Fonds med-154 - City of Medicine Hat fonds

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City of Medicine Hat fonds

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CA MED med-154

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  • 1894-1989 (Creation)
    City of Medicine Hat

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4.75 m of textual records and other material

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Biographical history

Prior to the actual construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway line through the site which was to become known as Medicine Hat, the Blackfoot, Cree and Assiniboine Indians were known to have utilized the resources afforded by the shelter of the South Saskatchewan River valley. In the early 1880's, a small group of 39 squatters, many former Hudson Bay Company and NWMP men, were known to have settled in a number of previously surveyed long river lots adjacent to the South Saskatchewan River, with the intention of establishing farms. On hearing of the intentions that the CPR planned to pass through the valley in June 1883, a group of them jointly filed a petition in November of 1882, addressed to the Department of the Interior, for recognition and protection of their said held squatted lands at "Medicine Hat Coulee". About a year later, many submitted individual statements of claim for title to their squatted properties. By the summer and fall of 1883, the Dominion Land Survey party had completed their surveying in the Medicine Hat area, and the rail line and plans for the construction of a wooden tressle bridge were underway through the townsite. It is not known whether all of the squatters were granted title to their lands, although many did continue to farm in the area while others ventured into the tent city which had sprung up as quickly as news of the coming rails. The issue of incorporation was raised and dropped numerous times during Medicine Hat's early years, as the local merchants struggled for autonomy amidst the strong arm of the local CPR "faction" under the leadership of CPR Superintendant John Niblock. Mr. Niblock had been instrumental in helping to establish a hospital here in 1889; the only hospital between Winnipeg and Vancouver. Medicine Hat was eventually established as an incorporated town on October 31, 1898, and as an incorporated city on May 9th, 1906. The first election of town officials was held in 1899, which saw the election of W.B. Marshall (Mayor), H.C. Yuill, T.C. Blatchford, A.C. Hawthorne, J.H. Spencer, G. Noble, T. Penhale, and W.N. Adsit as councellors. Rich in natural resources including natural gas, coal, clay, and farmland, the town soon grew to become "the Pittsburg of the West". A number of large industries located here, under the inducement of cheap and plentiful energy resources. Coal mines, brick works, pottery and glass bottle manufacturing plants, flour mills, etc. became established. The agricultural potential of the surrounding area, both in crop and livestock, also made the town a viable service center with a well established transportation route. Medicine Hat experienced an economic boom between 1909-1914, reaching a population which hovered around 10,000. With the advent of World War I and II, Medicine Hat's growth sharply declined, and it was not until the 1950's that the town had recovered enough to surpass the level of economic growth attained in the teens. Today, the town still prides itself as one of the cheapest places to live in Canada; the city owned gas utility the predominant factor. Major industries have included chemical plants, a tire and rubber plant, a foundry, brickworks, etc. and Medicine Hat and its citizens continue to grow and prosper.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of blueprint of C.P.R. Bridge (1915); cloth map of Medicine Hat Industrial Site (1919); blueprint-City of Medicine Hat (1914); "Consolidated By-Laws" (1912); By-laws No. 366-378 (1913), No. 417-423 (1913), No. 449-454 (1914); Amendments to Charter of City of Medicine Hat (1947); manuscript material gathered in the writing of book "All Hell for a Basement" (1981-83); Medicine Hat Community Profile Booklet (1984); WWII Honor Roll Book (on indefinite loan to the Royal Canadian Legion) (1945); ledger of building permits (1909-1947); receipt book-Town Weigh Scales (1905); Historic Title Search (1903-1975), St. Patrick's Church (1908-1972); photographic views of Medicine Hat (16) (undated); ticket to TeCo Social Welfare Club Dance (1931); Honor Rolls (7): City Employees (1914), Dulce it Decorum ist Pro Patria Mori (ca. 1914), 3rd C.M.R. (ca. 1914), 175th Battalion (ca. 1914), 13th Mounted Rifles (ca. 1914), 10th, 31st and 50th Battalions (ca. 1914), 63rd, 56th and 82nd Battalions (ca. 1914); land survey and blueprint album for City of Medicine Hat (1913); article "Life in Medicine Hat POW [Prisoner of War] Camp" (1945); bound copies re: Medicine Hat Industries-Research Project (1986); Final Report-Historic Resources Impact Assessment S. Railway St. Realignment (1987); report entitled "Specification for a Bridge" (1915); report on conditions at Medicine Hat Pumping and Power Plant (1920); contract and specifications for Bridge, Piers and Abutments (undated); bid and contract specifications for the Concrete Floor of Finlay Bridge (1920); description of land required by Ogilvie Milling Comapny as a Spur Right of Way (1913); City land leases (1926); land transfers (13), to the Society of the Nurses of Jesus (undated), to the Rosery Flower Co. (1927), to Rutherford and Merriam Planing Mill Co. (1907), to Lake of the Woods Milling Co. (undated), to Alberta Clay Products (1911), of the J.H. Bray property (1911), of the Shannon property (1913-1914), to Kennedy and Swan (1918), to the YMCA (1914), to the Prairie City Oil Co. (1913), of the Wm. Cousins property (includes blueprint) (1914), to A.A. Johnson (1914), to the Canadian Farm Implement Co. (1919); description of Alberta Foundry and Machine Co. property (1941); "Medicine Hat News: Industrial Section (1919, 1920); correspondence, letters, leases, etc. of the City of Medicine Hat (1913-1920); public works department statistics (1914-1943); O.S. atlas of the Medicine Hat Region (undated); O.S. plan showing sub-division of a portion of the town of Medicine Hat and attached proposed sub-division (2) (undated); O.S. map of Medicine Hat, Dunmore and Redcliff (undated); O.S. map of Redcliff future sub-divisions; O.S. maps of the planned sub-divisions (2) (1883); map of Medicine Hat Land District (1913); booklet of By-Laws from the Medicine Hat Board of Trade (1913); cemetery ledgers (3) (1894-1946); O.S. laminated blueprint maps of "St. Barnabas Cemetery" (2) (undated); O.S. Election Posters (9): Separate School Board (1949, 1951), Municipal (1949, 1950, 1951), Public School Board (1950, 1951), Municipal Polling Stations (1950, 1951); blueprints (5): boundary plan of the POW Camp (1947), POW Camp (3) (1946), Joint Air Training Plan (1940), Final Site Plan-SFTS (1944), slaughter house (1947); O.S. framed petition re: Incorporation of Medicine Hat as a town (1897); map of Redcliff (undated); two horse stand reciept books (undated); gas utility business plan (1989); gas utility business plan workshop presentation (1989); Town and City Council minutes, Committee and Committee of the Whole Minutes (1899-1950); 2 O.S. blueprint ledgers showing gas lines in the SE (M99.19.1), NE/NW areas of town (M99.10.2); one pamphlet from the City of Medicine Hat Natural Gas Department, showing the "schedule of rates for gas service - effective April 15th, 1935" (M99.10.3); City of Medicine Hat Minute Books, 1 tax assessor's notebook (1946-1948); Blueprint showing diversion of Seven Persons creek for CPR spur line (1911); City of Medicine Hat Financial Statements, (1930-1977); Medicine Hat General Municipal Plan (1979); Video Tape of Sept 3, 2002 City Council meeting discussing the Esplanade; O.S. maps (4): East Crescent Heights (undated), Northwest Crescent Heights (1962), Crestwood (1962), City of Medicine Hat (1955); photographs of Medicine Hat ([ca. 1905-1981]). M91.5 .1 to M91.5 ..8 Juvenile Court records from Medicine Hat Community Services Department: M91.5 .1 - Diary of Curtis Hollinger; Probation Officer OS (1917). M91.5 .2 - Juvenile Court register (1923 - 1955), M91.5 .3 Juvenile and family Court record OS (1913 - 1965), M91.5 .4 Case Record Book OS (1965 - 1967), M91.5 .5 Case Number Record Book (1958 - 1967), M91.5 .6 Files Closed Record Book (1958 - 1964), M91.5 .7 Occurence Reports Record Book (1959 - 1967), M91.5 .8 Index of file Numbers and Names (nd). Framed collage (1 O.S.) of portraits of the City Mayor and Council, and two images of a public demonstration in front of City Hall following the signing of the armistice (1918).

