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Esplanade Archives

76 Ranch

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  • Corporate body

Sir John Lister-Kaye was the visionary behind the 76 Ranch. In the fall of 1884, Lister-Kaye purchased almost seven thousand acres from the CPR and Dominion at Balgonie, east of Regina. Finding success with that region of land, Lister-Kaye turned his attention to the region west of Calgary. He purchased 10,000 acres of land there from the CPR and Dominion and began to establish ten farms. Seven of them were, at intervals, west of the Swift Current district extending almost to Calgary, one on the plains of Rush Lake, another south of Swift Current, and the third near a CPR experimental farm at Gull Lake. Lister-Kaye began promoting his group of farms as the Alberta and Assiniboia Land, Stock and Coal Company, but without convincing investors of the value and a bad drought, the scheme was almost abandoned. In 1888, however, along with D.J (Joe) Wylie, Lister-Kaye set out for England to convince his investors that his business was worthwhile. Success was had, and a new syndicate known as the Canadian Agricultural Coal and Colonization Company (CACC Co.) was created on January 26, 1888. This company bought out Lister-Kaye's Blagonie holdings and took over his purchase agreement with the CPR and Dominion once the land was inspected by the investors and given approval. By the end of 1888 the sale was finalized and Lister-Kaye had made a fortune, and also became manager of the CACC Co. for five years. The 76 Ranch brand orginally came from the Powder River Ranch Company, an English-owned organization based in London, when Lister-Kaye purchased about 5800 cattle for his ten station farms. Since the cattle already bore the brand "76" the CACC Co. decided to maintain it, and that is why today the whole enterprise in the North-West is known as the "76" Ranch. Lister-Kaye imported many high-quality breeds - mares, Merino Ewes, rams, bulls, Yorkshire Boars, and pigs - and distributed them all throughout his enterprise. Young Englishmen, and some women, were recruited and sent to the North-West to begin constructing the farm buildings and farm the land. To capitalize on the success of his farms, Lister-Kaye came up with an idea that linked his farms together. He opened up butcher shops and slaughterhouses in Dunmore and Medicine Hat and a large meat packing plant in Calgary in order to sell the company's own beef, mutton, and pork. The idea to sell cheese and butter, however, failed. After reckless mistakes and decisions, Lister-Kaye was replaced as manager of the CACC Co. and Harper P. Clinto took over. The company's troubles, however, did not end. In 1890, a prarie fire started by sparks from a CPR engine trapped 2200 CACC Co. sheep who were grazing near Gull Lake. Most of them were pregnant and over half of them were killed or badly burned. Coyotes also heavily prayed on lambs and sheep. A bad hail storm in 1890 also destroyed the crops in the Swift Current region. D.H Andrews took over as cattle manager of the "76" in 1890 and the livestock from Swift Current moved to Rush Lake, and those at Gull Lake moved to the Crane Lake ranch. Plagued by financial troubles, the CACC Co. sold all of its holdings and assests in the North-West to a new London-based company, the Canadian Land and Ranch Company Ltd. (CL & R Co.). A.F Eden was chairman of the Board of Directors and D.H Andrews was made general manager of the company. Selling off livestock became a priority to make money and several employees were dismissed. Weather and low prices for wool made making money a tough practice, even though the new company managed to make healthy profits through consolidations. The company was dealt a mortal blow during the winter of 1906 - 1907 when two-thirds of their cattle herd died on the open range, and was only able to continue on until 1909 because of stored profits. In 1909, the company gave up ranching entirely, and sold its remainging holdings to the firm of Gordon, Ironsides and Fares of Winnipeg.

Aasman, Gerda

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Gerda (nee?) was born in Holland and immigrated to Canada with her family in 1950, following the Second World War. They settled in the Taber and Iron Springs area. In 1953, Gerda and her family (parents, one brother, and one sister) came to Medicine Hat. Another sister was born in 1955. Gerda met Henry Aasman in 1960, and were married in June 1962. In 1963 they purchased a vacant house on Casey Aasman's property and settled there. They had two children, Rory (born in 1965) and Chandra (born in 1968). The family still lives on the farm, just north of Cypress Packers.

Adam, Cliff

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Cliff Adam is a well known local business man, having owned and operated C.E. Adam Jewellers from 1953-54 to the present. C.E. Adam Jewellers was first located at 671 2nd Street before it was relocated, about a year later, at their present location at 652 3rd Street. Cliff's wife Pauline, is also active in the family business as well as one of the couples two daughters, Lynn Adam-Hertz. Mr. Adam has also served as a City of Medicine Hat Alderman from 1958 to 1966, and as an active member of Medicine Hat's Cypress Club.

