Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Camrose: Now & Then

Camrose is an interesting city in East Central Alberta. I have driven through it a couple of times but time didn't allow me any exploring time. Last weekend, we had a nice lunch at the Skyway Restaurant in downtown Camrose, and then explored a bit. It's got a ton of great looking shops and old buildings and I want to go back an explore some more.

First we stop at the Bailey Theatre. The Bailey was built in 1911, and began its life as a Vaudeville Theatre. It has the distinction of being the oldest Vaudeville Theatre in Alberta. It moved into silent movies in the 20's and 30's and showed is first 'talkie' in 1930. It was in the 30's that the current marquee and black glass exterior were added. Movies were shown here into the 90's when a multiplex opened and the Bailey could not complete. In 1998 volunteers with the Bailey Theatre Society began restoration, but money ran out and all work stopped. Nothing more happened until 2006 when a benefactor came forward, this along with municipal, provincial and federal funding allowed the theatre to be restored to its former glory in time for it's 100th birthday in 2011. The final cost was $8.1M. Wow!! I would love to see the inside! Photos below from the Bailey Theatre website. 

C. 1930's 

c. 1979

Right across the street from the Bailey is the Alice Hotel. The Alice was built in 1928, but prior to that there was another 3 storey hotel on the same sight. The Windsor Hotel was built in 1904, and burned to the ground in 1919. From what I read in a local history book, the fire was a bit of mystery after the ownership and management changed a couple of times. Brick buildings don't change too much but I like seeing the old photos.

c. 1965

2018. I wish I had the same angle as the other 2. Not my best photo. 
Last but not least is the former Camrose Normal School. This building was built in 1915 as the second Normal School in Alberta. A Normal School is where teachers were trained before they went to teach in one of the thousands of one room school houses in Alberta. From 1915-1938 thousands of teachers received training here. The building was then turned over to the Department of National Defense. Not sure what happened here from secret perhaps? Since 1952 it has operated as Rosehaven Care Centre.

If anyone else, besides me, was wondering why it was called a 'Normal' School. I have a possible answer via the all powerful internet: Normal Schools derive their name from the French phrase 'ecole normale'. These teacher training institutions were intended to set a pattern or norm after which all schools would be modeled. The first such school was established in 1685 in France. I don't suppose there was an Abnormal School as an option.

Also as a brick building it hasn't changed much, you can see a new entrance added at what was below ground level originally. It is a beautiful and impressive building, even more so in person.


You can still see where it said Normal School.  
If you know of any places I should check out in the Camrose area, or anywhere in Alberta, send me a message!

References: HeRMIS;;; A Light Into the Past: Camrose 1905-1980

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Service: Wilhelmina Lutheran Church

Here is another church we stopped at last weekend. It is similar in size and shape of many other Lutheran Churches I have come across on my back road travels. What is different about this church is that it still holds regular Sunday Services. The section at the back of the church, which I thought was a parsonage, is the kitchen and Sunday School area.

As with many prairie pioneer settlements, it was made up of Scandinavian people who left their home countries in search of new opportunities in the Canadian West. This area was first settled by Swedish families by the names of Staboe and Lunde, who came here via Minnesota. The area was then called the Lundemo District. The Lunde family encouraged friends from Sweden to make the trip to Canada and so on. Within a few short years the area was settled.

The Wilhelmina Church was built in 1908. It is nice to see it still going strong 110 years later.

A beautiful Church

The Pasonage

This house is very close to the church, maybe whoever lived here attended Wilhelmina Church.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Verdun School: Nowhere Near Berlin

Last Saturday, I was able to spend most of the daylight hours exploring. That isn't saying much as this time of year there is only about 8 hours of sunlight per day, a few minutes more each day though which is something to be happy about. I am glad I was able to have this full day since we are now in another cold snap and I am not sure when I will have time to explore again.

This school was on my list of things to go see. It is near Duhamel, AB which is NE of where I live about 1.5 hours. The area around this school was originally settled by German immigrants from the NE United States in the late 1890's. In 1902 the New Berlin schoolhouse was complete and would teach Grades 1-8. The community continued to grow and in 1915 an addition to the school and a teacherage were added.

Due to hostility and resentment towards Germany during WWI, the school was renamed in 1918. Verdun was chosen after the Battle of Verdun which happened in 1916. Verdun School continued to hold classes until 1952. It was used also as a community hall and a church. It has now been preserved as an excellent example of a one room prairie schoolhouse. It became an Alberta Designated Historic Building in 2000.

The classic Waterbury

Outhouse 1, the other was in the opposite corner


A photo of a photo inside the school.
Undated but the cars should make it easy to date for someone. 
My little ham, photo by Kim!

School selfie!

