Friday, April 28, 2023

Jake's Butte - Dunbarney School

I always stop at this place, it's right along a paved highway and it's easy to photograph. I have stopped here several times over the years and will continue to until it falls down or I do. 

A hill, a school, and a ranch (still in operation) in the area all share the name of Jake's Butte. Named after Jake Lewis. According to the book, "As We Remember Big Valley", round-up cook Jake Lewis set up camp at the bottom of a hill but the riders couldn't find the camp. Jake put a lantern on top the hill so the riders could spot him, the hill was then named Jake's Butte and the school was also so named. The original school was used from 1913-1943, when Dunbarney School was then moved on site and used until 1950. It closed permanently when Ozark School was moved just over a mile away and Jake's Butte became redundant. It was then sold to the Jake's Butte Community Society. It appears that it was also a home at some point.

*I have an update, I was doing some more reading and found an undated image of Dunbarney School, which was moved to Jake's Butte in 1943. I am reasonably sure that they are the same building. The roofline, 2 small windows on the north side, and the chimney match, it appears the entry way was removed but the roof piece is still there. 

References: Pioneering with a Piece of Chalk; As We Remember Big Valley

Monday, April 24, 2023

Mural Monday

I am a fan of murals and public art. Or should I say most public art....I'm looking at you 'Travelling Light', aka the Big Blue Ring in Calgary. Art is definitely subjective and sometimes divisive but always something to appreciate. 

Anyway, in the City of Red Deer, there are several sides and backs of buildings in and near the downtown core that have been transformed! I think it is such a great addition to the area and makes lurking in alleys extra fun and not at all suspicious. 

Fitting mural for the Food Bank building.

Stay tuned for Part 2! More murals!!! Want more now? Check out these murals from all over the world!  

Friday, April 21, 2023

Arthurvale Adventure

Coddiwomple: to travel in a purposeful manor towards a vague destination.

Sometimes I coddiwomple my way through life, sometimes I have a set destination but get there in a random way. There are no wrong ways to explore, but there are wrong turns. 

On this particular trip I was actually headed somewhere specific and never ended up getting there. I made some 'right' turns and ended up finding an old church and some other signs (literally) that indicated that a community once thrived here. I had found St. Hilda's Anglican Church in the district of Arthurvale.

Image from 'A History of the Huxley Area'

Many of the first permanent settlers to this area were English men and women who belonged to the Anglican Church. It was a long trip to the closest Anglican Church and the local community asked for their own services. The first service was held on July 29, 1905 in the home of a local man, with 38 people attending. Services continued to be held once a month in various homes until a church could be built. Lumber was purchased in June of 1907 and work progressed through the summer and even though the church was not complete, the first service was held October 27, 1907. Many of the churches furnishings were sent from England by friends and relatives. 

I found out that occasional services were held there right up until COVID happened and that there might be a Spring or early Summer service in the works. This church used to be unlocked for all to enjoy and sign the guest book, until recently when items were stolen from the church, forcing the caretakers to lock the doors. Makes you wonder what kind of person would steal also, it seems particularly evil to steal from a church. 

Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road is a sign for the short lived Arthurvale Post Office. By the end of 1905 the community met and discussed having the Government establish a Post Office there and the Stephenson House was chosen as the location. The name Arthurvale was chosen after Arthur Stephenson, the only child in the district at the time. 

Post Office Sign and St. Hilda's in the Background.

Another short distance away is the location of Loyalty School, the school is long gone but the entrance gate to the property is still there, just beyond the gate you can see a stone pillar that may at one time been part of a grander entrance or sign. The school opened in 1916 with 42 pupils. The school was already too small and another room was eventually added in 1925. By 1938, High School classes were being offered and the original Arthurville School was bought and moved (about 10km) on site and a dormitory built. The school closed in 1956 and the children were bussed to the nearby town of Huxley. 

What lies beyond..

The pioneers of the area now rest in Arthurvale Cemetery beside St. Hilda's but there are still those who care for the church and keep the history alive.

Sources: Pioneering with a Piece of Chalk and A History of the Huxley Area.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Bird - Real vs AI

I don't intend to use AI in creating any images, but I did run a photo I took through an AI filter and it looks kinds of cool. Fun to play with but that is the extent of it for me. AI generated images will not be found on this blog....after today. 

