Hats off to days gone by in Cochrane

pg 36 A Peep into the Past Vol.1 1990 Belle and Gordon Hall

In the early days, a man was known for the hat he wore. When a man took his hat off 50 years ago, ranchers or outdoorsmen especially would be tanned a dark oak color except where the hat brim sat, then there would be a sharp contrast as the head, which was usually bald was snow white, never seeing the sun. Bachelors mostly never took their hats off, even in the house. 

Some ranchers and farmers wore the same old stetson hat for years and could tell who it was a great distance away by the hat. Then there were women’s hats. My mother had one which was black and decorated with ostrich feathers. The feathers were dyed in different colors. Mother had one purple and several black and white feathers. These were about two feet long and three or four inches wide. This conglomerate was held onto her head by hat pins. Mother had two or three hat pins, they were about eight inches long and sharp at the end. On the other end was a knob about the size of a marble. 

There was a one-eyed man in town who was supposed to have had his eye put out by a hat pin. He was supposed to have been looking through the keyhole in the door to a ladies’ boudoir, when she poked a hatpin through the keyhole and put out his eye. 

Most school kids wore toques, knitted mostly. We would pull them down in front and then up over the eyes, this gave better ear protection. Some of the storekeepers wore hats or caps at work, along with black arm socks or whatever they were called. When you met a lady on the street, the polite way to greet her was to tip your hat or if stopping to chat, take the hat off. Today there are very few hats worn except by older men and women. The trend has been to long hair and no headgear. 

In the days gone by it used to amuse me to see some farmers coming to town. Some would have a fur coat and a straw hat on or a fur hat and no coat at all. Boy Scouts had the Baden-Powell hat, also the Mounted Police. They looked real smart. This has gone out the window, at least for the scouts. The trend now seems to be the old ski cap types for men and boys, with some kind of logo on the front. 

Deep Dive

Cochrane AB Photo courtesy of Internet Archive

Postcards from the Past

Doing some research to answer a recent question from a reader, we came across the Internet Archive site. It has some interesting postcards from the past.

This postcard has been hand colorized as was often done on old photos.

The MacKay building center image.

Cochrane looking west. This photo taken after the construction of the Elevator.

I was not aware there was an earlier location of the Creamery. The location I was aware of was slightly west of the current Cochrane Historical Museum.

Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre

A very popular meeting place since it was one of the first to allow Men and Women in the same area of the Bar.

Old Car provided Transportation, Adventure

pg 26 A Peep into the Past Vol 1 Belle and Gordon Hall

The first motor car in the Cochrane area was a small steam car owned by the Cochrane Ranch, It was brought into Alberta in 1903 by W.F. (Billy) Cochrane, who at the time resided at High River. Joe Boston was the first to have a car in Grand Valley. In 1907 he bought a 1907 Maxwell two-cylinder touring car. 

1907 Maxwell RL Tourabout, photo courtesy Trombinoscar.com

When Joe came to a hill he turned the Maxwell around and backed up. The car was sold to Ken Cohoe for $10 in 1945 and it is now in the Stan Reynold’s Museum in Wetaskiwin. The Maxwell had a top speed of 10-15 miles per hour, but no power on the hills.

Unknown location

The Quigleys had the first garage in Cochrane and sold Ford cars. The garage was later made into a house, now being lived in by Mrs. Barbara Coutts. The Chapman Brothers built a garage here in 1918 and sold Chevrolet cars. Chas Grayson started the Imperial Oil Bulk station and delivered gas to the garages with a dray pulled by a big grey horse. Chas had a 100-gallon tank to haul the gas in. He could pull the tank off and on the dray as it was not very big. 

Chapmans Garage 1920s courtesy Glenbow Archives

Gas was dispensed by early service stations by pail. The gas in the pail was poured into a funnel covered by a chamois cloth or hide to catch dirt and water. Gas tanks on the Model T Fords were under the front seat. After removing the seat, gas was measured by dipping a stick into the tank. It was graduated in inches and by the depth of the gas it told how much gas you had left. Then came the gravity pumps for gas a glass bowl at a height of about six feet, with a handle that the attendent pumped gas into the bowl of the pump. Then it was gravity-fed into the gas tanks. Oil was kept in glass bottles with a spout and were filled from oil barrels. The weight of oil required was marked on the bottle. Then of course, canned oil came along. Now oil is in plastic containers. 

Car tires were a big item. Everyone carried a kit to fix tubes. A hot patch was required at first and most people carried a device the tube was patched and clamped to. Fired by alcohol, these devices were quite dangerous. Then came the cold patch which was much better. It was common to see someone on the side of the road patching his tires. 

Deep dive

2022 AGM Larry Want Bernice Klotz

2022 Presidents Message


The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching impacts, including threatening the future of ours and other small-town museums. These museums are full of history, passion, and unique artifacts, but they are in peril. One threat is that the digital world is making museums less relevant. When the museum posts pictures on line, there’s less need for people to go visit them in person. Our museum has some artifacts that can’t be transferred to the online world. And then the pandemic shut us down, CHAPS had the good fortune to have received a large bequest from the Lambert estate which has protected us from the “small town economic threat”. 

There seems to be a generational divide, regardless of the pandemic, where a lot of small local museums are run by older people. And the next generation doesn’t seem to be coming to take over. Volunteers have become more important than ever to keeping our small town Cochrane museum alive.The CHM is lucky to have extraordinary volunteers who help with everything, special events, setting up displays, cataloguing artifacts, researching and helping with administrative tasks. Thank you. 

There is a type of “beauty” in our small town Cochrane museum. It is like sharing family albums. Rather than each family storing memories in attics or barns and losing them to time, they bring their collective history to us. Nothing captures Cochranes small town character, soul and past like our CHM. From purchasing a membership to supporting our local history, to volunteering, discovering your own history through research or waiting and sharing our local history, if you care about or want to learn more about our shared history, you need to become a member today. 

Thank you, 

Larry Want 



Become a Member

If you care about or want to learn more about our shared history, you need to become a member today.

Before the railway, supplies came from Fort Benton, Montana

Before the railway, supplies came from Fort Benton, Montana. Fort Benton is on the Missouri River allowing steamboats to supply goods needed for the opening of the West.

Several of our articles have mentioned Fort Benton. The Wilson, Sibbald, and Kerfoot family articles all mention this important hub. (follow the link in Deep Dive below) Fort Benton was the source of the “Whoop-Up” Trail into Alberta and the Fort Walsh Trail into Saskatchewan. Click on the following map to expand.

Fort Benton Map to Cochrane
Fort Benton Map to Cochrane

Be sure to watch the Fort “Whoop Up” Orientation video in the link below.

Deep Dive

Calgary lumber came from Kananaskis

pg 55 A Peep into the Past Vol. 1 Belle and Gordon Hall

At the turn of the century when Calgary was booming, its lumber had to come from somewhere. That somewhere happened to be Kananaskis Country. The logs were put in the Kananaskis River and floated down it to the river’s entry into the Bow where they went on down to Calgary. Here they were caught by a weir and went into the saws at the Eau Claire sawmills. The mills were located close to where Louise Bridge is now. 

In 1909 the Seebe Power Dam was built and this stopped the log flow from the Kananaskis as that river ran into the Bow above the Seebe Dam. Eau Claire then changed their logging to the Ghost River area. At Meadow Creek and Waiparus Creek there were small dams built to hold back water to form a small lake of about 1-2 acres. This was done in the fall of the year, so that when freeze up came, the loggers had a frozen pond on which to pile their logs. 

In the spring when the thaw came, they opened the dam and the ice melted and the logs went down the river. The Waiparus Creek drained into the main Ghost and down emptying into the Bow. When the logs had disappeared downstream, a clean-up crew followed them. These were known as log drive camps. The camp would consist of usually 10 men, with two teams of horses and a boat. Their job was to send logs down the river which had hung up com shore, often there were log jams on the small islands. Dynamite sometimes had to be used to blow these dams apart. The logs were all stamped with a metal stamp “EC”. These stamps were on a handle, so when they hit the end of a log, the stamp was embedded in the wood. Some claimed that if cut a Eau Clair log in half, you could still see the print of the stamp. This was meant to stop stealing of EC logs, I presume. 

Ghost Dam Glenbow UofC Archives

Then in 1929 the Ghost Dam was built and that put an end to the log drives, as the Ghost River ran into the Ghost Reservoir and there was no way to get logs over the dam. Another part of the past that is just memory. 

In 1937 when I was big game hunting northwest of Sundre in the James River area, we ran across an old wood dam across the James River. We also found the old bunkhouses and log cabins. Returning to Sundre, we inquired about the story from oldtimers. It seems the Great West Logging Company had built the camp and dam in 1916. They were following the plan of Eau Claire Co. to float the logs down the James to the Big Red River. I never did find out where their mill was situated. Anyway, the logs got away on them and the story was that all the farmers from Sundre east through Red Deer and Drumheller, all had new log barns. I saw one of the barns near Fish Lake, east of Drumheller, in later years. I took some pictures of the old dam and they were printed in the Sundre paper. 

Deep dive

Elizabeth Barrett Grave site Morley AB - Hamish-Kerfoot

Thanks to our Readers – Elizabeth Barrett Post

One of our recent social media posts to celebrate Women’s History Month was on the contribution of Elizabeth Barrett to Alberta’s history. Several of our readers contributed very interesting comments on that post.

First, Hamish McNaughton Kerfoot contributed this photo of Barrett’s gravesite. Her grave is described very well in our story: Elizabeth Barrett: First Woman Teacher in Alberta

Elizabeth Barrett Grave site Morley AB - Hamish-Kerfoot
Elizabeth Barrett Grave site Morley AB - Hamish-Kerfoot

Then, a couple of our readers mentioned their time attending Elizabeth Barrett school here in Cochrane. They recalled a song they used to sing. Thanks to Christina Lewis and Sandy Mackenzie-Goodsell for the song tip.

Intrigued, I contacted Shelly Tuck at Elizabeth Barrett school. She kindly passed me along to Cathy Brown who supplied the words and tune. Hopefully, a performance version will come too.

Elizabeth Barrett School Song:

At Elizabeth Barrett School we think caring is cool

and peacemakers are here, everywhere.

We learn to talk it out, that’s what school’s all about

Trying to show we care….

And we do believe, 

we can achieve, 

our goals will all be met.

Working together in a safe and caring way is best


At Elizabeth Barrett, we’re part of this whole family

Where everyone works together, to be the best that they can be.


CHAPS is grateful that people are reading about our rich history and care to add their memories. Be sure to come to our AGM Sunday. Memberships and Tickets to the fund raiser will be available.