This small area of Alberta is very interesting and I will be blogging more on it later. It has several distinct groups of settlers from German to French to Norwegian as well as various religious backgrounds. The Catholic Church in my last post is a short distance from Verdun School.

References: Pioneering With a Piece of Chalk; HeRMIS; Battle River Country: A Historical Sketch of Duhamel and District. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Service: St. Thomas Catholic Church

Yesterday was a great day! I had planned an exploring trip to an area NE of me. Friends of mine, who know the area, were able to meet up with us and we had lunch and visited a bunch of places. All these places were new to me. I had a list of things I was looking for and I was able to show them a couple spots new to them as well.

At the recommendation of my friend Tim, we stopped at Catholic Church of St. Thomas near Duhamel, AB. This simple church was constructed in 1883 of logs. The logs were covered in 1915 when clapboard siding became available. At the same time the bell tower and sacristy (I had to look up what this was) were added.

This church is associated with the work of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate among the Metis communities of Alberta. It remains the only Metis Mission Church on it's original site in Alberta. This church is for the most part unaltered from it's original construction and additions in 1915. It was active until the 1960's and was then converted to a museum. It became a designated Provincial Historic Building in 1980.

Her -----> Him

The cemetery is a bit behind the church, we didn't walk to it.

Since I saw several churches yesterday, I will be posting them on Sundays.

References: HeRMIS

Friday, January 5, 2018

North Cottage School

One of my favourite things to find is old one room country schoolhouses. At the same time as these rural school districts were forming, larger communities needed larger schools. To quickly alleviate the need for schools, 'cottage schools' were built as temporary measures before more permanent brick schools could be built for the growing school aged population. These cottage schools were designed to fit into residential neighbourhoods with the intention of being converted to a home once it was no longer needed as a school.

I have known about a couple of these in Calgary, which I will have to get photos of, but I recently found one not far from where I work, north of downtown in Red Deer.  North Cottage School was one of 2 identical schools built to accommodate the rapidly growing population of Red Deer. Replacing earlier buildings that were torn town. North Cottage was constructed in 1911 and opened in January of 1912. The larger more permanent school was not built until 1954. The 2nd cottage school, that was on the south side of the river, no longer exists.

Interestingly it was never converted to a home as intended and operates today as an Alternative School. It received a renovation in 1989 to restore it to it's original condition and became a registered Alberta Heritage Building in 2009.


I wanted to capture the same angle but there are huge trees blocking the way now, I guess that tends to happen over 106 years. I love how this building has retained its character.

1912 Courtesy of the Red Deer Archives

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Year, New Photos!

Happy New Year Everyone! We rang in the New Year quietly. Earlier in the evening we joined some friends for a swim at a local pool and then home for pizza and movies. We were so busy watching a movie that we missed the countdown. Ah well at least we made it until midnight without falling asleep.

For over a week we had extremely cold temperatures, that deep freeze subsided a bit on New Years Day and even nicer today! By deep freeze I mean it was -40C/F with the wind chill (this temp is when Celsius and Fahrenheit are equal. Equally freaking cold.) Since it warmed up to a balmy -16C/3F, I decided to take a quick jaunt to some nearby places and capture some old favourites...but now with snow!

Looking back on my photos, I still have a few places I never blogged about. I will hopefully get those up here soon and add some new places. I will boldly go where I have not gone before.

Here are some New Years Day photos from places close to home:

A return to this beauty!


Son of a birch, there's a barn in there! (May not be birch trees)

End of the day, looking out my back door. 
I hope 2018 brings much health and happiness to you all! Here's to new adventures!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Best Nine of 2017 and Happy New Year!

Well, 2017 is almost over. It wasn't the best year, it wasn't the worst year. I am hoping to make some positive changes next year so that 2018 will be a great year! Not exactly a resolution but more of an action plan. Do you have any resolutions?

I would like to spend less time online. However I do love Instagram. It is my favourite platform and I use it more than anything else. At the end of last year I decided to post one of my photos a day. Since it is almost the end of the year I can say with utmost confidence that I will succeed as I don't intent to drop the ball now before the ball drops haha.

Each year at this time "Best Nine" posts start popping up, showcasing your most popular photos from the year. Most of them are also personal favourites of mine. I figured I would also show them here as a nod to the year that was.

Instagram Best Nine of 2017
As you can see, grain elevators are a popular subject! I am also happy to see the barn in the bottom right corner, since it belongs to the family of a friend of mine, which makes it extra special.

If you use Instagram feel free to check out my accounts:
A Jenn original Photo of the Day @jennspix
Personal - you never know what you might see here! @jenniferkimiko
Side Hustle and my creative side @ingrained_images

Take care everyone, I truly appreciate the people who read my blog and those who leave comments. I have met some great people and read a variety of interesting blogs. Looking forward to more in 2018! Happy New Year and see you in a few days!