NOTICE: These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or presentation by any other organization or persons. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material, must obtain the written consent of the contributor, or the legal representative of the submitter, and contact the listed Alberta Digital archivist with proof of this consent. The submitter has given permission to the Alberta Digital Archives to store the file permanently for free access.|
COUNTY OF CAMROSE No. 22 - Excerpts taken from the
"Story of Rural Municipal Government in Alberta 1909 to1983"
by the Association of the Municipal Districts and Counties
Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Darlene Homme
Although it is impossible and perhaps unfortunate that all events that have occurred and that
all conditions that existed at various times since the turn of the century have not and cannot
be recorded to preserve this aspect of our heritage, the following is an attempt to capture some
of the highlights of the historical development of local government in the area now encompassed,
for the most part by the County of Camrose No. 22.
The County of Camrose No. 22 was formed January 1st, 1963 and retained boundary lines as
established by the co-terminous boundary commission on January 1st, 1955 for the Municipal
District of Camrose No. 63.
At the present time this area includes nearly all of what was at one time the Municipal District
of Evergreen No. 427 (located in the general area of Edberg), Lloyd George No. 457 (located in
the general area of Duhamel-New Norway), Melrose No. 426 (located in the general area of
Kelsey-Rosalind), and Parkland No. 456 (located in the general area of Bawlf), and portions of the
Municipal Districts of Corn Hills No 487 (located in the general area of Hay Lakes-Kingman), Haig
No. 396 (located in the general area of Donalda-Meeting Creek), and Lakeside No. 397 (located in
the general area of Bashaw).
Within this area now is the City of Camrose, the town of Bashaw and the villages of Bittern Lake,
Bawlf, Edberg, Ferintosh, Hay Lakes, and New Norway, as well as the hamlets of Armena, Braim
Subdivision, Dorenlee, Duharnel, Kelsey, Kingman, Meeting Creek, Ohaton, and Round Hill.
Municipal District of Evergreen No. 427
Unfortunately, the very early records of the Municipal District of Evergreen are unavailable but it is to
be noted that seats on the 1926 council were held by the following: Mr. Robert (Bob) Campbell, Mr.
B. Dingman, Mr. Matt Schiele, Mr. Jack Johnston, and Mr. Gordon Wilson.
In 1942 the office of this municipal district was located in the village of Edberg, and was administered
by the following personnel: Secretary-treasurer. Mr. Win. Brady, whose annual salary was $1,600.00;
Reeve, Mr. Robert Campbell, and councillors J.C. Bruce, J.W. Pearson, M. Schiele, Enoch Stromberg,
and E.E. White.
Mr. F.P. Layton of Camrose acted as auditor, for which he received a payment of $100. Public works
expenditures in 1942 amounted to $18,449.46.
Evidence dated 1943 Indicates that the following rates of pay were the order of the day: Councillors-
$5.00 per meeting plus mileage allowance of 10 cents per mile; Committee Members-$4.00 per day
plus 10 cents per mile; Weed Inspectors- 50 cents per hour plus 10 cents per mile; Labour was paid
for as follows: Man and team-SO cents per hour; Man only-40 cents per hour; Grader men and Foremen
-40 cents per hour; Tractor operator-70 cents per hour. The 1943 budget amounted to $41,434.98.
What seems like a very sensible procedure was used apparently during the meetings of this Municipal
District, in that 15 minute adjourments or 'cooling off" periods were held when discussions became too
heated. Interest in local government ran high even to the point at one stage where, of three nominees,
two were brothers, of which one was subsequently elected.
The Municipal District of Lloyd George No. 467
This Local Improvement District No. 457 had, in 1911, a council that consisted of: Mr. C.B. Wiesser,
Reeve; F. Chambers, C. Kinsman, N. Linden, R. McLeod and O.A. Olson. The secretary-treasurer at that
time was Mr. E. Coleridge Roper.
Money was scarce in those days and many ratepayers took advantage of their privilege to "work off" most
of their taxes doing road work. Initially two-horse teams drawing slips were used for road construction,
later "big" outfits involving 'fresnos' drawn by four horses were introduced.