March 12, 2023 2:00 PM FCSS Basement Boardroom
209 2nd Ave West
Bring a Friend

From the Cochrane Advocate March 1917-1924

compiled by Gordon Davies

March 18, 1913 

There is an unusual amount of interest centered around the forthcoming Bachelor’s Ball. Coming as it does during the festive week of Easter, preparations are being made for the accommodation of 300 guests. Those young eligibles are going to break not only all records, but their thraldom of bachelorhood, and pass over into the Promised Land. 

Gophers are now plentiful. We would like to remind auto drivers of an act that a humane government has passed, to the effect that drivers must carry a pick and shovel on their cars in order to give a decent funeral to any gophers they may run over. 

March 16, 1922 

Several people appeared in court before Mr. C. Grayson, J.PP. last Saturday, charged with infringing the Automobile Act. We would advise our readers who have not already done so, to see about a new number plate “toot sweet”. 

March 23, 1922 

The first two automobiles of the season to make the trip from Calgary to Banff passed through Cochrane on Friday afternoon. On their return last Sunday, they reported the trail quite passable, the only trouble they experienced on the whole trip was on the reserve west of Cochrane. 

March 30, 1922 

Somebody got busy and moved back the calendar back a month or two last week, with the result that Cochrane and district, after a spell of real spring weather, had been experiencing a very unpleasant selection of icy winds and severe cold, and in addition quite a quantity of snow has fallen. Saturday in particular was one of the worst days that we have had this winter, and a cold wind from the north and east, with driving snow, made it particularly unpleasant. The cattle and horses on the ranges are, without doubt, the greatest sufferers, and with the supply of hay running short the ranchers are beginning to wonder how long this cold spell is due to last.

March 18, 1920 

Some Storm 

The bad blizzard Sunday one of, if not the worst of the year put Cochrane in darkness Sunday evening. It was not until three p.m. Tuesday that power was available. 

March 13, 1924 

Cochrane C.G.I.T. 

The four Be’s of the C.G.I.T. wish to thank the people of Cochrane for their splendid support in the recent sell-a-star campaign. 

The girls collected $29.00 being an average of 7.25 stars per member, which entitled them to a Gold Honor Certificate. The banner was won by Carsland, with an average of 9.31 stars per member, while the Cochrane C.G.I.T. stood second in the province. 

The result of this campaign has been a great encouragement to the girls and leaders. Again, we thank you. 

March 20, 1924 

The Banff Highway 

Discussing the recent rumor that the course of the Banff highway would be changed to the south side of the river, Mr. Alex Moore, MLA stated, a few days ago, 

that the government contemplated no such action. An engineer had been sent out from Edmonton recently, to examine the feasibility of the southern route, but his report was very decidedly against any change being made. 

According to Mr. Moore, the programme for the coming session includes improvement work on 48 miles of the present highway, with particular attention to Cochrane Hill. 

March 1, 1917 

There has been several motor loads of people going to the city this week to see the war pictures that are being shown there. 

The Red Cross Society is holding a work, apron, and handkerchief sale on Saturday, March 31st. at their rooms. Refreshments will be served. The Society will be very thankful for any contributions of work, aprons, or handkerchiefs, and all members are asked to give one or more.

March 1, 1917 

The uses for a Ford car are increasing, and anyone who happened to be curious enough to look into Mr. Webster’s woodyard could have seen his Ford car pulling the buzz-saw, and doing it easy. Thos. Quigley and Mr. Webster have perfected a power attachment for the Ford which appears to be away ahead of anything ever tried out before, and those who have any notion of using their car for power should investigate this new attachment. 

March 8, 1917 

The Banff lady curlers came down off Tuesday afternoon to play a game with a team of the local club, but when they arrived the ice was too soft for play so they returned home that evening without having played a game. We’re awfully sorry ladies, but even Cochranites can’t seem to control the weather.

Deep Dive

A.W. MacDonald 1831-1927

by D.M. McDonald pg 324 Big Hill Country 1977

A.W. MacDonald was born in the northwestern highlands of Scotland in Invernesshire, a land as rugged as the inhabitants of this picturesque home of the clan MacDonald. Earning a living was either by being a gamekeeper, shepherd, or a crofter. A crofter was a tenant farmer of the large landowners who were either titled people or wealthy people called Lairds. 


MacDonald was an employee and also a crofter on land owned by a Laird MacDonnell. The Laird had dreams of a fortune to be made by trading with the Indians (sic) in far-off western Canada. He asked MacDonald to accompany him as an employee on this venture. In 1881 they sailed from Scotland for the United States where they sailed by riverboat up the Missouri River to Fort Benton, Montana. The Laird purchased four horses, a wagon, and all the goods and necessary articles they would need on their long journey on the trail to the banks of the Ghost River. They followed the route used by the I. G. Baker Company who were operating a trading post and supplying the N.W.M.P. in Calgary. 

After a journey of six months from the time they left Scotland, they arrived on the North Fork of the Ghost River north of Morley, Alberta. Here they built a trading post and spent the winter of 1881. In the spring of 1882, the Laird returned to Scotland and instructed MacDonald to meet him in Fort Benton in the spring of 1883 and to purchase more goods to trade. When MacDonald arrived in Fort Benton there was a 

Cochrane to Ft Benton

letter for him advising him the Laird was not going to return to Canada and that he was to keep all the Laird’s property as wages. It must have been quite a shock to a 53-year-old man, in a strange country, his family in far-off Scotland, with very little money and miles away from the Ghost River. He had no other choice but to return to Canada. To have embarked on such an undertaking in the first place at the age of 50 years, an age at which most of us think we have reached the twilight of our lives, speaks well of the courage of our ancestors. Starting an entirely new type of life in a far off land shows the true pioneering spirit of our forefathers. 

Upon his return to the Ghost River, he filed a homestead which he named Glenfinnan in remembrance of the birthplace of his wife in far-off Scotland. He worked hard, cutting hay which he sold to the construction crews that were building the C.P.R. He even hauled hay as far as Banff, no mean feat I would say. He raised a few cattle and by 1886 he had saved enough money to send for his family. 

Mrs. MacDonald was living on the banks of the loch near Arisaig, which is about 60 miles west of Fort William. She and her three daughters and three sons had to walk five miles around the loch where they had to be rowed out to the ship that was to take them to Canada. Their many friends and neighbours carried their belongings to the ship and wished them Godspeed on their journey. The children were, Margaret, age 20, later known as Maggie Robertson, wife of James Robertson; Jessie, age 19, later Mrs. Charlie Perry; Donald, age 18, later known as D.P. of the Mount Royal Ranch; Angus, age 14, who later homesteaded north of Cochrane; Alex, age 12, best known as Sandy and foreman of the last Cochrane Roundup, and Joanne, age 9, later Mrs. George Phipps. It must have been quite an experience looking after this brood on the long journey to Cochrane. Mr. MacDonald met them at Cochrane where they arrived on one of the first trains that were going to Vancouver. They arrived late in the evening and drove 20 miles to their new home. 

Mrs. MacDonald was born in 1836, and passed away in 1912. Shortly after her passing, and upon the death of his son-in-law, George Phipps, Mr. MacDonald sold the Glenfinnan to Doctor Muir. He and his daughter, Mrs. Joanne Phipps, and her two children, Agnes and Jack, moved to live with his son, Angus, who at that time was not married.

 In 1917 Mr. MacDonald purchased a house in the east end of the village of Cochrane where he, Mrs. Phipps and her two children lived until he passed away in his sleep on the 20th of February, 1927, at the age of 96. He had at no time in his life been ill and, till the very last, did not show any signs of being senile. 

It was men and women of the caliber of Mr. and Mrs. MacDonald that helped to develop this wonderful country of ours. It took a great deal of courage and faith in the future to bear the trials and tribulations that must have beset them. 

The last owner of the Glenfinnan was Hamish Begg. He sold the ranch to the Alberta Government who returned it to the Stoney Indians for road allowance rights on another part of the Morley Reserve. Truly a fitting end to the story of Mr. MacDonald. 

Deep Dive

The Reed Family

by Audrey Brown and Dorothy Boothby
pg 265 Big Hill Country 1977

In 1922 our father, Sydney John Reed, decided to immigrate to Canada from Woolwich, Kent, England. This decision was brought about due to a bad case of rheumatism, and a change in climate was the recommended cure. Arrangements were soon made with his fiance, Lilian Goodwin, and Father headed for Cochrane in 1923. 

Cochrane was the place chosen because Lilian Goodwin’s sister, Dora Noland, and her husband, Lloyd, lived on a homestead there. Father was greeted by Dora, Lloyd, and their four children, Beverly, Algy, Gary, and Bernice. The homestead was a Soldier’s Settlement entitled to Lloyd for his service during World War One. The farm was on the banks of the Bow River, eight miles west of Cochrane. The land was rocky and barren and did not lend itself to being a productive farm. Father worked as a handyman on the farm, while Lloyd was away working as a Government Mange Inspector until Lilian arrived from England in 1924. 

Father and Mother were married in a small ceremony at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Calgary, with Mr. and Mrs. Bert Baker and the Minister in attendance. 

Father and Mother remained on the Noland’s farm for one year until their first daughter, Audrey, was born. Another daughter, Eileen, was born to the Nolands. Consequently, with this sudden population explosion, Father and Mother realized it was time to move on. They decided to move to the Wildcat Hills, quite a name for a young girl fresh out of London. Here, Father found work at the Brooks Sawmill. 

After a few years, Father and Mother could see that the three Brooks boys were growing up and would soon be able to manage the sawmill themselves. So, in 1927 they moved to the town of Cochrane where Father found work at the hotel, then owned by Jack Dickenson. He also took jobs during harvest time, pitching bundles. 

In 1929 another daughter, Dorothy, was born. Father and Mother purchased a lot up the street north of the hotel, and they started to build a  home. At this time the government organized labour camps in an effort to curb unemployment. This gave Father the opportunity to work as a timekeeper in Seebe and Sundre. 

By 1935 the depression years began to come to a close and Father became established as a butter maker in the Cochrane Creamery. He held this position until he transferred to Okotoks in 1953. 

The second World War led to a shortage in man power. This gave girls a chance to get into the working force. Audrey was now eighteen and she became one of the first women to take over a man’s job in the bank. The staff of the Royal Bank in Cochrane in 1943 was Arthur O’Keefe, Ida Cooke and Audrey Reed. 

Audrey on bike in front of house
Dorothy Boothby

In 1943 Father succeeded Andy Chapman as the Mayor of Cochrane. During his short term in office, he managed to get garbage collectors for the town, something which up until then had been taken care of by the individual resident. Father was also the Vicar’s Warden in All Saints Anglican Church for many years and Mother was organist for awhile. 

