The First Fire Brigade

Random Notes from Gordon and Belle Hall

The following article is from a Peep into the Past by Gordon and Belle Hall.  They ran a series of articles that outlined the history of the local fire department.

A new brick Presbyterian church was built in 1909 which in 1925 or thereabouts became the United Church of Canada. The first fire brigade was organized in 1909, also with a fire hall and council chambers being built for a sum of $429. The Andison Brothers made an appearance in the early 1900s,  Ernest had a meat market and William the grocery end of it. Beynons, the Davis families and the Quigleys who had a sawmill and brickyard in the east part of town, all put in an appearance. 

The Chapman Brothers, Andy and Bob, were carpenters and built many houses here before starting Chapman Brothers Garage. Andrew Chapman was postmaster here for 37 years, from 1912 to 1949. R.A. Webster ran a feed and livery stable, and also ran the UFA store. S.D. Chester had a lumber yard.

Chapmans Garage 1920s courtesy Glenbow Archives

Before the first war there were five brickyards in operation, also quarries where sandstone was removed, sawed into blocks and shipped to various points in the province. Some of the Cochrane sandstone helped build the parliament buildings in Edmonton. C.W. Fisher was quite prominent, owning the Merina Ranch south of the Bow River and building a large block in the downtown area known as the Fisher Block. It was destroyed by fire in 1928. Fisher also built the large stone house for his new bride, it is now known as the Franciscan Retreat.

The start of the first world war drained the manpower around Cochrane, as it did all across Canada. The brickyards and quarries closed up, most for good. Only one brickyard survived and that was Pete Collins yard which ran off and on till 1928 when it closed for good. 

The old slaughterhouse stood by the Big Hill Creek, where the road crosses the creek in Glenbow subdivision just west of the stampede grounds. It was a building about 20 feet wide and 40 feet long and was quite high, with a rail to put carcasses on, running the length of the building. I never could find out much history on it except it was used prior to 1920.

Hosecart Exhibit

From A Peep into the Past Vol. 1 by Gordon and Bell Hall.

Photos from CHAPS & Glenbow Archives.

Leave a comment

want more details?

Fill in your details and we'll be in touch

%d bloggers like this: