of churches occurred in 1925 when the Methodist, most Presbyterian and also the Congregationalist churches merged to form the United Church of Canada. At this point the church became and was named Partridge Hill United Church.
Half-Way Store at Bretona
Half-Way Store at Bretona, from the southwest, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-34-32
In 1906, Edward Hercules Murphy opened a store next to his farm in the Colchester district. In 1910, his son Mike Murphy took over the store and relocated it to Highway 14, near the new Bretona Station on the Canadian Northern Railway line. From 1915 to 1935, Mike also served as postmaster of the Hercules Post Office housed at the store; the post office was named after his father who was the first postmaster.
What was known as “Mike’s Store,” became a community hub, and his kind and easygoing personality drew locals to gather. Even though it changed hands many times, this country store was a meeting place for young and old. Owned by Septimus Savage in 1935, it was known as the “Blue Store on the Corner.” Owned by George MacWhirter in 1943, it was called “Half-Way Store,” a name reminiscent of much earlier days when Half-Way House at this location was considered the halfway marker by those travelling the Edmonton-Cooking Lake Trail.
Later owners expanded the business to include hardware, gasoline and oil supplies, and a lumberyard. Regardless, the storeowners operated the community post office until 1959. The buildings were demolished when the provincial Department of Highways built a divided Highway 14 in 1973.
R.P. Ottewell homestead
R.P. Ottewell homestead, 1954
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-32-35
Hailing from the north shore of Lake Superior, R.P. (Richard Philip) and his wife Fannie were known as among the very first to take up a homestead in the Clover Bar area. In search of suitable farmland out west, R.P. and friends had joined freighters heading to Edmonton in the spring of 1881. Arriving that summer, they found ideal lands yet-to-be-surveyed east of Edmonton.
R.P. broke the land with his two oxen, Buck and Bright, and for the first years, ran a typical mixed farming operation. In 1886, Ottewell and a neighbour harvested high yields to the acre of barley, oats and wheat. It is written that Frank Oliver, editor of the Edmonton Bulletin, excitedly profiled the achievement: “this big crop had a marked effect in putting heart and confidence into the pioneers who at the time were in much need of encouragement.”
Over time, R.P. expanded into coalmines, sawmills and gristmills, and also custom threshing. It was common to see his outfit, often manned by local Indigenous peoples, as it moved from farm to farm at harvest time. R.P and Fannie raised a large family, and their hard work paid off. By 1911, R.P. and Fannie had built a large, 17-room brick house, shown here—the very epitome of a modern mansion in the day.
Lakeview Inn at Cooking Lake
Lakeview Inn at Cooking Lake, from the south, 1955
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-133-30
Lakeview Pavilion was once a swinging dance hall—12,000-plus-square-feet in size—with a reputation for having the best dance floor in Alberta. With an ideal floor and live music performed by various orchestras and bands, Lakeview drew huge crowds from far and wide. Several thousand people attended the opening day on May 24, 1930 (90 years ago in 2020!); in the hall, a nine-piece orchestra played for afternoon and evening dancing, and outside activities included a senior league baseball game, free “aeroplane” rides and a western stampede.
Lakeview was built on the southwest shore of Cooking Lake, where the water was deeper and beaches were sandy. At the time, the lake came right up to the building. On the grounds, there was a picnic area, playground, tenting area and ball diamond.
When the pavilion opened in 1930, it was part of a much larger dream to build a full summer resort and amusement park. Even while they scaled back their original plans, the original owners over spent and lost the facility to debt holders. Under new ownership, the grand opening of the now Lakeview Inn on May 24, 1932 showcased the newly renovated hall with a two-sided fireplace along with other improvements. The updated venue—open May into September—held cabaret dancing nightly, and jitney dancing (pay per dance) every Wednesday and Saturday. Lakeview changed hands again in 1949, and the new owner made more changes.
Over 50 years in operation, the venue played host to wedding receptions, family picnics, company parties, open church services, political gatherings and concerts, as well as thousands of social dances. Lakeview saw its glory days through to the 1950s (though closed during the war years), and then made the switch to the popular music of the ’60s. The facility began to decline in the ’70s when the building needed maintenance. The County took over the property due to back taxes owed, and it was eventually demolished in 1987.