In 1917 this region was renamed the Lloyd George Local Improvement District No. 457 and soon after its
name was changed to the Lloyd George Municipal District No. 457. Councillors were paid $2.00 per day
and the Secretary-treasurer received $50 per month.
In 1917 this council was involved in a novel and unique method of obtaining funds to assist in maintenance
of the roads in their area. Mr. George P. Smith, local M.L.A. at that time, convinced the town of Camrose
that since the town and its residents benefitted when the surrounding roads were well kept, a financial
contribution could reasonably be expected from the town of Camrose that would assist to develop and
maintain an area road system of high standard.
This financial assistance is reflected in the following list of revenues budgetted that year for road maintenance:
Council of the town of Camrose-$600.OO
Town of Camrose businessmen-$1 200.00
Province of Alberta-$500.00
Motor Club-Unstated amount.
These monies were spent on roads within a 15 mile radius of the town of Camrose. No roads were gravelled
in those days.
Compared to that of 1911, four changes in the make-up of the council had occurred by 1921 when, in addition
to Mr. C. B. Wiesser as Reeve, and Mr. O.A. Olson, the following people served: E, Gillespie, N. Monson,
0. Rosendahl, and A.F. Smeltzer. E. Coleridge Roper continued as secretary-treasurer.
Two incidents that have been recalled were somewhat humorous. In the first, a persistent contractor three
times presented a bill for road work in the amount of $175 before he was convinced that, because of damage
done to culverts, council would not pay any more than $100, the amount of the final settlement.
In a second incident which took place in the Duhamel area, when the road boss objected to what he though
was an excessive number of rest periods taken by his men (apparently the number taken was considerable)
an argument ensued followed by an enthusiastic display of fisticuffs, much to the enjoyment of all concerned.
Municipal District of Melrose No. 426
The first meeting of Local Improvement District No. 426 (later renamed Melrose Local Improvement District
No. 426, and thence Municipal District of Melrose), was held February 1st, 1913. Councillors were: W.
Vanidour, Chairman; J. H. Braim, Chas. Goebel, A. V. Pickett, and A. T. Schneider. Their secretary-treasurer
was A. Laman who received an annual salary of $375, while the Councillors were paid $3.00 per day spent
on municipal business; taxes were 5 cents per acre ($8.00 per quarter section).
By 1917 taxes had risen to 7'/2 cents per acre ($12.00 per quarter section), of which $10.00 could be
(and often was) paid off via road work, but $2.00 had to be a cash payment.
Council consented, 1919, to allow the C.N.R. to change the name of the village of Campbellton to Ankerton.
It is noteworthy that in the same year the Melrose Council passed a by-law suppressing (but apparently not
prohibiting) gambling and gambling houses; farobanks, roulette tables, and any other gambling devices found
were seized and destroyed.
Records show that a herd law was introduced in 1920, followed closely by the calling of tenders for a new office
to be located in Rosalind, to be built 12' x 18' of frame construction, on skids, with an 8 foot ceiling.
Mr. J. Mayor, reeve; Geo. Bowie, D.C. Gillespie, J. M. Henderson, H. Henkel, and A. Weller, formed the council
in 1925, with W.S. Wiseman acting as secretary-treasurer. At that time council was able to purchase right-of-way
for $10.00 per acre, men were paid 30 cents per hour, while a team would draw 20 cents per hour.
The mill rate was struck at 10 mills, and the municipal revenue amounted to $36,404.40.
Six years later, in 1931, the mill rate had remained constant at 10 mills but the budget had risen to $39,780.00.
However, by 1933, times had worsened and at the annual meeting a motion was passed requesting that the
salaries of all councillors and other municipal officials be cut.
The minutes of the August, 1933 meeting contain the unusual motion that Dr. be instructed to remove the
tonsils of the children providing their parents are agreeable.
A councillor was given permission in 1936 to purchase a road maintainer for $286 to be paid in four installments.
