Did you think Seebe is just the dam?
I did. It was not until one of my first jobs out of high school, that I learned about the Hamlet of Seebe that existed downstream of the dam. In 2004, the Hamlet was abandoned, locked up and moved.
Seebe was once a Calgary Power (now TransAlta) company town. Employees at the Kananaskis and Horseshoe Dams lived in the hamlet.
The Horseshoe Dam was built first starting in 1911. Kananaskis followed in 1913.
Calgary in 1911 used the supplied electricity to mostly power streetcars. It wasn’t long before homes began to use electricity.
The Control Room (1975) controlled the power generation and transmission from Kananaskis, Horseshoe, Ghost and Bearspaw Dams. (confirmation required). Thanks to Denise Shellian for supplying the control room photo (Ron Shellian at the desk, Pat Cooper standing)
The hamlet was abandoned in 2004. Many of the former buildings were sold and moved to other locations in Alberta.
Seebe was once home to the smallest artificial curling rink in the world. (1 sheet). It was built in 1948 and the plant improved in subsequent years.
The hamlet had a school and store with a gas pump. We’re looking for photos of the hamlet and will update this article as we uncover them. I’ve heard of Toad Hall that had a dirt floor and was used for community events. Children learned to swim in the lake at Nakoda Lodge. If you put your feet down it was quite likely you’d find leeches on your legs. Families in town “had” to have gardens. It was just a thing at the time.
A lot of first-hand details of the hamlet are captured in a series of videos done by the Heritage Resource Committee of the M.D. of BigHorn. Click the button to see.
Pat Ritchie, featured in the playlist, is the daughter of Dolly and Alistair Moore of Cochrane. We have a video of Alistair on our Youtube channel. Sweet Cebola
We want to thank Marjory Smith Gibney for the wonderful photos of the buildings of Seebe.