Ardrossan townsite, 1933
Strathcona County Museum and Archives
Before Ardrossan got its name, and even before Alberta became a province, this area was known as East Clover Bar, North-West Territories. At one time, the district was nicknamed the Grasshopper Settlement because so many settlers relocated here from Nebraska.
Even though the earliest homesteaders were recorded in the 1880s, the name Ardrossan wasn’t used until almost 30 years later in 1908. Gaelic for “height of the little cape,” Ardrossan was named by Jane Edmiston after a popular seaside resort in her homeland of Scotland. The name was presumably needed for the new railway station on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, which came through the area in 1909. A post office also opened here the same year.
East Clover Bar School District No. 1001 was established nearby in 1904 on what is now the northeast corner of Range Road 224 and Highway 16. Community events were first held in Orange Hall, built in 1913 until Memorial Hall, still in use today, was built in 1947.
Ardrossan was never incorporated as a town. With a population of close to 550 today, it is the largest of Strathcona County’s eight rural hamlets.
Laihn’s Store at South Cooking Lake
Homestead Aerial Farm Photos Ltd. #15-133-34
According to a piecing together of details from various sources (including some hearsay), this set of buildings was once located south of South Cooking Lake off the “old highway” at Range Road 221. The building on the left, known as Laihn’s Store in the 1940s, had a rental suite on the second floor. At times, a mechanic worked out of the adjacent garage. When the new Highway 14 was built, the business closed and the abandoned buildings were eventually demolished. This photo was taken in 1955.
Van Camp's "colonization barn"
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-35-20
Wm. Morley and Gertrude Van Camp moved to Clover Bar from Ontario in 1900. Morley built the family house, and the large barn was moved to this site from the Byers farm to the south. Family legend has it that Morley purchased the “colonization barn" (as it was called), removed it from its foundation, raised it to fix five gangs of four-wide wheels under each corner with one in the middle, and transported the huge structure over a half mile—all with one horse and a portable winch! Quite a feat! On its new foundation, it became a three-storey barn. About 24 cows were milked on the lower level, horses were kept on the ground level, and the upper level housed a massive hayloft, itself 25 feet high. The building was said to be about 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, built with timbers 14-inch square.
A Christian couple very active in the community, Morley and Gertrude were original members of the United Farmers of Alberta and one of the first group owners of the Clover Bar Cemetery.
Looking to the southwest, this photo was taken in 1954 after their son Wilmot had taken over the farm. The house faced north and fronted Township Road 532 (now Highway 16) at the southwest corner of Range Road 233 (now Broadmoor Boulevard). This is now Strathmoor Industrial Business Park.
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-35-19
Ezekiel and Edith Keith farmed this quarter-section at NW 10-53-23 W4 from 1925 to 1968. (Ezekiel was born at Fort Edmonton on May 31, 1883 to parents William and Sarah Keith, who were among the first to take up a homestead claim in the Clover Bar district.) Ezekiel and his wife, Edith (Hutton), operated a successful mixed dairy and grain farm and were active in community life. Both were involved church members of the Homewood Presbyterian Church, and then the Clover Bar United Church. Zeke, as he was known, served on the local school board before being elected in 1927 to the Council of the Municipal District (MD) of Clover Bar No. 517. In 1943, when the MD of Clover Bar No. 517 and the MD of Strathcona No. 518 were amalgamated, he was elected to serve the new larger MD of Strathcona No. 83 until 1962. In total he served as an elected official for 35 years, 12 of them as reeve.
This photo was taken in 1954 looking to the northeast; the house faced west and fronted Range Road 233 (Broadmoor Boulevard), just south of Highway 16. The Flying J truck stop is now on this site.
Wallace and Jane Ball's farm
Strathcona County Museum and Archives
In 1922 Wallace and Jane Ball built this large Craftsman house for their family. The quarter-section at NW 22-52-23-W4 in the Salisbury district had been homesteaded by Alfred Cover. This aerial taken in the mid to late 1930s shows the entire farmyard; the house faces north and fronts Wye Road. A huge garden for vegetables and raspberries is shown west of the house. In the “back 40” was where they grew potatoes. Stooks of grain dot the neighbouring fields.