Feel free to respectfully comment your opinions on AI. Thanks!

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Christmas Light Pillars

I should have posted this image in December but seeing as you're reading this....I didn't, so here we are. Christmas in April! I took this image on December 23rd, 2022 looking at the pier on Sylvan Lake. The snow in the foreground is covering the frozen lake. 

This is a cool phenomenon known as light pillars. The sciencey explanation for this is light reflecting off ice crystals in the air. Enjoy!

Friday, April 14, 2023

Lady Aurora Puts on a Show

I am lucky enough to have seen the Aurora Borealis aka the Northern Lights several times in my life. The past couple years though have been great for auroral activity. There is a whole science behind when you might see it, with strength, direction, solar wind, etc...yet all that can be for nothing if you have a cloudy sky. 

The aurora scale goes from KP 0-9. The higher the number the more intense and further south you will see it. In the late night/early morning of March 23rd-24th, 2023, I got an alert from the Aurora group I follow and it was pants on and camera ready. Nikon battery was dead, rookie mistake. Phone will have to do.

I read later that it was KP8 level event and it felt like I was standing in the middle of a sky that filled with dancing light and shapes. As amazing as some of the photographs out there are, seeing it in person is unlike anything else you will ever experience. I caught another KP8 event a couple years ago but it never fails to mesmerize and enchant and you can't help but be in awe of it as you stare at the ever changing scene. 

As a human with lame-ass physical limitations, we aren't able to process all the colours with the naked eye, luckily cameras can do that for us. Something sciencey to do with the rods and cones of your eye. Below are some phone shots from my backyard and just outside town. Definitely not the best photos out there but they still show the majesticalness (honestly I don't even care if that is a proper word...) of the night. To be transparent, to the naked eye, it looked to be varying shades of white, pale green and green to me that night with a hint of purple. However, the camera can pick up pinks, red, and purple. 

This one formed and was gone then next second so this is the only pic I got.
What does it look like to you?

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Not so Lakeside School

In Central Alberta, near Blackfalds, you may have driven by an awkward looking building that looks like it was added on to several times. You have just found Lakeside Hall, one of the longest running school districts in the province. 

Starting it's life in 1895, before Alberta was even a province, Lakeside School #348 was opened. It was named Lakeside due to its proximity to Lake Nichol (now Blackfalds Lake). It was situated on a 2 acre piece of land that cost $10. As with many school houses, it became the community hub, hosting events and acting as a place for friends and neighbours to gather.

By 1931, the student population had shifted and the decision was made to move the school 1 mile east, or 1.6km if you prefer. During that summer, a crew of men and a 32-horse hitch team relocated the schoolhouse. 10 years later a larger schoolhouse was built, and the old school was converted to Lakeside Hall. The 'new' school served until 1955, when it was sold and moved to become a home nearby.

Over the years, renovations to the hall included, installing a furnace, enlarging and upgrading the floor space, adding power, a kitchen, a front entrance, building of a stage and dressing rooms, and re-siding and re-shingling. 

It appears to still be in use occasionally, and is a nice reminder of the history of the area.

Lakeside School being moved in 1931 - Lacombe & District Historical Society

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

House of Learning

What is it about a one-room schoolhouse? I can't pinpoint the start of my fascination with them. I didn't grow up in a rural area, neither did my mother. My dad did, but by the time he was in school he was bussed to the nearby town of Taber for school. My maternal grandparents though both came from rural southern Saskatchewan and have told stories of the one room schools they attended, life on the Canadian Prairies during the Great Depression, the Dirty 30's, and WW2. 

I supposed these relics of the pioneer days of Alberta and of days gone by will always hold a certain mystery. It almost feels not entirely real thinking about then and now. 

This is a favourite school of mine to visit, it is called Shooting Lake, however it is not the original Shooting Lake School building. The original school opened in 1907, and was closed in 1938. The building was condemned in 1941 and finally in 1949 the Manthano School building was moved to this site. The school finally closed in 1953 and became a community centre in 1955. 

Undated photo of Manthano School from Botha Memories.

Do you wonder the origins of some of these names? Sometimes the origins are easy, they can be traced to a place where the pioneers originated, or a prominent local person. Interestingly, Manthano is a Greek word meaning "House of Learning". 

The more you know, the more you realize you don't know.