The yearly planned activities of CHAPS was suddenly interrupted and altered during the late evening of March 23rd, 2019. The Big Hill Creek overflowed it’s banks resulting in the flooding of our Museum basement. Thanks to membes of the Cochrane Fire Department and CHAPS volunteers, many historical and cultural artifacts, books, photo albums and other objects were saved. We were very fortunate to not of lost our entire basement and contents. This event shattered our sense of safety. Though heartbroken and devastated, CHAPS members and volunteers rallied together to repair the damages. This publicly demonstrated how CHAPS members and volunteers are dedicated and devoted to help protect, preserve and maintain the history of Cochrane and the surrounding areas. As a result, many individuals, non-profit organizations and local businesses made financial donations to help recoup our losses.
Thanks to Malcolm Strong for donating Cochrane bricks to CHAPS. They were from the Moore house on Ross Ave. & Williams St. There are 8 pallets with about 200 bricks per pallet.
CHAPS has been contacted by a resident of Downey, CA about an Estate sale for Findlay’s who once lived in Cochrane. Apparently, they had quite a lot of memorabilia from the area including this site plan from 1914. It would be extremely helpful if someone in Downey could give these treasures a look on our behalf.
The mystery of Where’s Waldo finally solved as he has been working at the Cochrane Historical Museum for the past two years as part of a contest
— Read on www.cochranethisweek.com/wheres-waldo-mystery-solved/
Archeologists dig up the past along Highway 1A.
— Read on www.cochranetoday.ca/local-news/archeologists-peer-into-cochranes-past-1621442
CochraneNow.com – Cochrane, Alberta’s latest news, Sports and Ag news, as well as Classifieds, Community Events and Business Directory.
— Read on cochranenow.com/community-blog-articles/chautauqua-breathes-life-into-proud-heritage
Our rebuilding fundraiser is going well thanks to the nice people at Fortis.
CHAPS thanks the Totem Charitable Foundation for this incredibly generous support of the Cochrane Historical Museum. The museum recently sustained damage by a flood of Big Hill Creek.
Thank you to our volunteers
- Lydia Graham
- Lonnie Basiuk
- Mike Taylor
- Lynda Alderman
- Doris James
- Monesa Podmoroff
- Margaret Hunziker
- Pauline Murray
- Donna & Raymond MacDonald
- Vera Elson
- George Thompson
- Heather Pearce
- Arlene & Don Hepburn
- Janice & Greg Hawkwood
- Barbara Canning
- Tony Turner
- Frank Hennessey
- Bernice Klotz
- Donna Morris
- Gordon Davies
- Rod Wallace
- Mark Boothby
- Gayle & Larry Want
- Shannon & Ed Want
- Mary Nicolson Klimek
- Dianne Mclennon
- June Burgess
Builders. We can’t thank the folks enough that helped to build CHAPS.
- Jo Hutchinson
- Diane & Larry Mclennon
- Ellen Bryant
- Ellen Buckler
- Margaret Buckley
- Gordon Hall
- Jean Johnson
- Dorothy Shand
- Marjorie Spicer
- Sonia Turner
- Bev Genung
- Dorothy Anderson
- Ken Thompson
- Betty & Ernie Trosch
- David Callaway
- Shirley & Bob Thomas
- Vicki & Turk Deeton
- Heather & Gary Sutherland
- Dave Beattie
- Janette & Dave Whittle
- Elizabeth Stone
- Mona Sylvestre
- Evelyn & Jack Perkins
- Jean & Angus MacKenzie
- Joyce & Ed Schmidt
- Catherine McLay
- Festo Gicuhi
- Yvonne & Bob Callaway
- Jackie Shier
- Matthew ? Volunteer that used to lead tours
- Shannon Bradley Green
- Joan Popowich
- Kim Bucker
- Melva Blood
- Betty & Dennis Goodsall
- Katherine Mclean
- Kathy Thompson
- Anne Richardson
- Dorothy & Bill Boothby
- Kass Beynon
- John Thomson
- Cindy Murray
- Val & Murray Wilson
- Dorothy Andison
Become a Volunteer.