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Physical condition

Includes 1207 photographs, 46 maps, 19 technical drawings and 9 posters.

Immediate source of acquisition

Gifts and purchases from various City of Medicine Hat Departments, 1964 to 1989, an unknown donor, Hillside Cemetery Department via Mr. Irwin Farmer, August 6, 1993, the Office of the City Clerk, 1993 and December 17, 1996, Gordon V. Cook, 1952 and 1953,Luciano Dalla Longa, September 5, 1989, and via Donna MacLean, (husband was Duncan), August 2nd, 1995, gift via E.M. Gallup, gift of Prudential Insurance Co. via Mary Neuwirth, January 26, 1993. 0525 -- Unknown donor. 0553 -- Copy from the MH Arena Convention Centre, March 1988.


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  • Materials are in English.

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Associated materials

"All Hell For A Basement". "The History of Natural Gas at Medicine Hat". "Early History of the Medicine Hat Country". "Saamis The Medicine Hat". "The Weather Factory".

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General note

Record No. M59.1.76;M64.1;M74.107;M84.36 (.2 on indefinite loan to the Royal Canadian Legion);M82.15;M76.8;M85.12;M85.42;M86.20;M85.6;M87.19;M88.38;M78.132;M89.9;M88.13;M88.12;M78.13.1-23.1;M78.11.1;M78.29.1-.2;M78.31.3-.12;M93.15.1-.4;M84.43.1-.8;M53.1.2;M52.1;M89.15.1-.2;M2004.13;M99.10.1-.3;M71.361;M71.352;M2005.3.1;M96.6.1-.52;M93.27.1-.9;M53.1.2;M91.15.1-.5;M2005.4.1-.46;M2005.5.1;Video tape 55;M93.40.1 - .4;M91.5 .1 - .8;M2008.25.1;P 0055;FP 0518.0001;P 0525.0249, 0269;P 0553.0001<br><br>

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