Adsit, Abram

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  • Person

In 1883, Abram Adsit arrived from Michigan as Manager of Louis Sands Sawmill near Elkwater Lake. Upon expiration of his contract with Sands in 1884, Adsit toured the United States as far south as the Gulf of Mexico evaluating the country for ranching. In 1885, he obtained a homestead in the Cypress Hills area. Accompanying Abram west to his new homestead were his wife Mary (nee Dietz), whom he had married in 1854, and two of their sons, William Nelson "Nels" and George Earl (additional children were added to the family at a later date). Upon Abram's death in 1891, at 57 years of age, his sons continued to operate the ranch. The oldest son "Nels", was born in Traverse City, Michigan. In the late 1880's he secured land north of Elkwater Lake and also made arrangements to secure the sawmill in 1889. In late 1892, he dismantled the mill and shipped it east because the timber in this area was too thin. In 1892, he opened one of the first butcher shops in Medicine Hat. He sold his ranch in 1898, and became Secretary-Treasurer and Clerk of the newly incorporated town of Medicine Hat, serving for 13 years. He died in 1913. His widow Mattie, moved to California. Nels and Mattie had a family of four. Their eldest son Charles Abram, was also born in Traverse City, and later moved to Los Angeles. Their second son Thomas Nelson, farmed near Medicine Hat where he died in 1923. He married Pearl Hutchings in 1914. Their two children were born in Medicine Hat: William Nelson (1915), and Dorothy Agnes (1916). Nels and Matties' third son Walter Ray, was born in 1887, in Medicine Hat and remained single. He enlisted during World War I and was killed in France. A daughter Alice, was a employed as a Clerk at the Brand Office in Medicine Hat. She married Mr. Snowdon. The second son of Abram and Mary Adsit, George Earl, was born in 1870, in Traverse City. Earl apparently spent most of his time near his homestead just east of Elkwater Lake. He spent a few winters hunting and trapping north of the Red Deer River with Charles Lennox. In 1896, Earl sold his land to Jimmy Crooks of Gros Ventre Creek. Earl took part in quest for "gold and glory" during the Klondike gold rush, and spent the rest of his life in the Yukon and British Columbia. In 1905, he married Da-Col, daughter of Ka-Gota and Lath-Ga of Tahl-Ton. She was of the Wolf clan of Cassiar, B.C.. They had five children. Earl died in Vancouver in 1944. A grandson, Bill Adsit, presently lives in Edmonton.

Air Cadet League of Canada. No. 15 (Medicine Hat)

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The No. 15 (Medicine Hat) Air Cadets of Canada received certification from the Air Cadet League of Canada on September 28, 1941. Any boy under the age of 18, out of school and working was invited to join. Close to 100 boys took the Oath of Allegiance at Alexander High School in October 1941. The new recruits would receive their instruction from members of the Royal Air Force. The Air Cadets are still active in the Medicine Hat community; they hold meetings at the Armory at 120 Cuyler Rd SE.

Alberta 75th Anniversary

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Alberta celebrated its 75th anniversary as a province in 1980. Many special events were held throughout Alberta. The materials donated contain details about and promotional materials for those events organized in the southern sector of the province.

Alberta Foundry and Machine Company

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  • Corporate body

The Alberta Foundry and Machine Co. Ltd. was founded in September of 1911, by John Edward Davies (1904-1951). At the first Shareholder's meeting in 1911, H.C. Yuill was elected President, John Davies became Secretary, and Herbert MacDougall became the Vice President until he retired in June of 1913. Vernon W. Parrish was then appointed as the Foundry's second Vice President. The company was formed to manufacture items such as steel rails, catch basins, manhole covers, lamp posts, valves, hydrants, pumps and mining machinery as well as farm implements. By 1913, the plant was in full operation employing between 30 to 37 men. By April of 1913, employees had increased to 40 with an annual payroll of $25,000. In 1916, J.E. Davies was appointed President, V.W. Parrish, Secretary/Treasurer and G.B. Davies, Vice President. During the First World War, the foundry was kept busy manufacturing shells. After the armistice, the plant experienced a period of decline, and it was leased to the Canadian Farm Implement Co. This company produced the "Canadian Tractor" and rod-weeders. The company experienced a lull until 1940, and when World War II intensified, the plant was again reverted to a munitions manufacturing center. The plant had received orders form the Department of Munitions and Supply to manufacture shells and by 1942, was completely devoted to war production. At that time, it employed 150 people, working 20 hours per day; 2 ten hour shifts. By March of 1945, it had turned out a total of 525,335 shells with orders to produce another 78,000. In July 1945, with the end of the war in sight, the company was ordered to dismantle, clean and crate the machinery used to manufacture the shells and ship it to Winnipeg for storage. T. McAvity and Sons (Western) Ltd. bought the foundry in 1955. At that time, the employees were down to 12, but by 1959, the plant was back in full production and employees numbered 49. On an average, hydrants were produced at a rate of 12 per day. On August 1, 1960, Crane Canada Ltd. bought the plant and it became known as the "McAvity Division." Later it was known as McAvity Products or the Valves and Industrial Division of Crane Canada Ltd. In 1982, the plant increased with the introduction of an electric melting furnace, thus replacing the cupola furnaces run by coke. In December 1990, the company was bought by Clow Canada and continues to make fire hydrants and municipal castings.