Audrey was married, in 1947, to Donald Edward Brown who lived seven miles northeast of Cochrane. After their marriage, they moved to Edmonton where Donald was attending University. Audrey and Donald have four children, Dawn, married, with a daughter, Erin, and living in Calgary, Janet, married and nursing in Vancouver, Reed a world traveler, and Craig attending the Alberta College of Art in Calgary. 

Audrey, Don Brown Dorothy Boothby

Dorothy worked for the Royal Bank in Cochrane from 1947 until transferred to Calgary in 1951. In 1957 Dorothy married Bill Boothby of Cochrane. They reside on a ranch north of Cochrane and have three sons, Mark, Laurie, and Dana. The boys attend school in Cochrane. 

In 1958 Father passed away while still actively working at the Creamery in Okotoks. After Father’s death, Mother moved to Calgary, where she remained until her death in 1963. 

Deep Dive

Cochrane’s Olympic Spirit

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics from February 13th to 27th. It’s hard to believe it’s been 35 years.

How was Cochrane involved? We’ll we certainly displayed the Olympic Spirit. The Olympic Rings were displayed on Cochrane Hill and visible for kilometers.

Judging by the lack of snow on the hill, there was a valid concern for lack on snow on the venues.

Olympic Rings 1988 Cochrane Hill Google search by Dara-Lee Kirkland-Dallaire

The story behind the Olympic lights was told in a story by Jack Tennant which is now on Cochrane Today. You can read his story which was published in Cochrane This Week by using the link in Deep Dive below.

The International Olympic Committee took a very dim view of using the five rings above our town without their approval.

Sports have always been important in a small town from the early days until today. Even though Cochrane is certainly not small today.

Gordon Davies relates the story of sports in the early 1900’s in this audio.

Deep Dive

The Ghost Dam

by Katherine Gaskell pg 306 Big Hill Country 1977

 One day in the late 1920s two men stood on a high bank overlooking the junction of the Ghost and Bow Rivers. We have been told that one man said to the other, “Let’s build a dam here.” As these men were G. A. Gaherty and G. H. Thompson, both officials and engineers of Calgary Power Ltd., their suggestion was carried out and the Ghost Dam and Power Plant came into being. 

The peaceful site was soon a hive of activity with narrow gauge tracks being laid from borrow pits to the dam site, and small steam engines hauling gravel and clay to build the mile-long earth-filled dam. 

By 1929 one of the units of the plant was in operation, manned by personnel from Seebe. Arthur Postlethwaite was in charge while Warrender Robertson Sr., Bill Carle and Doug Lamont operated. John Guinn and Robert Allen were maintenance men and Dick Sandilands was the lineman who patrolled No. 12 line from the Ghost to Olds. He patrolled the line once a month, summer and winter, riding horseback. 

When the powerhouse was built the roof was sloped to shed water and an ornamental cement wall was built around three sides of the roof with vents for water run-off. In the fall of 1930, a high wind blew waves over the dam. The vents became plugged with gravel and the water not being able to run off, became so heavy the roof collapsed. Tons of water poured into the plant, pushing out a wall and nearly drowning Bill Carle and Doug Lamont; they had to swim for their lives and fortunately escaped with minor injuries. The generators were overhauled, the plant repaired and production resumed again before too long. 

Gordon Milligan was then put in charge and Fred Gaskell was his assistant. 

The small settlement known as “the camp” consisted of Gordon Milligan and his wife Mabel, Fred and Katherine Gaskell, Bill and Bessie Carle, Dick and Rose Sandilands, and Ken and Madge Miller. As the 1930s progressed, children were added to these families until there were nine little hopefuls. 

The single men were sternly but lovingly cared for by Mrs. Nisbet who was the staff housekeeper for seventeen years. The single boys came and went; among the longer residents were Tom Stanley, Harold Hurdle, Chris Ritchie, Kent Carruthers, Andrew Simpson, Bill Braisher, Bill Moore, Roy Boissoneault, Mal- colm Clarke and Dan Lobylynk. 

There were not many changes during the depression years but at the outbreak of hostilities in 1939 some men enlisted and new ones were hired to take their places. Harry Coleman and Bill Hope joined the Company in 1941. Keith Cole and his wife Joyce, Tom Crowder, and his wife Marion were transferred from Seebe about this time and Gordon Milligan was transferred to Edmonton. Fred Gaskell was then in charge. With very few exceptions the above-mentioned are still with Calgary Power or have retired from the Company.

Deep Dive

One persons view on the importance of local history

Cochrane Historical & Archival Preservation Society (CHAPS) recently received a very moving thank you from Marilyn Downey for the work of the volunteers in producing Big Hill Country, More Big Hill Country, the operation of the Cochrane Historical Museum, and other projects. CHAPS’ goal is to save and educate about the history of Cochrane and area.

by Marilyn Downey

I received my copy of More Big Hill Country in August 2022. Thank you for checking with me.

 This gives me an opportunity to write and thank CHAPS for providing me with an immense amount of information regarding my heritage. My father was born in Cochrane to Thomas Quigley and Florence Quigley (Webb). My father’s grandparents were James Quigley and Annie Quigley (Lawson) and William Henry Webb (Henry Webb) and Mary Jane Webb (Elkin).

 In the ‘Big Hill Country’ and ‘More Big Hill Country’ books I have found many stories and references regarding my grandparents, great-grandparents, grandaunts, and granduncles. I really can’t read more than ten pages or so in either book without finding a story or reference regarding one of my ancestors. I have spent many enjoyable hours looking at all of the photos on CHAPS Facebook pages. Many of the photos and some comments have references to the Quigley or Webb family. I enjoy reading every post on CHAPS and learning about the early history and the growth of Cochrane. It is so wonderful to often see an ancestor’s name, a sentence, a story, or a photo in the books and email posts. For instance, the post from January 2023, titled, ‘2022 Top Stories Part 1’ includes three stories with Quigley and Webb family references. I was also pleasantly surprised with the most recent email sent January 25, with a photo of Thomas Quigley’s garage and an article about delivery of Ford cars. The next photo was of my grandfather, Thomas Quigley with my great grandparents, great granduncle and great grandaunt. This photo is better than my photo in the Big Hill book which has a print blemish on one of the faces.

I was able to visit Cochrane in 1956 and in 1998. In 1998 my mother, brother, my youngest son and I stayed 2 days in Cochrane. We were invited into the Anglican Church. We were shown some photos and the framed trowel that my great-grandmother used for the cornerstone. There was a church bazaar in progress and one of the ladies told us she remembered Annie Quigley. We visited MacKay’s Ice Cream and met our second cousin, Rhona MacKay. We saw Thomas and Florence Quigley’s home on 1st St where my father lived until the family moved to Vancouver in 1920. My memory of James and Annie Quigley’s farmhouse and its location was so vivid during my 1956 visit at age 9, that I was able to go directly to the location in 1998.

 I knew very little about my grandparent’s past. My grandfather died when I was 1 year old. I do have one nice short memory of him. I have great memories of my grandmother. My grandmother talked about day to day events. She didn’t like to talk about the past and told me very little, despite my questions!  My father had very few photos of his childhood and no family photos of life in Cochrane. One cousin that I lost contact with has some old photos. I don’t think many existed. One of my aunts sent me a photo of three of the Quigley children in the front yard of the Quigley house on 1st street. I need to send a copy of the photo, some stories, and documents that CHAPS may not have.

To give an example of how many times I find information about my ancestors from CHAPS posts and books, here is a small sample from the ‘2022 Top Stories Part 1’. Three of the five stories have information about my ancestors.

 Hall Story

 From this story, I learned that my brother’s passion and talent for music, and my father’s love of music came from not only the Quigley side of the family but also the Webb side of the family.

“There was often a box social at Cochrane Lakes or Weedon School. Gordon and Doris, along with Earl Speers and Harry Webb, formed an orchestra, ‘The Night Owls.’ When a collection was taken we would end up with perhaps fifty cents apiece, but we played for fun, not money.”

Harry Webb-my granduncle                                  

Anglican Church in Cochrane

 “About 1962, Mrs. Sara Robinson, who was living with her daughter Annie in Banff, invited a few older Cochraneites in for tea. I gleaned some interesting bits of the history of the church from this group.”  

Mrs. Sara Robinson (Quigley)-my grandaunt

 “The cornerstone was laid in October 1908, by Mrs. James Quigley, and the trowel she used was framed and hung by the door inside the church. While she was laying the cornerstone, Billie Wright dropped a coin under it just for fun. In 1934 Mrs. Quigley was given the honor of burning the church mortgage.” 

Mrs. James Quigley-my great grandmother

 “The earliest history of the Ladies’ Aid is scarce. Mrs. Sarah Robinson said, “I joined it before I was married, going to it with my mother” (Mrs. James Quigley). “I was married in 1902. Members she could recall were: Mrs. Adam Baptie, Mrs. Bruce, Mrs. McEwen, Mrs James Quigley and herself, Miss Sara Quigley.” 

 “The earliest superintendent the Quigleys could remember was Mrs. Morophy, the blacksmith’s wife. Incidentally, their blacksmith shop was located where Jimmie MacKay’s store now stands. Alex Quigley said, ‘Mrs. Morophy was so religious she would peel her potatoes, and do all the other work she could do on Saturday instead of on Sunday.’ ” 

Jimmie MacKay-my first cousin once removed.

Alex Quigley-my granduncle

William Robinson Family

 I love this story! It has so much information and insight about the families and the times my ancestors lived.

 The following section regarding the flu epidemic and my great-grandmother is a story that has the most impact and is very significant to my life!

 “I can recall the flu epidemic in 1918. Grandma Quigley was kept busy nursing all the ill members of her family. She went from house to house tending to them all.” 

Grandma Annie Quigley-my great grandmother

 One of those family members was my father. He was just 2 years old in early 1919 when he was struck by the epidemic and became critically ill. My parents told me many times of my father’s grandmother going from home to home nursing all the family and only because of her knowledge and nursing skills my father survived!

 “My mother, Sarah Quigley, was born in Westville, Nova Scotia, and came to Cochrane in 1885.

Dad was persuaded to stay at Cochrane and work at Uncle Tom Quigley’s sawmill, as a millwright. Mother was cooking at the mill and it was here that she met Dad.”

Sarah Quigley-my grandaunt, Tom Quigley-my grandfather

 “I was born in the old Quigley house at the east end of Cochrane (Barnharts live there now).”

Mr. and Mrs. James Quigley Heritage house-my great grandparents

 “Dad and the Chapman brothers built our house just across the road from Grandpa Quigley. Edna was born in the old Quigley house, and my brother Jim was born there too, but it had been made into a hospital by the time Jim was born. Jack was born in Grandpa’s little brick house (Sibbald house).” 