In these depression days, relief in the amount of from $3.00 to $10.00 per month was common, farmers were
issued many bushels of seed grain, payment for some of which never was received, and some of which was
sold at grain elevators with the returns used to purchase groceries and other basic necessities of life. It was
rumored that some of the seed grain was even "traded" for liquid refreshments! Municipal District of Parkland
The earliest information available on this region describes circumstances as they existed about 1925. In an
office rented in the village of Bawlf, at the rate of $7.00 per meeting, council held their regular meetings;
ratepayers' meetings and some of the special meetings were held either at the farm home of Mrs. Edwin
Anderson or at the Oak Park School. Day-to-day activities were carried out from the farm home of the
Secretary-treasurer, Mr. Alex Brown, located northeast of the village of Bawlf.
The 1925 council consisted of: S. Lomness, Reeve; T.0. Courtney, George Law, George Mosby, Fred
Scheidegger and Henry Vann.
The budget of that year was set at $40,343.58 which included a government grant of $1,000. The balance
was composed of arrears of taxes yet to be collected plus a levy of 5 mills. A $6,000 public works expenditure
was possible with this budget and from this amount labor was paid at $3.00 per man per day,as was a payment
of $2.00 per day for each two-horse team. Councillors, as a group, were allowed to use a total of $950 that
year for meetings, supervision and mileage; the secretary-treasurer's annual salary was set at $1400.00.
Fourteen years later, by 1939, it was necessary to operate the office in the village of Bawlf full time to handle
added responsibilities; however, the annual meetings and special meetings were still held out in the country.
The budget was set at $42,800.28 and it is surprising to note that in the span of 14 years from 1925 to 1939
the budget increased by a modest $2500, while the mill rate doubled. A public works expenditure of $18,000
was budgetted for in 1939, this amount was three times that permitted in 1925. Perhaps this situation can be
partly explained by the fact that, in 1939, although relief payments were still thought of as an item of considerable
size since they amounted to money paid out for relief then was only about one-quarter of what had been paid in
Mr. Alex Brown continued as secretary-treasurer at an annual salary of $1800, up $400 from the 1925 days.
Council in 1939 consisted of: Gust Olson, reeve; C.E. Carlson, M. Makarowski, H.N. Nelson, N. Pasnak and
L. Scaber. These men were paid $5.00 per day plus 10 cents per mile to cover travelling expense.
Once, during the early '30's one of the employees operating a four-horse road maintainer submitted a statement
of time to council which was seriously questioned by one of its members. To furnish proof, the employee requested
that the skeptical councillor accompany him to his home where he could view the exact number of hours as they
were marked on the kitchen calendar. Much to the employee's anger and embarrassment it was discovered that
after the month in question had passed, his wife had torn off and burned the required sheet. Because of lack of
evidence, apparently a compromise settlement was reached.
A most unexpected turn of events occurred at one annual meeting held at sometime during the early 1930's. When
nominations were called for by the Chairman, one set of nomination papers handed in bore the necessary signatures
except where the candidates signature should properly have appeared, one of his nominees had accidentally signed
and when this signature was pointed out, the chairman refused to make any alterations. The result was that, against
his wishes, the nominee had to remain as an unwilling candidate and he was duly elected.
Major discussions arose at annual meetings, particularly over the councillor's remuneration and the monies paid out
for relief. At that time council administered Old Age Pension, and payments thereunder ranged from $10.00 to $20.00
per month and relief payments were authorized at from $5.00 to $20.00 per month. Ratepayers perhaps did not realize
the intense scrutiny council gave each application for relief and for Old Age Pension. Minutes record several instances
of when a recorded vote was called for on these issues.
Mechanized road building began to appear. For a contract price of $300.00 per mile, Mr. H. P. Curtiss, better
known as "Snoose Curtiss" elevated 18 miles of road using a 60 Caterpillar, an R.D. 7 Caterpillar, and a
Municipal District of Cornhill No. 487
Records of this region are very sketchy due in part probably to its transfer from one jurisdiction to another
on more than one occasion. In any event, the name of Mr. Jacob Boness appears as a councillor prior to
1937, as do the names of a Mr. McMullen and an Oliver Letourneau, who apparently served successively
as secretary-treasurer. The 1937 council consisted of: Chas Holmgren, Reeve; Albin Anderson, Einer
Broen, Frank Hartzman, Chas Morden, and Guy Walker. John Letourneau served at this time as secretary-
treasurer and later held the same position with the Municipal District of Beaver.