Every Restoration and/or colourization order during the month of April will
have $25 donated to CHAPS. A restoration originates from a damaged print or
from a print where changes are needed. Removing people, combining photos,
fixing damage etc.
Clients will receive a FREE digital file (via email) of their restored file. This is a savings of $10 per restored image.
Our vendor for restorations has donated $100 to CHAPS via PayPal.
People are welcome to bring in multiple restorations. Should CHAPS need any
restorations completed we would be pleased to extend a discount.
Let me know if you need any further information.
Sadly, the museum was damaged. Thanks to all who assisted.
Beaupre – a locality north of the 1A Highway about 10 miles west of Cochrane. Named after Louis Beaupre, an early settler who bought squatter’s rights there.
Beaver Dam Creek – rises in the west side of the Weedon district, flows through Mortimer Coulee, and winds on northeast. So named because of the numerous beavers in it.
Big Hill – the hill below which Cochrane is situated. Early maps show it as Manachaban Hill, which is the Blackfoot name. The apex of the Big Hill is about 3 miles east of the town.
Bow River – so named because the Indians obtained wood for bow making, along its banks.
Cochrane – situated on the southwest slope and at the base of the Big Hill. Named after Senator M.H. Cochrane (1823-1903) who established the Cochrane Ranche in 1881.
Cochrane Lakes – named after W.F. Cochrane, son of Senator M.H. Cochrane of the Cochrane Ranche Company. The lakes are 4 miles north of the 1A Highway, and west of Highway 22.
Dog Pound – a locality which derives its name for a Cree name. but its origin is not clear. Presently, it is a hamlet on the Crossfield – Cremona Highway.
Ghost Lake– the flooded area formed by the Ghost Dam. There is now a village on the north shore of the lake. The Ghost River flows into the Bow just above the Dam.
Grand Valley – named after Donald McEachen, who exclaimed “Aye, It’s a grand valley!”
Horse Creek – supposed to have been so named because of a lost horse which was found drowned in the creek.
Jackass Canyon – located northwest of Beaupre. When the C.P.R. came through in the 1880’s, mules were used for building the roadbed. Those mules were wintered in this canyon, hence the name.
Jacob Creek – named after a Stoney Indian Chief who signed Treaty no. 7 in 1877. It flows through the Ghost Dam Reservoir.
Jumping Pound – a locality south and west of Cochrane.
Lochend – a locality 14 miles northeast of Cochrane, named by J.K. Laidlaw.
Lochend Lake – named by J.K. Laidlaw , and derived from the Gaelic name meaning “At the end of the lake”.
Madden – a hamlet named after Bernard Madden, an early settler in the Beaver Dam District.
Manachaban Hill – the Blackfoot name for what is more commonly know as Big Hill.
Mitford -a town between Cochrane and Morley on the banks of the Bow River. Mitford was named by Lady Adela Cochrane after her friend, Mrs. Percy Mitford. The town was abandoned when the C.P.R. established their station at Cochrane, and later a fire burned the buildings that remained; some, such as All Saints Anglican Church, were moved to Cochrane.
Morley – an Indian Reservation. Established as a mission at Morleyville, by the Rev. George McDougall. Named after Rev. Morley Punshon.
Pile of Bones Creek – presumably so named because of the severe cattle losses suffer by the Cochrane Ranche, whose cattle watered nearby on a quarter set aside as a water reserve (SW 1/4, 14-25-5-5)
Radnor – a flag stop station on the C.P.R. just east of the Ghost Dam. Named in 1884 after Wilma, Daughter of the 5th Earl of Radnor.
Sheep Ranch Hill -the hill just west of Cochrane, so named because the sheep corrals were at its base. Presently its known as Cochrane Crescent.
Sibbald Creek – named after the Sibbald family who homesteaded in the area.
Waiporous Creek – is part of the Ghost River system. It is derived from a Stoney Indian name meaning “Crow Indian Scalp.”
Wildcat Hills elevation 5,135 feet; a range of timbered hills northwest of Cochrane.
Thanks to Sonia Turner who originally wrote this article. This article contains a small number of the locations described on page 21 of Big Hill Country.
