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A slice of 1930’s Sylvan Lake heaven

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Hey local history buffs, the above video is a great snapshot of a place and time, in this case, 1930’s Sylvan Lake, AB.  

Lake Cottages have always prompted whimsical names. Sylvan Lake is no different.  This story showcases some great photos from the 1930’s and also includes a Directory from the 1960’s. Names like “Seldom Inn” and “Turkey Teepee” stand out. 

Below is a photo of the Webster cabin, known as the LA-ZE-LOT.  George Webster (second generation) with grand-daughters Kari-Lynn Shiells and Susan Marie Shiells.

the LAZ-E-LOT

“Robin Nest” home on 41st Street and 50th Avenue

The above photo shows the “Robin Nest” home on 41st Street and 50th Avenue in the early 1930s. The people are unnamed except as “Grandma and Ed”.  Ed was the maker of the wooden figurines in the picture.

Two very interesting accessions have come to us out of the blue from two very interesting contributors. The first one came through registered mail from a lady by the name of Gertrude Lambert in Edmonton whose father, Mr. Elliott, had been a teacher at the Olds Agricultural College and, later, Vermilion College. They built a cabin at Sylvan Lake about 1921 where the whole family spent the next 18 or 19 summers (until 1939).  She and her daughter had been down to hunt up their old cabin which is still standing and while they were in town, picked up the current Sylvan Lake News with a write-up about our then new Archives. So, without so much as a phone call, she sent a collection of beautiful old photos and an accompanying registered letter. She was later down for a visit and brought additional pictures. Another interesting side of this story is that we also have met the present owner of the same cabin whose father, Dr. Charles from Calgary, purchased the cabin from the Elliott family and they have been coming here every summer since 1943. We also have pictures from this family.

Here’s what we do know.  The Elliott family built their cabin at Sylvan Lake about 1921 and came every summer until 1939 when WWII broke out.  William taught at Olds, later Vermilion Agricultural Cottage;  children Gertrude (Edna) and Bill, Jr.

 

From left to right: Mrs. (Edna) Elliott; Dr. Jack Elliott (guest); Mr. William Elliott; Jack Elliott (guest); and Bill Elliott. In front is 5-year old Gertrude.

Elliott Family Cabin (Grey Glen), circa 1930

Above is a picture of the Elliott family and their guests gathered on the porch of their Sylvan Lake cottage (circa 1930). From left to right: Mrs. (Edna) Elliott; Dr. Jack Elliott (guest); Mr. William Elliott; Jack Elliott (guest); and Bill Elliott. In front is 5-year old Gertrude. On the back is written: Originally Grey Glen / address 13 Street, 2nd road from (corner) road from Red Deer which went along the waterfront. Built approximately 1920-24 by my father W.J. Elliott and son William S. Elliott  (Site:  33rd Street East)

Davey family, next door to the Grey Glen, Elliott’s Cottage at 13th Street in Sylvan Lake

Above, the Davey Cottage, circa 1930’s

This is the cottage belonging to the Davey family, next door to the Grey Glen, Elliott’s Cottage at 13th Street in Sylvan Lake, circa 1920-38. An older woman and two children are standing by a screened-in porch and a man is sitting and reading a newspaper inside.

Davey Family, circa 1930s

 Above, the Davey Family, circa 1930s

The Davey Family owned the cottage next door to the Elliott’s cottage at 13th Street in Sylvan Lake, circa 1920-38.

Jean Phillips, Gertrude’s Elliott’s friend

 Above, Washing Clothes, circa 1930s

Jean Phillips, Gertrude’s friend from Edmonton, bringing in the washing at Grey Glen Cottage.

William Elliott sawing wood

Above, Sawing Wood in May, 1941

William Elliott sawing wood with a buck saw at Buck Saw

 

Polishing Shoes

Above, Jean Phillips, Gertrude Elliott’s friend from Edmonton, polishing her shoes on the deck of Grey Glen, Elliott’s Cottage.

The Elliotts at Grey Glen

 

Edna & William Elliott [1930]

Mr. and Mrs. William Elliott are standing by their cottage, Grey Glen.

 

Gertrude Elliott, Grade 12

 Above, Gertrude Elliott (Edna), 1938

This is a picture of Gertrude Elliott taken in 1938 when she was a Grade Twelve student (later, Edna Lambert – donor of these pictures). Her full name was Edna Gertrude Elliott.

