Cochrane Historical & Archival Preservation Society
Visitors to the CHAPS Museum in Cochrane, Alberta are within an hour’s drive of Banff National Park and the mountain playgrounds west of Calgary that offer year round outdoor activities in a beautiful setting.
Located within The Cochrane Ranche
The Dominion Government incorporated a company in 1881 and it was known as the Cochrane Ranche Company. (excerpt from Big Hill Country page 155).
The Museum Building's History
Constructed in 1909 by the Davies family using bricks from the Collin’s Brick Yard. Built to be used as a hospital/nursing home and private residence. Moved to its current site in 2014.
Experience the history of
Through the eyes of its settlers, ranchers and farmers;
the service and supply businesses, the educators and more.
Determined never to accept relief during the Depression, Mom hauled log firewood with her team and wagon from the north end of Grand Valley, which was sixteen miles from Cochrane, sawed it into blocks with a crosscut saw and sold it for $5.00 a load, or in the log for $1.00 a foot measured from the front bolster of the wagon.
In the early 1900s, the Dog Pound Stampede or Rodeo began as a 24th of May Sunday School picnic, which was held on the flat land of the Botterell Ranch, close by the present Bottrel store. People in the surrounding area soon became very interested in visiting with their neighbours and enjoying the many events associated with horse racing and exhibition bucking horse riding, which were added to the usual foot races, jumping and games.
Pete Collins’ brickyard was situated about 300 yards directly south of where the old Cochrane Ranche house sat. The house and property at that time was owned by Beynon and Davis, who operated a dairy and pig farm from 1919 until about 1948. However, the year I am writing about was the summer of 1928, which was the last summer the brickyard was in operation.
This was at the start of the Depression, and work was hard to get. In the summer of 1928, Dad and Gordon worked at Pete Collins’ Brickyard, which was the last year that the brickyard operated. After that, they worked at any job they could get. The Cochrane Race Track was in operation then, and when the Race Horse Train arrived in Cochrane, Gordon would find some excuse to leave the room at school.
He remembered the depression years, how grain prices tumbled after the boom period following WWI. At one point farmers received $0.34 a bushel for wheat, cattle sold for $2.75 a hundredweight and a front quarter could be purchased for $0.05 a pound. Cochrane was not hit as hard as some communities that relied solely on grain sales. Cochrane had always enjoyed a mixed farming economy. Also, Cochrane had a creamery that provided an outlet for milk production. In many cases, the only money with which farmers could buy groceries was earned from the sale of milk.