I’d originally thought about updating the article but that changed the flavour and doesn’t show how much Cochrane has changed since the book was published in 1977.
The Hooves of History was a fundraising event for the Western Heritage Centre to celebrate our western culture.
I spoke with Ken Aylesworth, Steering Committee Chair, President and CEO of the Western Heritage Center about his memories.
Click on any image for a larger view.
The original goal was to have 2000 head of cattle driven by 1000 outriders. While that ambitious goal was not reached 1000 cattle and 750 drovers made the 55 km ride from Sibbald Flats near the Trans Canada Highway into Cochrane 4 days later.
The drive stopped for nights at a Campground, Tom Copithorne ranch and the last night at the Wine Glass Ranch.
Neil Sanger and Maureen Tynan were married that night on the Wine Glass Ranch by Cowboy Poet Doug Richards along with 50 guests.
A team of volunteers was out front of the drive taking down ranchers fences and pounding posts to tie up horses at every nightly stop. The route was selected because land owners allowed the drive to cross private property many times providing the necessary insurance as well.
While in Cochrane, the cattle were auctioned off, a dance was held in the Western Heritage Centre parking lot, outhouse races took place, stage entertainment including a western shootout, and a Cowboy Church.
Ken says it was a big, big job requiring nearly 400 volunteers.
Jim Bates was responsible for feeding nearly 2000 riders, volunteers and media personnel. 30 Volunteers helped serve food along the drive and another 30 prepared daily boxed lunches. Jim says the meals were not exactly gourmet cuisine but there’s nothing quite like a hot meal cooked on the open plains.
By the time the ride is complete, Bates will have served 4,000 lbs of beef, 4,800 lbs of potatoes, 24,000 eggs, 1,500 lbs of bacon, 12,000 buns, 500 lbs of butter, 72,000 creamers in 35,000 cups of coffee and 6,600 boxed lunches.
From a Cochrane Times article September 27, 2000
People attended from around the world including the rest of Canada, England, Australia, Norway, Holland and many parts of the U.S. Ken estimates 30% of people attending were not from the area.
Brad Dennis, a friend of Kens and an investment banker participated. Ken convinced him to come and he had one of the most incredible experiences of his life with riding a horse and sleeping on the ground. When we stopped he said “Kenny, lets do it again.”
Thanks to Ken Aylesworth, the Cochrane Times and the Cochrane Historical Museum Archive for providing details of Hooves of History 2000.
Phyliss Hart talks about how her father, Hedley Hart brought ice cream to his drug store in 1934 to bring people into the business. The video “The Five Cent Article” is from the series 100 Stories for 100 Years produced by Barry Thorson.
Hedley Hart purchased the drugstore from Dr. Waite who often closed the business when he had calls in the country. While business in Cochrane was better than in Gadsby, AB it wasn’t enough to support a family.
One day, Max Thibodeau, with Union Milk and Crystal Diary in Calgary came in to sell an ice cream machine and everything to go with it. Thibodeau must have been quite the salesman or visionary to sell $1500.00 of equipment when ice cream sold for just .05 cents.
It didn’t take long before the name was established and Hedley was staying up until 2 AM to keep up with the ice cream demand. He purchased a couple of new machines to help out. It wasn’t long before it became a Sunday pastime for Calgarians to drive to Cochrane for a Hart’s ice cream cone or a thick shake.
The store was an agent for Brewster, later Greyhound Bus Lines. Bus drivers would buy ice cream and it wasn’t long before passengers did the same. At the time, Cochrane was on the Trans Canada and ran right through Cochrane. It wasn’t until years later that the Trans Canada Highway was routed miles south.
In 1956, Hedley Hart sold the drugstore and ice cream business to Bob and Alice Graham. Hedley Hart, then 70 retired with family to Calgary. A year later, the Trans Canada Highway was developed south of Cochrane and the Grahams decided to sell the ice cream business to Jimmy MacKay.
from files supplied by Phyllis Hart.
Aileen Copithorne talks about the freedom experienced growing up in Cochrane. CHAPS Cochrane has a YouTube Channel with over 40 interesting stories of Cochrane.
