Monday, April 24, 2017

Ferry Point

Part of the Donalda Museum,
on the edge of the coulee.

A few days ago I met up with someone who I've talked to through an online photo group, he is a wealth of knowledge on various topics and history, particularly the history of the area around Donalda, AB. (I have bugged him with many questions!) He showed me some cool old schools and some other interesting places. If it wasn't for the weather, I could've/would've explored a few more hours! The snow was coming down pretty good at some points, ruining what could've been some great photos but there is always another day. Hopefully this is the last of the snow and real Spring is coming soon. Stay tuned!

One of the areas that caught my interest was Ferry Point. The first settlers started arriving in this area on the Battle River in 1891. In 1902 a ferry was established to cross the Battle River and provide a link to the trails and on either side.  Around the same time a store and post office were established. Soon came a blacksmith shop, a feed mill, and a hotel. The actual Ferry Point Ferry only lasted until 1907 when a steel bridge was built. The town began to decline when the railroad bypassed it, as happened to many places who's fate was tied to the railroad. People and businesses began to relocate to neighbouring communities. In 1921 the Ferry Point Community Hall was moved away, leaving very little left to show that there was a community called Ferry Point.

A couple miles west of the townsite and river crossing is the Ferry Point Church and Cemetery. The former Ferry Point School was near the church also. The church was built in 1905 and is still looked after. What I found interesting was that is was never wired for electricity, it is as it always was. My tour guide Tim, told me that they still host a candlelight Christmas Eve service. This sounds absolutely charming and I would love to attend this someday.



The Ferry Point School was in operation from 1903-1949. It was then moved to Bashaw for use as a classroom, then as a teacherage and finally as a private residence. I hope it's still loved and lived in. This sign is on the corner of an occupied farm. The farm is still in the family of the man who donated the land for the Ferry Point School. That's pretty cool.

I have a bunch more great photos from this day but they will have to wait for my next post. Thanks to Tim for showing me around his neck of the woods!






12 comments:

  1. Wonderful post. I have yet to visit Ferry Point. It is definitely on my list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A summer day trip there sounds good!

      Delete
  2. Lovely area... I'm really liking your photography, Jenn. You have a nice eye for composition and editing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Steve, I have been trying to get better...sometimes though I have to stop myself from over editing!

      Delete
  3. This is so interesting! I can't say I've heard of this place before...was it mentioned in any of the ghost town books? Indeed, the arrival of the railway kiboshed the aspirations of many a prairie settlement, those that were bypassed, that is. Quite a number of them moved to the railway line in order to survive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Donald, thanks! I found quick mentions of it in various old history books but not in any ghost town books. I found a couple photos in the archives also but not of any of the buildings. I love finding places like this. Thanks for visiting my blog.

      Delete
    2. At the time, Donald, in 1905, people thought the CPR line coming from the east was going to be built farther south. Ferry Point was optimistic it would come past there on the way to Camrose. But it ended up being placed farther north on what is now the Hwy 13 corridor. Then the CNoR line coming up from Drumheller also was built farther to the west through Donalda and Meeting Creek and that was pretty well the nail in the coffin for Ferry Point, and also the community of Heatherbrae, directly east of Dried Meat Lake, which was also a bustling community until the railway bypassed it.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Tim for the clarification. Sad that it had a chance with two approaching railways, but neither panned out.

      Delete
  4. Just a clarification, Jenn. It's a candlelight Christmas Eve church service, not a dinner. But yeah, still pretty cool.
    Was happy to be your tour guide on Saturday. The weather was definitely the shits, which was unfortunate. I would have loved to show you more around the area, but maybe another time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for sharing these photos. I'd love to see inside that church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! Peeking in the windows, it looked nice and tidy and ready to hold a service. No pews but rows of chairs all set up.

      Delete