Alberta Highland Dancing Association. Medicine Hat and District Branch

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The Medicine Hat and District Branch of the Alberta Highland Dancing Association was founded in 1973. The objective of the association was to foster and preserve traditional Scottish highland dancing, giving special encouragement through instruction to the young dancer. The first instructors were brought from Calgary, twice a month for classes which were held in the first street "Youth Center" (formerly the Eagles Hall across from Riverside Park). Various activities included dancing demonstrations at a number of Highland Games events, White Heather Concerts and performances given for nursing home residents and other community concerts.

Alberta Linseed Oil Company

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The Alberta Linseed Oil Mills began operation in 1912, financed by John McNeely, President and General Manager, Harlan C.Yuill, Vice President, and William McNeely, Secretary-Treasurer. The central purpose of the mill was to produce raw and boiled linseed oil from flax, to be used in agricultural products such as livestock meal, and for use in paints and varishes. In 1918, the company was sold to Brandram-Henderson Limited of Montreal and the name changed to Alberta Linseed Oil Company Limited. In 1934, H.C. Yuill bought back the company and it remained a family business until closing. Throughout the years of operation the company ventured into production of hand soap, a household cleanser, safflower products, various edible oil products and asphalt and roofing tar and paint. The Company also diversified through sales and leasing of irrigation and water softening equipment. Subsidiary companies included Caltana Safflower Products Limited, Hy-Point Feeds, Canadian Safflower Products Limited, H & H Ranches and Lindsay of Medicine Hat. A fire which occurred in 1985, damaged Hy-Point Feeds and parts of the main building of Alberta Linseed Oil at their location on Allowance Avenue. The company was later relocated to the Brier Park industrial area, and operated under the Hy-Point Feeds Limited name until ca. 1990.

Alberta Women's Institute

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The first Women's Institute in Alberta was organized in 1909, and was known as the Lea Park Institute. There were 39 members the first year. The officers were Mrs. M.E. Graham, President, and Miss Anna McKenzie Hall, Secretary. Many joint meetings were held with the United Farmers of Alberta to make travelling easier for families, and eventually the two groups merged. In 1915, when the Alberta Women's Institutes was finally organized provincially, a handbook was printed, travelling libraries were established and lectures and demonstrations were organized. Also in 1915, the first provincial convention was held in Olds, with about 100 delegates attending. 250 women attended the second convention in 1916, in Edmonton. The years between 1916 and 1921 were difficult. The war, influenza epidemic and drought in Southern Alberta taxed the resources of the Women's Institute movement. Thousands of dollars were raised for the Red Cross, socks were knitted, hospital supplies were bought and made, and soldiers and their dependants cared for . Local hospitals, maternity homes, libraries, community halls and rest rooms were founded through the initiative and support of Women's Institutes. In 1919, the Institutes turned to peace-time activities. Girls Club's were organized, as were lectures on home nursing, sewing, canning and child welfare. In the same year, the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada came into being. Much was done to aleviate the suffering of those in drought stricken Southern Alberta. In 1928, the wild rose was chosen as the floral emblem for Alberta. On the suggestion of the Women's Institute, the Department of Education held a vote of school children to choose the emblem. In 1930, their choice was endorsed by the Legislature. In the same year government funding to Women's Institutes was terminated. Throughout the difficult years of the Depression, annual conventions were held less fequently to cut costs. At this time the I.O.D.E. and Women's Institute operated to provide "Mother's Bundles" to needy families. In 1939, the Women's Institute was involved in arranging transportaiton for children to various centres to meet King George and Queen Elizabeth during their visit to Canada. During World War II conventions and official visits were again terminated but much vital work was still undertaken. Contributions were made to War funds, bonds, and certificates and tons of seeds, handknitted clothing, quilts, food and jam were sent overseas. Aid continued to war-torn countries after hostilities ceased and the response from Women's Institute branches was just as great as during the war. After 1947, support towards cancer research work became the objective. A vast amount of work was accomplished by women in the Women's Institute branches between 1909 and 1957, despite a struggle for existance in the early years. The Women's Institute contributed greatly to improve things for both Alberta citizens and those in countries overseas.

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