Aileen Davies grew up in Cochrane in the home that is now the Cochrane Historical Museum.
She has many stories of growing up in a small town.
She tells a story of biking with friend, Dorothy Reed when Mr O’Keefe, the Bank Manager once offered them ride to 12 Mile Coulee to watch the Stampede Fireworks. They left their bikes behind Andisons’ store. Not thinking that fireworks were after dark they didn’t get home until late. Both parents had searched river and creek areas looking for them. “Our parents were so glad to see us we didn’t get in too much trouble.”
“Dorothy and I had stick horses which we rode over the hill to the brickyard. We also had stilts made by uncle Jack. The family across the road had tall stilts and used to sit on roof of house across the street just to watch people. Their name was Kinsley.”
Aileen went to school in brick school that used to be where Holy Spirit currently sits. She remembers looking south one day to see the Brushy Ridge fire. Students were glued to the windows and the smoke was horrendous.
“I was the lone graduate in my class of grade 12. It was very lonely in high school.” She had classmates in earlier grades but they did not stick it out to Grade 12.
“School was very regimented. Our Principal had a hand bell to call us back to class. If you didn’t behave you got hit with the bell. We used to have to line up girls then boys and march into school.”
“Cochrane used to be divided into east side and west side. You didn’t have friends from the other side of town. You visited the other side if you had relatives but there was little mixing. Many homes in Cochrane had barns behind them for horses and carriages. Homes had large gardens.” Aileen remembers Auntie Annie feeding a lot of men when they got off the train with food from the garden and from local chickens.
She attended a very rigorous 3 year Nursing program at Calgary General. “The first year you felt basically a slave, we were paid $6.00 per month, had no days off, had to attend lectures from Doctors during our off time and had a 10 PM curfew. Year 3 you were a Senior and had more freedom.” Occasionally she came home on the midnight train. The uniform was black stockings, striped blue and white dress, with apron and bib with white hat. “The stockings were terrible.”
Since the train used to stop in Cochrane it was used to get into Calgary.
Aileen married John Copithorne and moved to their family place that originally sat where Gleneagles Golf Course currently is.
Aileen tells a story about John’s dad when driving their first tractor. He ran it through a fence into McPherson’s. When asked about his accident he said he hollered “Whoa but the damn thing didn’t stop”.
Aileen says they were lucky to grow up in Cochrane in an uncomplicated time.
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I will update this post after doing further research. Right now, we want to get this request out.
CHAPS is collaborating with ACE HY Motorcycle club of Calgary to explore the history of motorcycle hill climbing in the Cochrane area. We’ve met to review club photos to identify local land marks and will soon do the same with club movies.
Our progress to date has been documented in an article in the Cochrane Times. We’ve found some beautiful photos of one hill climb on Cochrane Hill.
CHAPS is excited to begin a collaboration with the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation to create twice monthly articles in a local paper.
The Cochrane Times contacted us about the possibility of regular articles on the history of Cochrane and Area. Our first article will appear in the Jan 23rd issue followed in two weeks time by the article from Stockmen’s.
Can anyone suggest a name for our Article?
Last Friday we ran this quiz.
Do you know what these local pioneer terms mean?
1. Anti-I-over A favorite team game at country schools, which involved catching a ball that was thrown over the schoolhouse.
2. Bee. A co-operative effort by the neighbours to get a job done quickly, such as seeding or harvesting the crop of a settler who was ill, or constructing a barn or community building.
3. Bennett Medal. A medal, later a ten dollar cash prize, given annually to the student having the highest marks in each country school in R.B. Bennett’s constituency
4. Broadcast. To throw seed from the hand for dispersion in sowing. Many settlers seeded their first crops in this manner.
5. Buffalo Chips. Dried buffalo manure used for fuel when firewood was unavailable.
6. Bull Durham. A very fine cigarette tobacco sold in a small red and yellow sack with a draw string. Cowboys usually catied the sack in a shirt pocket.