The potatoes were harvested by hired help. Family legend has it that Wallace rode a team of horses into the city and picked up workers. They were paid $1 a day for picking potatoes, then fed a dinner meal before Wallace returned them to the city at the end of the day.
The Ball quarter, next generation
When Wallace and Jane Ball's son, Edward (Sonny) and his wife, Mary, took over the farm, the young couple built a modern bungalow in 1959; the older house was sold and moved to a nearby acreage in 1960. The Ball quarter was subdivided in the late 1950s, and a new neighbour moved in right next door to the east. The beginnings of the Campbelltown Heights country residential subdivision are shown in the top right.
This photo, taken in the early 1960s, is of the southeast corner of Wye Road and Range Road 233 (Sherwood Drive). The Wye Road Walmart store is now on this site.
Sherwood Park surrounded by farms
Wells Photographic Studio, Provincial Archives of Alberta, WS 189.1
April 27, 1959
In the early 1950s, as the oil industry developed along its western border, what was then the Municipal District (MD) of Strathcona No. 83 was predominantly rural. Wye Road ran east and west through a district known as Salisbury.
Developers John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell approached the MD of Strathcona to establish a satellite town for industry workers. In 1953, they received approval (by a vote of 9-6) from Council to proceed with the housing development, then called Campbelltown, on a quarter section of land in the Salisbury district. The first model homes opened in September 1955 and the first residents moved in by December of that same year.
High level aerial shows the start-up of Sherwood Park surrounded by farmland. Wye Road runs west to become 76 Avenue in Edmonton. British American and Imperial Oil refineries, and the City of Edmonton in the far distance.
Strathcona County Museum and Archives
Because there was already a community called Campbellton in New Brunswick, Canada Post refused the names of Campbelltown and Campbell Park that the developers had submitted, and subsequently hired a local advertising agency to come up with a name for the new community. With some unknown link to England’s Sherwood Forest of Nottingham, perhaps alluding to the dense woodlands here, the name Sherwood Park was submitted and Canada Post approved it.
The new residents embraced the new moniker, and it inspired many to continue with the legendary theme. Model homes were named for characters in the story—Robin Hood, Will Scarlet, the Merrymen, the Archer, the Friar and the Minstrel. As well, all of the streets in the Sherwood Heights neighbourhood were named for trees and shrubs, and Medieval Days was a popular community fair right into the 1990s.
The new suburb became instantly popular. From the sale of the first homes in the fall of 1955, the population of Sherwood Park grew to 2,923 by 1961, as was captured by the federal census that year. In its first five years, the number of residents in Sherwood Park was already a quarter of the municipality’s entire population of 12,075!
Photo taken in about 1960, looking to the northeast, shows the build-up of Sherwood Park in its early years.
Cloverleaf at Sherwood Park Freeway
Provincial Archives of Alberta
GR1989.0516/2430 #2, Harry Sinclair, 1975
One of the first in Alberta, this cloverleaf interchange at what was then the junction of Highway 14-14X was completed in 1968 as part of the construction of the Sherwood Park Freeway (which runs east and west through the middle of the frame).
The photo was taken looking north at the old Salisbury Corner, along what is now Highway 216, west of Sherwood Park.
In the bottom left corner, Salisbury Junior High School was renamed F.R. Haythorne Junior High School in 1971. The original Salisbury High School was built on this site in 1953; the new Salisbury Composite High School opened in Sherwood Park in 1969.
Provincial Archives of Alberta
GR1989.0516/2430 #3, Harry Sinclair, 1975
Built in the 1950s and known as Highway 14X until 1999, this short section of highway, between the Sherwood Park Freeway and Baseline Road, was part of the north-south corridor on the eastern border of Edmonton; it connected Highway 16 and Highway 14 and was the final section to be twinned. Prior to being upgraded to a highway, it was Range Road 234. The airplane was likely over top of the old Salisbury Corner. Sherwood Park was off frame to the right; shown here looking north:
- side road on the left, 1 Street, curves to the west at 92 Avenue
- Enbridge tanks on the horizon
- Township Road 524A on the right
Every Sunday in the summers between 1959 and 1963, Highway 14X when it was still new was closed to regular traffic and opened to recreational drag racing. Young local car racing enthusiasts found a sympathetic ear when they approached the Honourable Gordon E. Taylor, then Minister of Highways, for a drag strip suitable for their passion. This is the history of the now Capital City Hot Rod Association.