Grandpa Quigley-my great grandfather


“We have many happy memories of our parents’ parties, Quigley reunions and picnics at Big Hill Springs. One time I took the dance crowd home because it was too cold in the Orange Hall. Mother and Dad got up and made lunch for all of us. Our friends were always welcome at our house. Mother often spoke of the Cochrane races and the one thing that she recalled was the oranges and bananas. She said they looked forward to the races because that was the only time they could have such fruit.”

Although this letter is very long, my intention is to explain just how much I value and appreciate CHAPS and all of the volunteers that contribute to keeping the history of Cochrane alive!

 If there is an online research project, I would be happy to participate. I live in California, so, except for online research, I am unable to participate as a volunteer.

 I thought this photo is interesting with Charlie Webb, my granduncle and Johnny Boothby, most likely related to you.

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Beaupre Creek School

by Dorothy M. Edge pg 292 Big Hill Country 1977

Before there was a school in the Beaupré district, children attended classes at the Grand Valley School. After that classes were held in the old Cooper house. 

In 1923 Dave McDougall and Billy Liddell requested a new central school be built in the Beaupré district. Although the school was built of lumber, a report in Edmonton dated November 24, 1924, stated that the Board of Utilities Commissioner authorized the official trustee of the Beaupré district, F. G. Buchanan of Calgary, to borrow $800 to build and equip a log schoolhouse. The treasurer of the new school was to be Walter Aris of Cochrane. 

The school was built on two acres of Crown land and was located on the west side of the Forestry road in the southeast corner of the SW14 29-26-5-5. The rest of Section 29 was under a grazing lease to the Mount Royal Ranch. 

The school opened in September 1925 and was named after Beaupré Creek, which was named after an early settler, Louis Beaupré. The Beaupré Creek School No. 4182 was not officially formed until 1938. This small, one-roomed school had a cloakroom on the west side. Each desk had a drawer underneath the seating portion. The school was heated by a cast iron heater at the back of the room. On cold days the children would huddle around the heater, and often warmed cocoa on it. There was no well at the school so children had to bring their own water or drink from the bog – sometimes they went without! 

At first, there was no stable at the school and the children’s ponies were tied to fence posts or in the trees, even in the cold weather. In 1929 Jack and Ted Poynter built a barn out of old boards. 

The first teacher was Deborah Pashak from Calgary. She had attended the Sacred Heart Convent with Peggy Edge. Other early teachers were Miss Jean MacKenzie and Miss Reid. Miss Pond finished the term for Miss Reid. 

The fourth teacher was Vernon McNamee of Cochrane, who commuted from Cochrane. He is now retired and lives in Armstrong, British Columbia. 

Miss Erswell was the next teacher. She became ill and Miss Tillie Zuccolo taught during her absence. 

The next year, S. F. Weller taught until Hallowe’en. He is now employed in the oil business and lives in Edmonton. 

Miss Doris Ambler, a former student, was the next teacher. She taught over thirty students in classes from one to twelve. One day some of her students decided to play hooky and rode to the top of Irwin Hill where they proceeded to eat their lunch. Chappy Clarkson saw them and sent them back to school. 

Starting in the fall of 1935 Jessie Dobson from Exshaw taught for four years. She was an excellent artist and one Christmas she gave each student’s mother a watercolor painting. Miss Dobson now lives in Ontario. 

The 1939 and 1940 terms were taught by Doris Camden of Cochrane. She wanted a piano for the school so Clem Edge bought Maud King’s old piano for $75.00, and Harry Coleman and Fred Gaskell hauled it from Harold Callaway’s in one of the Calgary Power trucks. Doris held dances at the school until she could pay Clem for the piano. 

The school, like most one-room schools, had little protection from the east winds so it was decided to move it one-half mile east, on the opposite side of the Forestry road, to the southeast corner of the SE14 29-26-5-5, near a grove of trees. 

In 1941, when Clem Edge was trustee, he, Harry Brooks and Archie Kerfoot with the help of others, moved the school with their tractors. This was no easy task. The school was pulled off the foundation and moved on log rollers. At one point a front wheel was broken off a tractor. Once the school was in place, Jack Stevenson was hired to repair the school and build a teacherage. 

The first teacher to teach at the new location was Hazelfern Larsen, who lived in a Department of Highways bunk car until the teacherage was finished. When it was too cold in the school, lessons were taught in the bunk car. 

In the early 1940s Church services were held in the school by Mrs. Estelle Poynter who brought student missionaries from the Calgary Prophetic Bible Institute to conduct the services. Hymns were sung to guitar accompaniment. Later, services were held by Lucy Kerfoot. 

Joyce Evans from Rosebud taught the 1943 and 1944 terms. Joyce started a school paper, the “Beaupré Bugle.’ 

Mrs. Ruth Coleman taught the 1945-46 term. She and her husband Lloyd lived on the ranch owned by Lloyd’s father, Bill Coleman. This ranch is now owned by Ken Paget. 

Miss Wilson taught from September 1946, to Christmas 1947, and LaVerne Green finished the term. 

Marion Wallace, from Brushy Ridge, taught the next two terms. She boarded at Clem Edge’s and rode horseback to school. She married Ken Jensen and they live at Carstairs, Alberta. 

In December 1950, the Morley School District No. 172 was added to the Beaupré district, but in 1954 they were again separated. 

Irene Medding taught for three years. She also boarded at Edge’s. Everyone looked forward to attending her Christmas concerts because they were so well presented. 

Mrs. Ann Robertson, from the Ghost Dam, taught from September 1952, to April 1953, then Martha Krasowski finished the term. 

Mrs. Fern Smith taught the next terms. While she was teaching, the Home and School Associa- tion was formed with Harry Coleman, president, and Amy Begg, secretary. 

Doreen Stead taught the 1955-56 term and lived in the teacherage. Doreen liked riding and 

kept her saddle horse in the schoolyard. She and Vivienne Ullery did a lot of pleasure riding on weekends. One of their favourite places to ride was to the “Lone Tree Lake” located on Jim Ker- foot’s property east of Bud Ullery’s. 

Fred O’Brien from Calgary taught for a few years. He taught the pupils how to mold objects from clay. The kiln was the cookstove oven in the teacherage. Every Friday afternoon he made use of a radio program to teach music lessons. When Mr. O’Brien was ill, Sunni Turner, from Lochend, was the substitute teacher. 

Over the years the open-air arena, Beaupré Lake, (locally known as Jew’s lake sic) served as the skating rink. It was Ed Pears’ job to clear the snow off the ice. Many 4-H hockey games were played here. Baseball and softball were the main summer activities. 

In 1958 the Dry Creek School was purchased and moved in from Balzac by York Shaw Building Movers. Part of the roof was moved separately. The old Beaupré Creek School then became the teacherage, and the existing teacherage was bought by Don Edge. Frank Edge used it for a bunkhouse at his place at Bottrel. 

The new school was only used for four years. In 1962 the school was closed as there were only seven students attending: Rick Coleman, Bobby Brooks, Linda Poynter, Isabelle Robertson, David, and Marsha McGillis, and Clay Eyma. The teachers during the last four years were: Fred O’Brien; Mrs. Minnion; and Mrs. Ruddy, who was from Crossfield. The school trustees over the years were Pierre Eyma, Jack Poynter and Frank Wills. 

Henri Anderson drove the children from the Ghost Dam to classes at Beaupré Creek for several years and later Harry Coleman drove them. Harry said, “I drove the Dam kids to school in the Dam truck every damn day for twenty-one years.” Harry was master of ceremonies at the Christmas concerts for just as many years. 

After the school closed Pierre Eyma negotiated to purchase the school and property to establish a community centre. However, upon making inquiries he found that the school, which had been moved twenty-one years hence, had, due to an oversight, been moved without the actual transfer of the land title taking place, and, to make a long story short, a land swap took place. The buildings and contents were purchased for $650.00 and the clear title was turned over to the newly-formed Beaupré Community Association in 1964. Petrofina Canada Ltd. donated the posts and wire to fence the new area, comprising 2.72 acres. 

The teacherage had been rented as a dwelling during the two-year interim and it was joined onto the hall to serve as the kitchen. Martin Aarsby moved the teacherage to the hall. Vern Lambert did the carpenter work. Mr. Zell did the electrical work. Johnny Powell did the necessary excavating. More renovations were made in 1975 when Charlie McDonald, Eric Hansen, and others in the neighborhood constructed a new addition on the west side of the hall. During the renovations, Charlie found the old school bell in the attic. This old bell is rung at social functions to get everyone’s attention when any announcements need to be made. 

The old Beaupré Creek School has proven to be a great asset as a community hall and is very much appreciated and enjoyed by all.

Louis Beaupre and the Beaupre District

by Dorothy M. Edge pg 290 Big Hill Country 1977

In the 1880s Louis Beaupré, an early French- Canadian settler, and his Metis wife, Euphrasine, nee L’Hirondelle, who was born at Lac Ste. Anne, N.W.T., in 1851, lived beside a creek northwest of Cochrane, which now bears his name. Although the Homestead Act was passed in 1872, this part of the great North West was not yet surveyed when Louis Beaupré settled on a property that was eventually surveyed to be the NW14 28-26-5-5. To legalize their land tenure, squatters were to pay a fee of $1.00 to the Government of Canada in order to become eligible to homestead the land. Many squatters didn’t bother paying the dollar and no fuss was made. The Beaupré applied for script in Calgary in 1885. 

A small, primitive log cabin, approximately 14 feet by 16 feet, was their home. It was very sturdy and quite well built, with dovetail corners. The ceiling was open-beam and the logs used for ceiling and floor joists were all hand-hewn. The door was on the south side and the windows were low. During the 1940s Clem Edge used the cabin as a granary. Later Clem used two of the hand-hewn ceiling logs as sills under a hayrack. Norman and Shirley Edge’s ranch house is now located on the site. 

According to Frank White’s diary, Louis cut and sold logs to the Cochrane Ranching Company and helped out at branding time in 1883. 

It is known that the Beauprés had at least two children. A son Augustin was born in St. Albert, North West Territories, on May 1, 1869. A daughter, Marguerite, was born May 4, 1882, and was baptized May 20, 1882, in Calgary by Father Emil Legal. In the Catholic Archives in Calgary, it states that Louis Beaupré and his wife witnessed the baptism of John Joseph McDonald who was born November 22, 1880, and Louis signed as the Godfather in very neat handwriting. 

French-Canadians having Metis wives had good relations with the local Indians (sic), with whom they could easily identify and probably acted as interpreters on occasions. 

The early McDougalls (missionaries) knew Louis Beaupré and his wife, and the Beauprés traded at the Morley Trading Post. 

