Place Names of Big Hill Country – by Sonia Turner

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.

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