Taken at Grey Glen Cottage

Former Elliott Cottage in 1996

Above, The (Former) Elliott Cottage in 1996

In March of 1996, Mrs. Lambert’s daughter drove her mother to Sylvan Lake to see if they could find the old cottage on 13th Street built by Mrs. Lambert’s parents, the William Elliotts. They were successful, despite the fact that the name of the street had been changed to 34th Street. Mrs. Lambert, in her letter which accompanied the pictures stated that it appeared “in excellent condition, well cared for and very familiar”.  It had been renamed Sherwood Lodge (formerly, Grey Glen) This picture was taken by Mrs. Lambert and her daughter that day and sent to the Archives with the historical pictures.

William Elliott

Above, Mr. William Elliott Sawing Wood with a Buck Saw – May, 1941

Bill Elliott

Bill Elliott at Grey Glen Cottage [1938]

The name Grey Glen is on the fence as well as the roof of the cottage.

Life Guards

Above, Sylvan Lake Life Guards, circa 1937-38

Gertrude and Bill Elliott worked as life guards on Sylvan Lake for two summers just before the outbreak of World War II, then the family sold the cottage, Grey Glen. 

Jean Phillips 

Jean Phillips – Chore Girl, circa 1930s

Jean Phillips was a friend of Gertrude Elliott’s who was visiting at Grey Glen Cottage. She is holding a water pail in her left hand, a bottle in her right hand, and has a blanket or towel over her right arm.

Below you’ll find a directory from the 1960’s.  Collectively they form a portrait of a much simpler time.

For other Todayville stories from the Sylvan Lake Archives, CLICK HERE.

If you have a unique and interesting stories you would like to see on todayville, you can do one of two things.  Either register for free (except for business) or send us an email with details to [email protected]  Learn more about the Sylvan Lake Archives.

 

Alberta

History of Red Deer’s Second Courthouse

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It has been witness to a great many events and stories in the 90 years it has stood on the corner of Ross Street and 49th Avenue in Red Deer.

The Gaetz Company building as seen in 1912. It was the courthouse for the region from 1916-1931. It is the current site of Mason Martin Homes. Canada’s first female juror served in this courthouse in 1922.  Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives photo.

As the solidly constructed anchor for both provincial and the Court of Queens Bench for 52 years, this sturdy structure has also been a sanctuary for artists, the setting for movie productions and most recently home to numerous professional offices. It also was the backdrop for the last murder trial in Alberta which saw the defendant sentenced and hanged under capital punishment in the province.

Construction of the new courthouse well underway. City of Red Deer Archives photo P2610

This readily recognizable icon celebrated the anniversary of its official opening earlier this month and is showing no signs of retiring any time soon.

View of the Lyndall Limestone columns in the Palladian Style entrance. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

This was the second courthouse for the steadily expanding central Alberta city. The earlier one had opened in 1916 after having been converted from a coverall factory. Talk about being adaptive and creative!

Construction of the “new” courthouse was significant for many reasons. The Great Depression was in full swing so this project provided a much-needed injection of both money and jobs into the community along with a sense of pride that such a fine building would bring to the region.

Brick exterior with Lyndall Limestone detailing. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This would be the last courthouse built in the province until the 1950s, the final version  of a series of Alberta courthouses built in the classical revival style. Both Wetaskiwin and Medicine Hat received similar structures during this era.

Testament to the quality of the design and materials used in construction of the building is the fact that it remains steadfast after more than 8 decades of use.

Constructed using hot riveted steel beams, brick and mortar, then graced with pillars shaped from the legendary Lyndall Limestone from Manitoba, this grand historical resource will stand for a great many more years to come.

Original 1912 era boiler. Converted from coal to natural gas.
Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

In the spirit of the type of practicality and resourcefulness often seen during the depression, heating for the building would be provided by a boiler built in 1912 and  repurposed from a ship!

It was converted from coal burning to natural gas in 1949 and has since been replaced by modern, efficient boilers yet it still remains in the building as evidence of a different era.

Every building of a certain vintage usually carries a story or two about otherworldly spirits or energies. Why not the old Courthouse? It was thought that the ghost of Robert Raymond Cook inhabited the building.

On one particular evening, the caretaker for the courthouse was heading into the boiler room to grab some tools. When he flicked on the lights, they popped briefly and went dark. Despite this, the caretaker walked alongside the boiler in the direction of his tools when suddenly he was slapped in the face by an unexpected soft force! Was it the apparition of the hanged murderer?