The following is an excerpt from Frank White’s diary: May 29, 1883 – “Closed with Louis Beaupré for his farm and improvements for $1,000.00, and cattle at $35.00 per head.” George Creighton later homesteaded the land and received his Patent in June 1899. This location then became the first headquarters for the Bar C. Ranch. It is not known where the Beauprés went, but Louis, born in Canada in 1825, came to St. Albert from Montana, where he had married Eurphrasine in 1865 when she was fourteen years of age. They farmed at St. Albert in 1879. 

Frank White’s diary, on November 8, 1883, mentions Beaupré along with other names such as Bayne, McVittie, Bleeker, and McLaughlin, all of whom were connected with mining claims at Silver City, which was the name given to the Castle Mountain mining camp. 

An old cast-iron waffle iron with iron handles was found not far from the cabin site and it is believed that it was the property of Louis Beaupré because it has the “Fleur de Lis” insignia inside rather than the usual waffle design. 

The French name “Beaupré” means nice meadow. Beaupré Creek rises in the Stimson Valley, runs on down through the southeast cor- ner of the school section, 29-26-5-5, and is a tributary of the Bow River. It has provided a good habitat for beaver and some oldtimers have said that there were fish in the creek at one time. Hundreds of old buffalo skulls have been found along this creek, and many arrowheads have been found on the flat in Section 21-26-5-5, where it is said that the Indians (sic) used to camp in the early days. 

The big hill to the northwest of the old Beaupré cabin site is called Irwin Hill, after a homesteader, and the next big hill in the same northwest direction is called Beaupré Hill, which actually begins nearer the origin of Beaupré Creek. This hill, north to south, starts in Section 7 and is in Section 6-27-5-5, and is heavily timbered. It has two main peaks or knolls to it. It was officially named in June 1930. In 1973 the boundary of Beaupré Hill was extended southward into Section 31-26-5-5 to include the Geodetic Survey Point on the highest part of the southern end of the hill. However, this southern end of the hill is called Hardy Hill by local residents, after Hardy MacDonald. There is a microwave tower and two gas wells on Beaupré Hill. 

There is a resemblance of a canyon between Irwin Hill and Beaupré Hill and it is called Jackass Canyon. When the C.P.R. railway was under construction in 1883, many mules were wintered here because of the natural springs. Once a recommendation was made to call it “Mule Canyon” instead of Jackass Canyon because a mule wasn’t a Jackass. The reply was: “Well, one of them was!” The colorful name Jackass Canyon was the one officially adopted. There is one gas well in this canyon. 

To the east of Irwin and Beaupré Hills across Stimson Valley and Perry Valley, there is another range of hills. They were named the “Wildcat Hills” by Wilhemina Bell-Irving in 1885. This range of hills starts in 23-26-5-5 and continues up through Sections 9 and 16 in a northwesterly direction and are in the appearance of high ridges from the west view. The highest ridge is about 5000 feet above sea level and it is referred to as the Big Ridge. The old established name “Wildcat Hills” was officially approved in 1939. Mrs. Bell-Irving named them the Wildcat Hills because there were wildcats and wolves in the hills and rocks along the ridge.

Perry Valley is a narrow valley extending northwesterly along the western base of the Wildcat Hills, and was named after Charlie Perry who homesteaded there before the section lines were established. After the survey, Mr. Perry’s house was right on the east-west road allowance and was located near natural springs. These springs are known as “Perry Springs.” 

A book, “Place-Names in Alberta,” published by the King’s Printer in 1928, describes “Dream Hill” as being the big hill directly north of the junction of the Ghost and the Bow Rivers. Looking north from the confluence one can see that the highest of the Spencer Hills is the one described. “Dream Hill” appears on Captain Palliser’s survey map of 1860. 

The “Spencer Hills” and “Spencer Creek” were named after Mr. Spencer, an early settler. These names were applied in 1897 by A. H. Whitcher, who was the Secretary of the Geographical Board of Canada. These names became official in 1939. Spencer Hills are located in Sections 26, 35 and 36-26-5-5. 

Centennial Audio Files

by Gordon Davies

Gordon has converted some old articles to audio. We’re pretty excited about it and will be adding them to our posts whenever applicable. We think that an explanation will do a lot to encourage understanding. Here’s an example.

Deep Dive

2022 Top Stories Part 2 – 5 to 1

Here is part 2 of our 2022 Top Stories as chosen by your readership count.

Click on the photo to go to the original story.

5. Robert and Kathleen Beynon Family

Robert George Beynon “Bob” was the third child of Sophie and Jack Beynon, both Welsh immigrants. He was born March 17, 1926, in the big brick house at the east and of town. Alistair Moore and his wife Dolly lived there for many years.

4. Wallace Family

In August of 2005, the Wallace family celebrated the 100th anniversary of the farm started by grandparents, Sarah and William Wallace. Our grandparents were among those flocking to the west to prove up on homesteads: the population of Alberta (then the Northwest Territories) quintupled from 1900 to 1910. 

3. Elizabeth Barrett: First Woman Teacher in Alberta

Hundreds upon hundreds of Blackfoot lodges spread through the valley, and the preparation of meat, tanning of hides, the singing and the feasting went on, uninterrupted. On the hillsides, 15,000 or more horses of the Blackfoot grazed untethered. The fully-armed Indians were resplendent in smoke-tanned war shirts trimmed with ermine or fringes of otter and fox. Intricate beadwork adorned their moccasins and headdresses. Thick shields of buffalo hide were as gaily painted as their teepees in the valley.

2. Hawkwood Family

At this time (1949) the Foothills Rural Electrification Association was formed. Bill McNeill was President, Ernie Vickie Secretary-Treasurer, Bill Osler and Tom were directors. After many discussions and decisions, the Calgary Power Company brought power to the district. The farmers dug the holes for the poles to speed up the progress. In September 1950 the “lights came on”. Everything from milking machines to washing machines were some of our new acquisitions.

1. Richard and Sophia Copithorne

Richard was a man who liked horses and when the First World War broke out there were about three hundred Clydesdale horses on the ranch. A horse in those days never had a rope on him until he was four years old. A hurry-up call for horses for the cavalry made a considerable lot of work. It was often marveled at how these wild horses tamed down when taken off their home range and put in a military camp. 

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What’s new in Cochrane February 1917 and 1924

From the Cochrane Advocate by Gordon Davies

February 1, 1917 – Cochrane Advocate 

Another carload of six Ford touring cars arrived this week for Thos. Quigley, the local dealer. 

February 8. 1917 – Cochrane Advocate 

The local Odd-Fellows Lodge are holding their annual ball of the evening of February 16th. The net proceeds will be equally divided between the Red Cross and Patriotic Funds. Everybody welcome. 

The Girls’ Athletic Club will hold a Masquerade Dance in the Odd-Fellows Hall on the evening of Friday, February 9th. Admission 50c. Proceeds go to the Red Cross. Mrs. A. L. Lewis, who now resides in England, has kindly donated the sum of $25 to help with this dance. 


There is a job waiting in this town for a Sherlock Holmes. Some person or persons at present unknown is putting out poison rather extragevently(sic) and the dogs around town are picking it up. If the person is ever found out he will have to face some very angry ex-owners. 

Recruits Wanted for R.N.W.M. Police 

Wanted men for service in the R. N.W. M. Police. Applications for engagement must be accompanied by at least two certificates of good character from responsible parties. 

Minimum height 5 ft. 8 in., minimum chest measurement 35 in., maximum weight 175 lbs. 


Medical examination and transportation expenses paid if the applicant is accepted. 

Married men engaging for service in the R. N. W. M. Police may draw a separation allowance of $20.00 per month. 

Terms of enlistment may be as follows: In the case of married men, one year. Single men, one or three years at the option of the applicant. 

Recruits are wanted for Special War Work in the Province of Alberta. 

For further information apply to 

Const. A. F. C. Watts, R. N. W. M. P., Cochrane

Quigley Garage
Mr Mrs Harry Webb Mr Mrs Charlie Webb Tom Quigley
Mr Mrs Harry Webb Mr Mrs Charlie Webb Tom Quigley

February 7th, 1924 

Commencing on Monday, Feb. 11th., the Cochrane School will start at 09’clock n the morning instead of 9:30 as has been the rule this winter. As new classes will be begun on Monday morning, young children who are to commence school should start on that day. 

February 14, 1924 

After a spell of the mildest weather ever experienced in this part of the country during the month of February, a change took place yesterday morning. A light snowfall which continued practically all day, developed last night into a real storm which kept up until late this afternoon. There is now nearly a foot of snow all over this district. 

Banff Highway 

Considerable discussion is taking place in Cochrane at the present time with regard to a rumor that the Provincial Government is being asked to consider the advisability of changing the course of the Calgary-Banff highway from its present position, to the south side of the Bow River. The plan put forward, apparently is to continue the existing road through Springbank and Jumping Pound to cross the river at Morley. In a recent issue of the Morning Albertan, the sponsors of this new plan endeavored to show the advantages of this new route, among which were mentioned, avoidance of hills, shorter distance, more thickly settled country, and scenic advantages. 

Runaway in Cochrane 

A team belonging to Mr. Geo. Kirkland took flight in the C.P.R. yard this afternoon and stampeded across the tracks onto First Street, where they collided with a telephone pole in front of the Drug Store. The hay rack to which they were harnessed was badly wrecked and the telephone pole was smashed completely off. The harness broke on the impact with the pole and the team continued their hasty journey out of town without any further damage.

Country jail NWMP Morley 1883
Odd Fellows Hall ad from the Cochrane Advocate
Odd Fellows Hall ad from the Cochrane Advocate

Deep Dive

2022 Top Stories Part 1 – 10 to 6

We’re pleased to count down our top ten stories of 2022 chosen by your readership count.  Here are numbers 10 through 6.

Click on the photo to go to the original article.

10. Hall Story

They lived at first in what is now East Calgary, near where the stockyards are located. The police barracks were nearby, and when they arose one morning the scaffold could be seen, where a criminal had been hanged in the early morning hours. 

9. Don and Dorothy Edge - Bar 50 Ranch

While playing a few practice chukkers with Will Rogers Junior at Will Rogers State Park in the Pacific Palisades, California, Don observed the rustic fireplace in the late Will Rogers’s ranch house and patterned ours after it. 

8. History of St. Andrews Church

“Thomas Davies was superintendent and teacher about 1915. He wore his hair longish and it and his beard were white.” Vivian, a very young child then, thought God must look like Mr. Davies. He traveled in a buggy pulled by his buckskin pony.