Abbott house, once a landmark
Homestead Aerial Photos Ltd. #315-35-18
Built for Leon Abbott in 1913, this house and barn once graced the corner of what is now Broadmoor Boulevard and Baseline Road in Sherwood Park; this is now a commercial area called Broadview Park.
According to archival records:
- the contractor stated if given enough nails, he would construct the buildings so well, they would stand forever
- young men aspiring to go to war in 1915-16 trained in the barn
- the spruce trees along the front lane were planted in 1922 or 1923
The property was sold to Forest Boyle in 1921, to Wm. Morley Van Camp in 1927, to Linus Meyer in 1944, and then to developers in 1972. Once a landmark in the community, the house was sold once more and moved by truck to a local acreage in 1982. A 1920s photo of the property was once used in a promotion of rural mail in Canada. This photo was taken in 1954 looking north.
Ministik ( ᒥᓂᐢᑎᐠ )
Alberta Government, CA 091-012, September 6, 1924
The southeast corner of Strathcona County is sometimes called “the lake district.” Ministik ( ᒥᓂᐢᑎᐠ ) means "island” in Cree, perhaps referring to the many islands in nearby Ministik Lake. For tens of thousands of years, this land sustained life for the Indigenous peoples who were familiar to this region— the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), A’aninin (Gros Ventres), Nehiywak (Cree), Anishinaabe (Saulteaux), Dene, Nakota Sioux and Métis. The Cree call this area Amiskwaciy (ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᕀ) or Beaver Hills; it was and is considered sacred land.
With the onset of settlement beginning in this area in 1906, the land survey divided the countryside into parcels. The resource-rich parkland known by Indigenous inhabitants gave way to a patchwork of roads and mixed farms as the settlers—both European and Métis—transitioned to a more agricultural way of life. Banding together, they set down roots to grow the close-knit district of Ministik, where their lives centred around farming, school, church and social activities.
Looking north over Ministik Lake toward Cooking Lake, this aerial photo taken in 1924, gives a fairly clear vantage of the farms amidst heavily wooded forests in the core of the Beaver Hills.
Berry, J.P., Clover Bar in the Making, 1881-1931. [Clover Bar, 1931]
Boyd, Michael G., Report: The History of Lakeview Pavilion and Resort at South Cooking Lake, Alberta, 1929 to 1995. [Sherwood Park, Alberta] 2017
Dodds, Jane and Matichuk, Allison, Guide Book for Sherwood Park’s Heritage Mile [Sherwood Park, Alberta] 2001
Christie, Agnes. Down Memory Lane in Colchester. Calgary : Glenbow Alberta Institute, 1980
Fischer, Bradley. South of the North Saskatchewan. Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta : Josephburg History Book Committee, 1984
Harrington, Kate ed. Sherwood Park, the first twenty-five years. [Alberta] : Jostens/National School Services Ltd., 1983
Richard McDonell, The Speediest Land Traveller – A History of Alberta Auto Racing : Granville Island Publishing, 2005
Ream, Peter T. The Fort on the Saskatchewan: a resource book on Fort Saskatchewan and District. 2nd. Ed. [s.l] Metropolitan Printing, 1974
Redekop, Linda, and Wilfred Gilchrist. Strathcona County: a brief history. [Edmonton] : W. Gilchrist, 1980
South Cooking Lake Heritage Committee. A fond look back from the new millennium: a history of South Cooking Lake. Sherwood Park, Alta. : South Cooking Lake Heritage Committee, 2000 (second printing 2002)
Strathcona County Retired Teachers' Association. The Schools of Strathcona County: a Success Story. Sherwood Park, 1999.
Wallace, Al. Track of the Edmonton Tornado, Friday, July 31, 1987: preliminary report. Edmonton : Alberta Weather Centre, Aug. 1987
Women of Unifarm (Assoc.). Cherished Memories. Ardrossan, Alta. : Ardrossan Unifarm, 1972
www.kalynacountry.com/josephburg-germans, captured May 29, 2020
Emails with local historians Michael G. Boyd and Deb Galloway in May 2020.