Sherwood Park 50 years
October 11, 2006
There was a great sense of community in the early days of Sherwood Park. Eileen Johnson, whose family was the first family to arrive on Conifer Street in 1956, remembers hosting a coffee party whenever a new family moved onto the street. With new residents arriving at least monthly, it became a fairly regular event.
Coffee parties were a popular activity. Mrs. Johnson recalls two neighbours who had coffee every day for years - in the morning at one house and after lunch, they'd cross the street and have coffee again at the other's home!
Darik Johnson, who was four when his family moved to Sherwood Park, knew all the kids by name right up until high school. He said you might not have been friends with everyone, but "you knew who they were and where they lived and who they hung out with."
Oleh Cherkawski, who also arrived in Sherwood Park in 1956, believes that in a new development like Sherwood Park, everybody was in the same position and everybody stuck together. The children all knew each other and played together. His wife, Olga, knew everybody by name in the early days.
Henry Unrau, whose family came in July 1956 recalls, "Everybody had youngsters and we became friends with everyone around us. We shared the common problems - putting in a new lawn, how do you deal with quack grass, how do you deal with a municipal district and how do you deal with a developer who has promised to fix all these little things that happen in a new house."
Neighbours cooperated on many ventures. Venice Harris, whose family moved in March 1956, remembers that her husband and several of the neighbours got together and built a skating rink on the corner of Alder and Hawthorne one winter. Mrs. Harris describes a "common, close-knit" feeling to Sherwood Park, where everyone looked out for each other.
Several residents recall that when one of the neighbours, Glen MacLachlan, had a heart attack and was recovering in hospital, neighbours took his wife in to see him every day. One day, the whole neighbourhood got together and planted his lawn.
Although Sherwood Park has grown and many don't have the opportunity to know their neighbours in the same way as in 1956, Mr. Unrau feels Sherwood Park hasn't lost its sense of community, there are just more communities. New alliances have formed over the years, but some of the old ones are still there!