7. Catholic Church in the Cochrane Area

In the summer of 1874, another great event was taking place; the North West Mounted Police were establishing themselves in the Northwest Territories. Having assisted at the annual retreat in St. Albert, Father Scollen, in company with Father Bonald and Louis Dazé, arrived back at the Elbow River Mission on November 2, 1874. Father Bonald was put in charge of the Mission, while the others organized a hunting party to get provisions for the winter. During this hunting trip, Louis Dazé was frozen to death in a snowstorm on November 22, 1874. 

6. William Robinson Family

I can recall the flu epidemic in 1918. Grandma Quigley was kept busy nursing all the ill members of her family. She went from house to house tending to them all.

Herbert and Gertrude Fox Family

Pg 452 More Big Hill Country 2009

"They gave more and expected less."

Like many of their generation, Herbert and Gertrude Fox, or Bert and Gertas they were known, were a hardworking, resourceful farm couple that, with a strength of spirit and a good sense of humour, enjoyed the satisfaction and endured the challenges of family farm life. Bert was born July 29, 1919, in Nanton, Alberta, and grew up in “the Hillswest of Nanton. Given the limitations of harsh economic times and isolated rural surroundings, he spent a lot of time afoot and on horseback, roaming the hills as he grew up. His work and play fostered a durable and strong attachment to nature and farm life, and there was no question of his desire for that to continue

The events of history interceded and, joined the army in 1941, Bert served four years with the Seventh Field Company, Second Division Engineers. His tour of duty began with basic training in Camrose, leading to a lengthy station outside London, England, and ultimately landing him on the beach near Caen in France. part of the ‘second wave’ after the famous Normandy invasion of 1944.

By the terms afforded by the Veterans Land Act, he was now able to borrow the money he needed to move forward with his plans for ranching. Twenty dollars an acre bought him the half section located nine miles up the Grande Valley, but he found himself fairly under-equipped to begin working his new property, starting out with only an axe, his Swede saw, and a prize Adams saddle. Bert did the required work “off the place” such as cutting mine props for use in the Drumheller coalmines and custom haying for Percy Copithorne. resulting in enough money to buy his first four cows and a John Deere model “M” tractor. 

Money may have been scarce for Bert in those early days of Grande Valley, but he struck it rich one evening at an Alhazar Temple dance in Calgary. This is where he first met Anna Gertrude Swalling (1920- 1996), a farm girl by way of Delburne. At this stage in her life, Gert thought she had left the farm life behind. having truly done an admirable job of enduring the thirties, educating herself, and then finding gainful employment in Calgary. However, Bert soon produced a ring that resulted in nuptials on the 21st of March 1951. The sparks may have been flying that day for the two of them, but the weather recorded was some of the worst ever. A snowstorm raged that nearly prevented Bert from getting his old Fargo truck to the church on time. Known for her calm nature, the bride showed little anxiety. As the hour drew near, still with no groom in sight “there was no need to worry” said Gert, expressing the steadfast trust they held for each other. “If he’s late it’s because he is riding his saddle horse to get here!”

It was the first of many times together the two battled adversity, the second challenge coming as soon as later that summer when their first crop was completely flattened by a hailstorm. 

Grande Valley was designated a Local Improvement District and without snow plows, it was common practice for travelers to wheel through the hayfields as a better option. Phone service was still unavailable and the log house where Gert began her married life was without electric power. In spite of his best efforts, Bert had not quite finished his renovations which included filling the cracks between the logs where the wind whistled in. To his amazement, he admired how “she soon turned out a batch of bread and even a lovely pie” in the cramped kitchen. 

As the two prospered, a nice frame house was moved from Mortimer coulee and the old log house went into service as Gert’s chicken house. She soon counted on regular visits from neighbours who became her “egg customers,” looking to enjoy a cup of tea and some prize-winning baking in the bargain if Gert wasn’t too busy off in her garden or looking after her two boys: John Herbert (1957) and George William (1960). Gert and the two youngsters usually made the trip to Cochrane on Sundays, where they attended the service at St. Andrews United Church. After church, the boys were let loose at McKay’s Ice Cream to spend their allowance while she made the rounds delivering her eggs. Both she and Bert were active in the church through the late sixties and seventies, canvassing for renovation funds, teaching Sunday school, and helping stage many events at the church.

Their strength of spirit was tested in late 1969 when Jon’s life was cut short in a choring accident on the farm. The despair of losing their first son made a lasting mark, though as time passed they were able to move on together and resumed their involvement in the community. 

The Fox farm was home to a fine herd of Hereford cattle that pastured west of the ranch on two sections of government grazing lease. Plenty of feed had to be put up before winter and Bert persevered with the technique of stacking loose hay when most all had gone the route of square or round bales. During the hottest days of the year, he could be seen out in the hayfield, “topping off” the big 20-foot stacks wielding a pitchfork to muscle the hay so it would shed the snow and rain. It was a technique that required some old-time skills that Bert used in abundance on his farm. He was also the last of the farmers to harvest with the threshing machine. Every fall right through to the mid-seventies he worked with the Patterson family, first cutting their crops with a binder, then stooking the bundles so they’d be dry and ready to run through the old threshing machine. Eventually, parts were impossible to obtain for the machines and they called it quits. 

Though dedicated to a slower but more economical way of operating, Bert held status as one of the most clever and trusted farmers in the valley. In the early days, he recognized that in order to “build up” the grey wooded soil red and alsike clover were the best legumes for hay instead of the alfalfa that never seemed to thrive in acidic conditions. As well, Bert was quick to add selenium into the supplement for his cows once it was speculated that it might be lacking in that area of the country. It then became common practice once it was seen the marked difference it made in their health. 

All the while working alongside his parents, young George, with support and encouragement from the rural communities around the Cochrane area, developed as a country singer and eventually brought his music to Canada and many other parts of the world. “There was a real golden age through the ’70s and 80’s when the country dance was alive and well,” says George. “I was fortunate to learn my craft at some of those great community functions, singing to people that I had a great respect for, even after seeing the way they could behave at two or three in the morning!” George was encouraged enough by these followers to use his savings and sell some of his cattle in order to finance his first recording. It was a fateful morning on the ranch during fall weaning time when, above the din of bawling cattle, George and his Dad managed to hear shouting from up at the house, “Someone calling from Toronto!” Gert shouted from out on the front porch. “They want to talk to you about your tape!” 

Things were soon set in motion that had George launched full-time into a music career, his videos, and television specials through the nineties often incorporating the foothills area and the town of Cochrane. The CBC special “A George Fox Christmas” was filmed on the streets of the town, and out on Grande Valley footage was taken for the CBC “Time of My Life” special and his first music video “No Trespassing.”

In the summer of 1995, a street naming ceremony took place in Cochrane marking the contributions and achievements made by George and his parents. The road leading west from the number 22 highway on the south side of the Bow River became known as George Fox Trail. George expressed his gratitude, acknowledging how important the gesture was to him. 

“I really feel like my singing career has been a result of the work ethic I learned here and especially from how I was encouraged by this community”, he said. 

In the words of a song George has written, he reflects on what great contributions were made by his parents and others of that generation who knew the value of working together and even in trying times always having A Kind Word for each other. 

Gert passed away on Thanksgiving Day 1996. Bert, George, and his wife Monica were all with her at home when cancer took her at age 76. Bert sold the ranch in 2000 and moved for a time to Big Hill Lodge before joining George, Monica, and his two granddaughters Anna May and Ruby in Ancaster, Ontario. 

Bert passed away peacefully at the McMaster Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario on Monday, November 19, 2007, at the age of 88. 

A Kind Word 

You’ve done quite a stroke of business

I can’t thank you quite enough.

You took the lead and found a reason

When the going was mighty tough.

This family and this nation, independent free and strong 

Owe thanks to the likes of you, now we’ve got somewhere we belong 


So I’ll proudly sing the story of your pioneering glory, 

A Kind Word 

To set your mind at ease 

As this page in history turns with due respect so 

well deserved 

Won’t you accept A Kind Word. 


I learned a lot of history about the early days 

out west. 

The prairie fires, the hail and the dry spells, that put 

you to the test. 

You won’t talk about the war years and the sadness 

left behind 

“It’s better off left unsaid, son, it won’t bring peace 

of mind” 

Yet your name is still recalled and believe me, that’s 

not all 

A Kind Word 

And a story of how you lived 

Rest assured you’re mentioned there 

As one who gave more than their share 

And who deserves 

A Kind Word.

Bert and Gert Fox 40th Anniversary

Deep dive

  • Cochrane Now Article on George Fox induction into Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Randall Prescott & George Fox to be Inducted into Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Passing of the Torch 2022

CHAPS recognizes the passing of 3 members this past year.  With each passing, we lose some of the drive, spirit, and memories that have made Cochrane and the area such a wonderful place to live. However, we are grateful for the impact they have made.

We send our condolences to the family and friends of each.

Jean MacKenzie

Lyle Taylor

courtesy Cochrane Eagle
Courtesy Cochrane Eagle

Mac Elder

Their stories

How Muller Windsports came to be

The Beginning  By Vincene Muller pg 208 More Big Hill Country 2009 

In 1971, Willi Muller was skiing at Lake Louise and watched Les Oitz (then the Area Manager) fly his Jobe Kite down the Men’s Downhill. As Les folded his kite at the bottom of the downhill run, Willi took his ski pole and measured the kite. At that time he was the Area Manager of a small ski hill in Calgary with a large day lodge. 

Back in Calgary he found a sailmaker and gave him a rough diagram, bought tubing, and built the frame in the day lodge. The first test flights were down the ski hill, but the kite wouldn’t fly, even when Willi went off the ski jump built by fledgling freestyle skiers! Willi soon realized that he had been one ski pole length short in his measurements. The Jobe kite was 13′ 6″ (wing length) and Willi’s was only 11 feet! Back to the drawing board to build a new kite.

The new model was a massive 15 feet; the sail was 3 oz. nylon (bigger and heavier will always be better). He attached a broken ski tip on a hinge on the nose (in case of a less-than-perfect landing) and went back to the ski slope to try it out. It flew! The next day he went up to Mt. Norquay Ski Hill near Banff, took his kite to the ski jump, and tried it out. It flew down and over the ski lift to land in front of the ski lodge. Next, up to the top of the Lone Pine Ski Run (1300 feet). Skiers lined the run to watch him take off. Local photographers took photos which were sent around the world on the wire service. It was quite spectacular to see the kite (no kingpost and very narrow control bar) with the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the background. This was March 1971. 

By the next winter Willi had built a larger kite, an 18-foot wing with 15’8″ keel. The reason for the shorter keel was because with 18 feet all around, the sail didn’t fit in the sail maker’s loft. So the sail was designed to fit! 