Apparently in 1938-39 this region was transferred to a jurisdiction to the north and later in 1944-45, along
with several other municipal districts, it was included as part of an amalgamation that formed the enlarged
Municipal District of Beaver. This region was then again transferred to the Municipal District of Camrose in 1955.
Municipal District of Haig No. 396
The administrative office of this municipal district was in 1938 located at Donalda, with W.E. Porter serving
as secretary-treasurer at an annual salary of $1,~74.20. Each councillor received $5.00 for each meeting
attended and $4.00 for each day spent in supervision. Total revenue for the year was estimated to be
$27,623.67, derived in part from a levy of 7 mills. Each of the 6 councillors was allowed about $1,000 a year
for public works projects. The council of 1938 was composed of: J.A. Baird, Reeve; H.A. Ford, W.R. Leisinger,
O.E. Olson, R. Rasmussen and A.J. Vikse.
The first attempt at road work was l[kely done with an axe and shovel, as was probably true for most other
pioneer areas in the locality. Trees were felled and smaller holes filled with a shovel. The homesteaders
soon found that fences were necessary to keep animals in pastures and out of crops. With fences came
the need to construct roads on the government allowances made for them.
The first piece of machinery used was a 'slip' pulled by two horses. It had a handle on each side and held
200 to 300 pounds of dirt-a far cry from the earthmovers of today which carry many tons in each load and
are pulled by a crawler tractor.
The first road crews were composed of homesteaders and farmers who were working out their land taxes.
A road boss was appointed by the councillor of the Local Improvement District (later Municipality). Furrows
were plowed with a walking plow and the loosened earth was scooped up with the slips. Later two-wheeled
scrapers called "the old wheelers" were used. This machine had a long handle in the middle, and was pulled
by two horses with an extra team, called a "snatch team" hooked in front to help load it.
Municipal District of Lakeside No. 397
Records of this region are apparently almost completely unavailable, It has been assumed that the office was
located in the town of Bashaw, where Mr. L. Wilson served as secretary-treasurer. No further data with respect
to this area was able to be located.
Villages of the area - Existing at the times described in this material and within the general area referred to herein
were several villages. Rather exemplary of all of them was the village of Ohaton which was incorporated as such
on March 31, 1914. and which reverted to the hamlet status as of January 1st, 1946. It operated on a total budget
in 1914 of $300. and the secretary-treasurer was paid the grand sum of $50 per year.
At about this time, a resolution was passed that the village pay for the hauling away of rubbish and refuse put up
in convenient "heaps" within the boundaries of the village. For good reason, no doubt, this resolution was amended
the next year and the words "not including manure" were inserted after the words "rubbish and refuse".
More Recent Developments
The enlarged municipal district of Camrose No. 427 was formed as of January 1st, 1944 and the first regular meeting
was held on March 10th, 1944. First council members, now seven in number, were: R.J. Bowes, Reeve; G.W.
Bowie, J. Brown, A.J. Vikse, P.A. Link, J.W. Pearson and Enoch Stromberg. Mr. W.S. Wiseman served as the
first secretary-treasurer. Several of the people who served at the time of introduction of the enlarged municipal district
had previously served in some capacity with the previous smaller municipal districts.
The total budget in 1944 for municipal and hospital purposes was $292,438. raised in part by a levy of 11 mills.
Road work labourers were paid 50 cents per hour.
In 1945 the district had its number changed from 427 to 63, which was retained until its dissolution which came
on January 1st, 1963 with the formation of the County of Camrose No. 22, at which time the Camrose School
Division No. 20 also ceased to exist. The dual form of local government that had existed and functioned in the
area almost since the turn of the century gave way at that time to the County system, featuring a single
government agency providing both municipal and educational service.
The following Councillors in 1963 operated on a budget of $1,600,000, with Mr. R. J. Magneson serving as
secretary-treasurer: D.M. Braim, Albert Olson, Walter J. Schultz R.R. Young, J.C. Bruce, R.F. Roose and
During the following twenty years, councils were composed of the following members:
1964-66 A.J. Vikse, J.C. Bruce, A. Olson (Reeve), R. Roose, R. Young, WJ.