When he had regained his composure a time later, the caretaker investigated the boiler room once more to discover the source of the slap in the dark. A frightened pigeon had flown up in his face when startled in the boiler room!

Judge bench in the original courtroom. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This magnificent building was the home of the judicial branch of the province for the Red Deer region from 1931 to 1983 when its replacement was constructed just down Ross Street to the east.

A law office has made good use of the original architecture. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

The courthouse was the venue for a great many legal tales over the years but probably none more famous than the 1959 murder trial for 21 year old Robert Raymond Cook of Stettler, AB who was accused of murdering all 7 members of his family in a most violent manner.

RCMP mugshot of Robert Raymond Cook, 1959. Photo used with permission by Legal Archives Society of Alberta.

His trial began on November 30th, 1959 and Cook was found guilty and sentenced to hang for his crimes. His defense appealed the conviction and a second trial was held in Edmonton but his conviction was upheld on June 20th, 1960.

On November 14, 1960, Robert Raymond Cook was hanged. His death sentence was the last ever carried out in the province of Alberta.

the actual witness bench where Robert Raymond Cook would have sat Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

Numerous books were written about this trial as the murders captivated and horrified the population who followed the course of the investigation and trials.

Even a dramatic play was created, called “The End of the Rope”, reenacting this historic trial which was developed and was even staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago.

exterior of the courthouse while it was home to the Community Arts Centre in the 1980s. Photo courtesy Red Deer Archives.

In 1983, the  building was sold to the city of Red Deer for a dollar and turned into the Old Courthouse Community Arts Centre. The grand structure housed painters and potters among numerous artistic pursuits for 18 years

An artist displaying his works during a Christmas arts fair in the courthouse, 1987. Photos courtesy City of Red Deer Archives.

The old courthouse has seen real life dramas and reenactments of legal dramas including being the location for filming  scenes from the TV Movie, “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd in 1994.

Even a dramatic one-man play was created by Aaron Coates called “The End of the Rope” in 2003, re-enacting this historic trial. It was developed and staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago. Cook’s lawyer, David MacNaughton even answered questions from the crowd after the performance.

Promotional ad for the TV movie “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd. Photo from IMDB

The old courthouse made its most recent transformation in 2001 when it was purchased by Jim Dixon and Dick McDonell.

Interior details.
Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

The new owners invested close to a quarter of a million dollars in upgrading the building including installation of new boilers, restored doors, energy efficient windows and new flooring  throughout. 1930s era lighting was sourced to replace fluorescent fixtures, giving the rejuvenated structure a proper historical feel.

Today this 90-year-old icon of downtown Red Deer proudly carries on as the home to numerous professional organizations from lawyers to architects and with its new owners and numerous upgrades, this beautiful structure should be proudly welcoming people to downtown for a great many more years to come.

Red Deer’s old courthouse sits as the centrepiece of Red Deer’s historic downtown and is celebrating its 90th birthday. Come spend some time downtown. Visit the city’s unique Ghost Collection, many of which are within a few blocks of the Old Courthouse.  For more information on leasing opportunities in this beautiful building, please email Davin Kemshead or phone 403-318-6479.  

 

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Central Alberta

Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

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Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

The Evaluation Assistant will be part of the Evaluation Team at the Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN) working under the direct supervision of the Evaluator. The main responsibilities include data collection, data entry, as well as supporting both analysis and reporting for a broad spectrum of RDPCN programs and services. The successful candidate should be competent at working both independently and in a team environment; accurately managing data, and contributing to high quality reports and other deliverables.

Key Strengths of Candidates;

  • Bachelor degree in social sciences or health-related area
  • Experience in applied research or evaluation, quantitative and/or qualitative (minimum 2
  • years preferred)
  • Excellent command of Microsoft Excel, Word, Power Point and Outlook
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail orientated and organized
  • Able to work flexible hours with some evenings
  • and/or weekends.
  • This position is part-time casual, with varying hours

Act now. APPLY

Submit your curriculum vitae to [email protected] (with “Evaluation Assistant” in the subject line), or by fax to 403.342.9502. A full job description can be found at https://rdpcn.pcnpmo.ca/Careers.

Closing date: April 19, 2021 or until a successful candidate is found. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

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