Willi continued flying at ski areas around Western Canada and the Spokane area. People started asking him to build kites for them so in January 1973 he formed Muller Kites Ltd. and started off his factory in downtown Calgary. His first foot-launched flights were in Palmdale, California. 

In January 1973 Willi entered the “World Snow Kite Championships” at Big White in Kelowna. Some 26 pilots entered. Most pilots were from California and included soon-to-be ‘big’ names in the new sport; Bob Wills, Chris Price, Dick Eipper and Dave Cronk to name just a few. From Canada were Terry “Birdman” Jones from Edmonton and Bob Jones from Kelowna. Norman Proctor was there from Wetaskiwin with his Cronkite that he had built from plans (but at that time he hadn’t learned to fly), and Dave Cronk, who was flying a plastic version and was very impressed with Norm’s superior construction. By the way, Dave soon found that plastic in -20 degrees doesn’t hold up too well. It fell apart on his launch run. The Meet Director was Bill Bennett. 

Willi won the ‘free-flying’ competition (time in the air and target landing). Terry Jones won the tow competition (towed up by snowmobiles) and Bob Wills was crowned overall champion for demonstrating superior skill. He flew with Bill Bennett’s backpack and also hung upside down as he flew down the hill. 

In 1973 Willi and Vincene Muller purchased land on Cochrane Hill which is now the Cochrane Flying Site. At that time a few local pilots were using the site and were told by the realtor to buy it soon otherwise it would be developed for housing. There are many stories of dealings with municipalities and government that the Muller’s have had to contend with over the years to keep the flying site open. 

Back in Calgary the kite business grew. Muller Kites manufactured kites until 1978. At that time due to changes in design, kites were using a large amount of different sized tubing. Due to difficulties with tubing and dacron supplies, Willi started importing from the US. At this time Muller Kites Ltd. became Muller Hang Gliding Ltd. 

Due to the many ski areas allowing kite flying in the early 1970’s, Willi formed the Alberta Hang Gliding Association in 1973 in order to get insurance. He started the school in 1973 also. Transport Canada approached him and said that they would like a National body to deal with and the Hang Gliding Association of Canada was formed. Willi was founding president for both organizations. In 1975 he was part of a group of instructors who met at Todd Mountain Ski Hill to write up recommendations for Instructors Standards. 

In 1978 he imported the first Soarmaster Powerpacks. At that time Transport Canada were interested in hang gliding and the new powered hang gliding. At a meet- ing in Calgary, a demonstration was put on at the Cochrane Flying Site. Shortly after that Transport Canada came out with regulations for powered hang gliders but allowed the sport of unpowered hang gliding to remain self-regulated. 

The shop was moved out to the Cochrane Hill Flying Site in 1985. In 1987 Willi bought his first paraglider. Paragliding became part of Muller Hang Gliding in 1988. Willi had a Master Rating in the Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association of Canada and Senior Instructor Status for both hang gliding and paragliding. Willi represented Canada internationally several times in hang gliding and he held a World Paragliding Record and many Canadian Hang Gliding & Paragliding Records. He was Canadian Hang Gliding Champion three times and Canadian Paragliding Champion once. His best international result was seventh in the 1981 World Hang Gliding Championships in Japan. Chris Muller started flying tandem with his father Willi in 1981 at age 5. Over the years they had many soaring flights and a few cross-country flights togeth- er. He started flying paragliders at age 11 and hang gliders at 13. 

In 1990 he flew his first competitions in both the Canadian Nationals (Golden, B.C.) and US Nationals (Dinosaur, Colorado). In Paragliding he competed in the Western Canadian Paragliding Championships which eventually became the Canadian Nationals. He was Western Canadian Paragliding Champion twice, Canadian Paragliding Champion three times and Canadian Hang Gliding Champion three times. 

He has represented Canada at the World Paragliding Championships in Switzerland, Japan, and Spain and the World Hang Gliding Championships in Spain and Australia. 

His best results were second in the 1998 Pre-World Paragliding in Austria and 17th in the 1998 Pre-World Hang Gliding In Italy. He placed second in the 1999 World Paragliding Championships in Austria. He held the Paragliding World Record for Flight to a Declared Goal (shared with Sean Dougherty) of 101.5 km set in 1991 which he broke in 1992 with a flight of 146.22 km. He set the South American Record flying 242 km in Brazil in 1999. In 2000 he flew 246 km from Golden to Jaffray, BC, the longest flight in Canada. In 2002, he flew from Golden, British Columbia to Morley, AB, 138 km. In 2004 he flew a hang glider 331 km from Golden past Trevo, Montana. This equaled the Canadian Open Distance record set by Willi in 1989.

Deep dive

Aviation in Cochrane

pg 204 More Big Hill Country 2009

The twentieth century could be described as the era of mechanical transportation, a far cry from the open range. 

The McDougall’s depended on the oxen to pull their Red River Carts to carry all their provisions on the trek westward from Fort Garry. 

The early ranchers depended on their saddle horses to move and work their cattle on the open range. 

In 1903, Henry Ford produced his first automobile and also on December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur were the first men to fly in a heavier aircraft powered by an engine they designed. 

Few urges have inspired and frustrated mankind as the desire to fly. The Wright brothers experienced this many times. In 1909, Louis Bleriot flew across the English Channel, and Charles Lindberg flew across the Atlantic from New York to Paris, France in 33 hours in the “Spirit of St Louis” Ryan monoplane. In 1929, the German Graf Zeppelin flew around the world in 21 days with four flight stops. Willy Post with Harold Gatty as navigator flew around the world from New York and back again in 8 days 16 hours. This route was across the Atlantic, Western Europe, Russia, Alaska, Canada, and the U.S.A. On July 22, 1933, he had flown around the world solo in 7 days, 18 hours, and 49 minutes with the aid of a radio compass directional finder. These were the early pathfinders of air transportation. 

Gertrude de la Vergne, besides her love of horses, became interested in flying and in 1928 became the first licensed woman pilot in Alberta. Flying instruction was taken at the Calgary Aero Club in De Havilland Moths. Gertrude became involved with the R.C.A.F. Women’s Division at Number 5 E.F.T.S. High River, Alberta during WWII. She later married Reginald Tanner and moved to Vancouver B.C. Gertrude’s father, Charles de la Vergne’s family, was the successful owner of the de la Vergne Refrigeration Company of New York City. Mr. de la Verne bought 3 1/4 sections of land at Glenbow, a valley located north of the Bow River, west of Calgary in Township 25, Range 3, West of the 5th in 1909. He owned this property until 1933 when it was sold to Eric L. Harvie. 

In 1953, Eric Harvie’s son Neil took over management of this Glenbow Ranch and in 1962 bought a used Piper Super Cub PA-18A CF-LQW which Neil used on the ranch. Neil’s son Tim still flies this airplane in 2006.

Barons Josef and Endre Csavossy, Hungarian noblemen bought 2 1/2 sections of the old Bow River Horse Ranch in 1925 on the south side of the Bow River in Township 25, directly across the river from the de la Vernes at Glenbow. 

In 1928, besides winning a special award from the Agricultural Society for a fine outlay of farm buildings along the river flat, and a silver cup for a crop of oats on a plateau field east of the farm buildings, Baron Josef bought a Gypsy Moth aeroplane. After taking flying lessons from Freddie McCall, he became Alberta’s first flying farmer. 

The Donald R. McLaurin farm and buildings, SW Sec 4 Twp 25 Range 3 W5M is 3 miles straight south of the Bow River Horse Ranch Buildings on the River flat. On January 22, 1969, the Department of Transport expropriated this farm and the Springbank Airport came into being. The majority of civil pilot training in the Calgary area is conducted at the Springbank Airport including helicopter training. 

The Cochrane Flying Club was formed in the summer of 1946. Six members owned the Aeronca 7AC Champion lightplane with Canadian registration CF- DNF which Eustace Bowhay, in July 1946, ferried from the factory in Middleton, Ohio to the Chinook Flying Service in Calgary. 

The Cochrane Flying Club president was Eustace Bowhay, Secretary was Bill Andison Jr. and Joe Mahood was Chief Instructor for the new fledgling club. Robby and Barbara Webb, Dallas Sperry from Cochrane, and Mile Martinusen and Victor Watson of Airdrie were some who took flying lessons from Joe. Mrs. Art and Mrs. Roy McPherson of Springbank were Joe Mahood’s sisters. He was born on a farm and grew up in Springbank. In the late 1930’s he moved to a farm of his own, north of Cochrane on the Bottrel Trail (highway 22). In 1940 Joe joined the R.C.A.F., first serving as a mechanic at Claresholm, Alberta. He then took training there and became an instructor on Ansons. In the last year, he served overseas with the Pathfinder Squadron, flying Mosquitoes. In 1948, Joe sold his farm and joined the staff of the Chinook Flying Service. 

Bill Andison Jr. was born and grew up in Cochrane and later worked in his father’s grocery store on the main street. In the late 1950’s he moved to Victoria, B.C. Bill ferried two aircraft from Middleton, Ohio to the Calgary Chinook Flying Service. They were Aeronca 7DC, CF-FMN in April 1948 and Aeronca Chief, CF- FNO in June 1948. On the second trip, Joe Mahood flew him to Middleton from Calgary in CF-BTS, a Cessna T50 (Crane). 

Eustace Bowhay grew up on a farm in Simons Valley, north of Calgary. He and his brother Lloyd lived there on a farm which their mother operated for many years. Eustace learned to fly after World War II in Calgary and became a partner with Franz McTavish of Chinook Flying Service as a flying instructor for a few years. Eustace married Nora Grisedale in 1946. Her parents lived on a farm in the Cochrane Lakes area. 

Eustace and Nora built a restaurant “Bowhay’s Coffee Bar” north of the Cochrane Hotel and also a small house in the next adjoining lot. The restaurant building still stands today although somewhat modified. It was called the Range Grill for many years and now is Pix and Stix Music Headquarters. Their home was torn down to make room for the Rustic Market Square. Ernest and Mildred Thompson lived in this house from 1952 to the late 1960s, after they retired from their farm in the Glendale district. 

Robby Webb was co-owner of Webb and Milligan Esso Service Station on the comer of 1st Street West and 1st Avenue W. They had the Ford car and farm tractor dealership. In 1969 it became Bow Ridge Motors and in 2000 was replaced with a new Royal Bank. 

The Cochrane Flying Club field was located west of Highway 22 and south of 1A Highway and the C.P.R. line on land owned by John Boothby. It was a grass field, large enough to accommodate small twin-engined aircraft. A simple “T” shaped open front hanger was built to protect the Club plane from the weather. Fence posts for anchor support, walls, and roof sheeted in with shiplap boards. The open front was protected by a barbwire gate stretched across the front to keep Boothby’s cattle out when they were grazing in the field. 

