Sunday, 12 April 2009

More Musings on a Museum Exhibit

Another instalment in my post on the early research I’m doing for an exhibit on the years 1906-1913 in Lethbridge and southern Alberta. As I find things (which may or may not show up in the final exhibit), I’m including some of them on the Blog. I would love to hear from you what you like, what you find interesting (or not) or if there’s some area of history that you think I should research more on for the exhibit.
These years, not surprisingly, were also a time of many firsts in Lethbridge. The Lethbridge Automobile Club was started in 1907. I haven’t yet found out how many people were in the 1st Club but since in 1906 it was reported that there were six automobiles in town and that three more gentlemen were interested in buying cars, I assume it started as a relatively small group! The City of Lethbridge wouldn’t purchase its 1st automobile until 1910.
Publicly funded kindergarten started in Lethbridge in 1907. The Manual Training School (later Bowman School) and kindergarten were advances in education that were introduced during this time but which were later stopped because of financial pressures. The artillery battery started in Lethbridge in 1908. When started it was the most western-most battery in the entire British Empire. In 1909 the High Level Bridge was completed. The first airplane to ever come to Lethbridge came in July 1911. The first (and only) execution in the City of Lethbridge occurred in 1911 and the provincial gaol was built that same year.
In 1912, the first natural gas pipeline in Alberta was laid from the Bow Island field to Lethbridge and then on to Calgary. You have to wonder when it went through if people knew that eventually it would help to bring an end to the coal industry in Lethbridge as natural gas became the preferred way of home heating? That same year (1912) the street car system in Lethbridge was inaugurated. The expense of the street car system certainly contributed to the financial problem the city found itself in from 1913 to 1928. The year 1912 was also the year that the Lethbridge Fire Department took over ambulance service from the Galt Hospital, making it the 1st combined Fire/Ambulance service in Canada.
Watch for another instalment in a few weeks ….

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