7. Scrip. A certificate or coupon given by the government to certain settlers, entitling them to land.
8. CPR Strawberries. Dried prunes
9. Remittance Man. An immigrant, usually from Britain, who received a regular allowance or remittance from home.
10. Rubbering . Listening in on the neighbours’ conversations on a party line telephone.
I overheard someone ask this question at our Photo opening the other night. I never noticed the characters on this sign before nor do I know what they mean.
We’re asking all those puzzle masters out there to help us solve this one!
Contacts on Twitter have provided a partial answer to our question about the language on Bob and Alice Graham’s Pharmacy sign.
We want to share our “Why” with you. I prefer to have other peoples perspectives but I’ll share a couple of my own first.
- 20 years ago, a volunteer group of people concerned with saving the history of Cochrane started the Cochrane Historical & Archival Preservation Society.
- 5 years ago, CHAPS opened the Cochrane Historical Museum. This scope of this one project amazes and motivates me. CHAPS saved a historic building, fund raised, co-ordinated with several levels of government , had it moved to a wonderful location and had the building restored as a Museum. Truly Inspiring.
- A dedicated, core group of volunteers has been keeping CHAPS active for 20 years. We are in need of help. We need to expand our membership, our influence and our volunteers.
In the next year, I want to interview a number of our volunteers and get their perspective on being involved in CHAPS. Stay tuned.
I hope you are asking yourself how I can help. I have a few ideas that don’t cost a lot of your time or money.
- share and comment on our social media posts with your friends. We want to share our core message of saving and educating about our history to be spread widely. We’re seeing a massive swing lately. Help us keep it going!
- Like our pages. CHAPS Cochrane and Cochrane Historical Museum have pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Youtube. I’ll be adding social media icons to our webpage soon to help you find and like our feeds.
- Become a member. It’s super inexpensive. $10.00 a year for an individual, $15.00 for a family. Here’s a link to our Member page.
- Attend one of our meetings. We are having more and more educational meetings. Stay tuned to our events webpage for updates.
- Donate to CHAPS to help us fund our projects. We have a Donate button on the top right side and bottom of our webpages. Our CHAPS Facebook page is running a fundraising campaign until the end of March. They have been hugely successful so far and we can always go over the top.
- Lastly, most importantly, become a volunteer. We have a core group but they can’t do it forever. We can use your help however you want to become involved. A couple of my own ideas are:
- Membership. Help us find new members and stay in touch with existing members.
- Become a Director. Volunteer now and let your name stand at the September A.G.M. I did, scared me to death but I’m sure glad I did.
- Research. Get in touch to hear the topics we’re planning.
- Volunteer at the museum during the summer.
- Attend or help with our summer time guided tours of Historic Cochrane.
We have to say thanks:
- to everyone that came out to our Photo Archive opening. Both members who shared stories and 15 excited, interested guests.
- the support of the local media who have helped us share our message.
- local admins of Facebook pages who provide a means for us to share.
- everyone that has shared our message on any of our social media feeds.
- to our existing members and volunteers.
Another in the 100 Stories for 100 Years series produced by Barry Thorson.
Vernice (Towers) Wearmouth talks about the Brushy Ridge fire and cutter rides from the Ranch to Cochrane to attend dances. It’s a lovely story from a local pioneer of the challenges and joys of living in the area.
The Brushy Ridge Fire
from an article by Bob Callaway in Big Hill Country page 718
Nov 19, 1936 a day remembered by many for years to come. Winds up to 90 MPH (150 kmh) fanned a fire that raced across the prairie.
With the gale-force winds driving the fire, there was no fighting it. The year previous had been very dry and the country was dry as tinder. A haystack or field of grass would catch fire and be picked up by the wind and carried a half mile, mile or even two miles only to be set down and start another fire.
Then came a shower of rain, bringing a day of living hell to an end. Men had come from Cochrane, Jumping Pound and Springbank to help fight it. Many different methods were tried. George Callaway tried to plow a fireguard in front of it, to no avail. Lennie Blow rode a truck tarp being dragged behind a truck to try and smother the flames that too, was unsuccessful. The fire continued its course and a drop in the wind and a shower of rain were the only things that stopped it from continuing right into Calgary.