The Cochrane Flying Club plane successfully flew Mrs. Roy Buckler to the hospital when she became dangerously ill at her Bottrel farm home. Bill Andison Jr. responded to the call, in spite of a high wind and treacherous landing place at the farm. He successfully picked her up and flew to the Calgary Airport where an ambulance waited and took her to the hospital. 

Angus MacKenzie experienced quite a few enjoyable flights with Bill Andison in the Flying Club Aeronca plane. One time, Angus and Dave Murray Jr. went with Bill to the flying field together. It was winter and the Club Airplane had its tires removed and was fitted with skis. Dave wouldn’t go flying because he said, “This engine is held on with only 4 bolts”, after looking at the open engine cowl when Bill was checking the oil level. Thus Angus got his first experience of flying with skis. The only regret Angus had was that he forgot to take the lens cover off his small camera, so there were no photos. 

Dave Murray Jr. had built a hardware store a couple of years before, north of MacKay’s store on 2nd Ave. W. This store is now Westlands Art Gallery and Book Store. 

As the only members left of the Club members in 1954, Bill Andison, Robby and Barbara Webb decided to sell the Club plane. Joe Mahood and Eustace Bowhay’s flying work took them to other parts of Canada. A rancher near Pincher Creek bought the Club plane. 

In 1956 or 1957, Angus MacKenzie was visiting the Chinook Flying Services Calgary hanger workshop area and came across what looked like a totally stripped down fuselage of a red painted Aeronca Champ with cream trim. As the Cochrane Club plane had been painted red with cream trim in 1948.

Although thoroughly stripped down the color of the fuselage caught Angus’s attention and sure enough it was CF – DNF. It had been flown from Pincher Creek for a minor repair, but they forgot to tie it down while parked outside overnight. A strong chinook wind blew the plane over on its back and against a fence doing extensive damage to the wings and tail. It was now salvaged for parts. Who knows, maybe someone years later may have restored this plane as a building project. During the years 1958 to August 1961, Bill Perkins completely restored a 1936 Taylor J2 cub plane to flying shape. Most of this construction was done at their home on their Horse Creek farm. Bill’s rebuilt Taylor J-2 cub first flew in late August 1961 and it flew very well. Bill, an accomplished mechanic, had installed a Continental A-65 h.p. engine rather than the original Continental A-40 engine which gave a better performance at Cochrane’s higher altitude. Perkins used the Boothby field (the former Flying Club Field) but not the old hanger as it was too shabby. He just tied his airplane down outside, a short distance in front. 

Due to some changes in the Taylor J-2 cub and a change of ownership of the company very few Taylor J-2 models appeared on the prairies during the hungry thirties. Chinook Flying Service of Calgary purchased one Taylor J-2 cub CF-AZK in 1946 for “cheap” student flying at Chinook. 

Robert Martyn of Calgary built a sturdy all wood air- plane in his home in Calgary, a single seater of original design. Robert was a senior draftsman with Shell Oil. The first flight was May 14, 1960 at McCall Airport Calgary. After tests were done at Shephard airport, this home built plane was parked beside Bill Perkins Taylor J-2 cub for three years in the early 1960’s at the former Cochrane Flying Club Field of Boothby’s. 

The Hang Gliders, as the new flying enthusiasts were called, are aircraft that fly without motors or any kind of external power. They use nature’s own forces of air and gravity aided by the energy the pilot contributes on take off in flight and landing. The Rogallo Kite depends entirely upon shifting the weight by the pilot for speed and direction. 

In the 1970’s Willi Mueller bought property on the top of the Cochrane Hill and gave hang gliding flight instruction to students in the art of self kite flying. For the last 30 years Hang Gliding on the Cochrane Hill has been a common sight. 

Aviation in Cochrane - Bruce Gowans By Angus MacKenzie 

Bruce Gowans of Bearspaw did a complete restoration of a 1937 Taylorcraft A-40 airplane with Canadian registration CF-BGR in the 1970’s.

The last time this light airplane had flown was in 1941. C.G. Bradford from Pennsylvania is the designer of all the Taylor Cub and Piper Cub airplanes and also Taylorcraft Company in Alliance, Ohio, U.S.A. 

Konnie Johannasson, Flying Service, Stevenson Airport, Winnipeg took delivery of CF-BGR in 1937 from the Taylorcraft Company and for the next three years, it was used mainly as a student trainer. 

In August 1940 Spencer Addeman of Blackie, Alberta bought BGR and logged 116 hours on this airplane most of the time over the local countryside giving rides to family members and the occasional flight to Calgary. 

In the spring of 1941, CF-BGR was sold to Lomer Cyr of Edmonton. This aircraft was due for an overhaul having 1230 hours of flying time logged. Lomer was told the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (S.A.I.T.), Calgary would be the better shop during World War II for service for small civil airplanes so he flew BGR to Calgary and S.A.I.T. from Edmonton. It wasn’t until 1950 that Lomer Cyr inquired about BGR at S.A.I.T. and found nothing had been done on his plane due to a student shortage. He was advised that it would be cheaper for him to purchase one of the many surplus aircraft on the market at the time. 

He decided to cancel the Department of Transport License on CF-BGR and the airplane remained at S.A.I.T. until 1960. It had been used for instructional purposes. It was then declared surplus. 

The airplane was given to George Ryning who was an aircraft Maintenance Instructor and he had hoped to restore this airplane however was never able to find the time. In 1971, George Ryning turned CF-BGR over to Bruce Gowan as he had accepted a four-year posting in Zambia. 

Bruce Gowan was also an instructor at S.A.I.T. but it wasn’t until 1977 that Bruce was able to start rebuilding BGR. Prior to this time, Bruce had spent a few years searching for original parts and pieces for this airplane and he actually succeeded in locating the original engine. In 1979, the wings were completely overhauled. Most of the restoration was done in Bruce’s garage at their home south of the Bearspaw Lifestyle Centre and Bearspaw School. 

The completed Taylorcraft CF-BGR was test flown at Springbank Airport on June 18, 1980. After flight testing at Springbank Bruce’s airplane was flown to Airdrie Airport and tied down outside, close to his Cessna 170A airplane. 

A severe hailstorm in the summer of 1987 did a lot of damage to the fabric-covered wings and tailplane of Bruce’s Taylorcraft so he decided to disassemble the airplane and put it into storage. Bruce still owns this aircraft today (2007). He sold his Cessna 170A a few years before and it is still in active flying service.

More reading:

The Alberta Rose – Doug Richards

pg 6. More Big Hill Country

She’s the pride of Alberta

As everybody knows

Our Provincial emblem

The wild Alberta rose. 

She’s a hardy flower 

She’s scattered everywhere…

Shady thickets or gravel ditches 

You’ll find her growing there. 


It takes a better man than me 

To tell the rose’s story 

Of how she looks and smells

When to bloom in all her glory.


But she’s my favourite flower

I can hardly wait for June

When once again I see 

The roses when they bloom.


The time when they’re in blossom 

Well it really goes so fast 

Why it only seems a fleeting moment 

That their beauty lasts.


But to me it’s worth the wait 

Through the months of winter’s gloom

For those few days in the summer 

When Alberta roses bloom. 

Deep Dive

The Spirit of Cochrane

by Jean Johnson pg 210 More Big Hill Country 2009

When Guy Gibson fell heir to an old Model A Ford he sold me his Model T. I had often cast envious eyes at the little car. It was in excellent shape having been abandoned in a garage for years before Guy got it. The radiator cap was missing but that had been replaced by a small can that once held the milk from contented cows. The car had belonged to a plumber who converted it into a truck with angle irons on the side for holding pipes. 

Although we had lived west of Cochrane for the fifteen years since our marriage, I had rarely been to the village and did not know the people there. By car, Morley was much farther away so I set out one day to shop at Cochrane. For ten miles the trail was deep in mud wherever it was not almost solid rock. When I hit better going on the Banff Trail, I pulled Lizzie’s ear down and was going like all get out with my wits away woolgathering. Suddenly I snapped out of it and was about to careen into the Texaco Service Station on two wheels when I was hit by a long, shiny, green car. Lizzy took a nimble jump to the right side of the road; the car with the strange license plates went about fifty yards before stopping. A man got out and looked at the long gash in the side of his car. Then he saw me, where I stood in the middle of the street, mud-bespattered and apprehensive With the expression of a mad bull he came at me, white with fury and shaking his fist. Immediately a chorus arose from three men who were standing in front of the gas pumps, “She put out her hand: She put out her hand.” Seeing that he was outnumbered the stranger got back into his car, drove down the street, and stopped in front of the hotel. 

“He’s asking directions to the police barracks”, said one of my defenders. “Hurry up and get there before him and tell your story first.” 

I drove there as fast as I could go, walked in, and faced a Mountie whom I had never seen before. I told him that I had had a small accident. 

“Let me see your driver’s license”, he said. 

“I have none”, I replied. “Quick,” he said, “go to the Post Office and get one.” When my little Lizzie was warm you didn’t have to crank it. I jumped in, turned on the ignition and we were off. At the Post Office, someone was dawdling over getting a money order. Mrs. Chapman, the Postmistress, noticed my distress, but when I asked for a driver’s license she said, “You have to be recommended by the RCMP.” 

“He sent me”, I said. 

With a startled look and shaking hand she wrote it out hastily. I drove back to the barracks. The man had been there. The Mountie looked up. “Let me see your driver’s license”, he said quietly. 

He wrote something down. Then he told me that the man had reported me and said that I did not signal that I was about to make a left turn. I told him three witnesses said that I did put out my hand. 

“But did you put out your hand?” he asked. 

“Well”, I said, “I can’t remember signaling. It is a sort of reflex action. But they all said that I did.” He kept writing without looking at me. 

“Anyway”, I said, “he was exceeding the speed limit”. 

“Have you a speedometer on your car?” 

“No, I haven’t.” 

“Then how do you know that he was exceeding the speed limit?” 

“If he could pass me, he had to be exceeding the speed limit”. 

His face was expressionless. I had no idea what he was writing or what would happen to me. He said. “Let’s look at your car”. We went out. There was not a mark on the car. Not even a touch of green paint. 

“Now, listen to me”, he said. “In about two weeks you will get a letter from that man’s lawyer demanding that you pay damages. Don’t answer it. About three weeks later you will get a letter that will scare you half to death. They are going to take it to court. They are going to throw the book at you. Don’t answer it. You will never hear from them again” 

About two months later I met the Mountie on the street. He asked me how it turned out. 

“Exactly as you said,” I told him. 

Then he said, “You know, sometimes when I am driving around Cochrane, I don’t put out my hand either”.

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