Schultz, A.M. Hutchinson, R.J. Magneson (County Manager)
1967 A.J. Vikse, J.C. Bruce, A. Olson (Reeve), R Belter, R. Roose, A.M.
Hutchinson, 0. Mallas, R.J. Magneson (County Manager)
1968-69 A.J. Vikse, J.C. Bruce, A. Olson, R Belter, A.M. Hutchinson, 0.
Mallas, C.G. Pepper, R.J. Magneson (County Manager)
Jan. 1970 A.J. Vikse, J.C. Bruce, A. Olson, WJ. Schultz, A.M. Hutchinson,
to 0. Mallas, C.G. Pepper, R.J. Magneson (County Manager)
Oct. 1971 A.M. Hutchinson, 0. Mallas, C.G. Pepper, J.W Murphy, S. Heath-
to er, N. Berglund, V. Grundberg, R.J. Magneson (County Manager)
Oct. 1973 WJ. Schultz, A.M. Hutchinson, 0. Mallas, C.G. Pepper, J.W Mur-
to phy, N. Berglund,V. Grundberg, R.J. Magneson (County Manager)
Oct. 1974 N. Berglund, V. Grundberg, A. Adams, S. Gregorwich, V. McNeight,
to J. Trautman, R. Berkholtz, R.J. Magneson (County Manager to
Oct. 1976 1975), WR. Gartner (Secretary-Treasurer)
Oct. 1976 V. Grundberg, A. Adams, I. Miller, S. Gregorwich, V. McNeight, J.
to Trautman, R. Berkholtz, WR. Gartner (Secretary-Treasurer)
Oct. 1977 A. Adams, S. Gregorwich, V. McNeight, J. Trautman, L. Coykendall,
to W Banack, D. Vikse, WR. Gartner (Secretary-Treasurer)
Oct. 1980 A. Adams, V. McNeight, L. Coykendall, W Banack, D. Vikse, T.
to Thirsk, C. Bjornson, WR. Gartner (Secretary-Treasurer)
During this 20-year period, the operating budget of the municipality increased from $1,600,000 to close to
$9,000,000 in the year 1982.
One of the more significant events that occurred during this 20-year period was the record amount of
snowfall during the fall of 1973 and early 1974 when over one hundred inches of snowfall were recorded
by the County of Camrose and neighbouring counties. The stormyweathercontinued almost without
interruption forcing all available county and private equipment, which was capable of moving snow, to be
pressed into service in order to maintain a minimal form of transportation and communication in the rural
areas. At times, the roads "blew in" right behind the snowplows making the effort almost useless.
In about the middle of April, 1974, the weather did an about turn and a sudden warming trend was experienced
which caused the heavy snowcover to melt rapidly, and within approximately one week, severe flooding was
being experienced. Many roads were washed out, road grades were under water and many landlocked lakes
overflowed their banks. Dried Meat Lake rose by approximately 15 feet during the spring run off period, and
the situation was considered by the provincial government to be serious enough to qualify for disaster services
The situations encountered by council during this period of snow, flood and subsequent road repair, were a
factor in council's decision to purchase in 1974 a TS 14 Motor Scraper equipped with a V-Plow. Other equipment
purchases followed, and now the county owns five TS 14's with two equipped with V-Plows for snow removal.
These plows have rarely been used for this purpose since 1974.
In 1974, the council also moved towards operating its public works department on a county-basis rather than
on a divisional basis and set the public works department up with a public works superintendent being hired to
oversee the department. This segment of the County's operation has now evolved to include the operation of
one road construction crew, of a county-owned fleet of gravel trucks, and of acceptance of the concept of
operating on a county-wide basis rather than on a divisional basis.
During the year 1975, the County of Camrose and the City of Camrose, by agreement, embarked on a regional
recreation program. In 1981 the agreement was expanded to include the villages within the county. This program
was the subject of a lot of debate during the years 1975-1982 with the final step being termination of the
agreement as of December 31, 1982. county council is, at the time of writing, exploring other avenues whereby
recreational services can be delivered to its ratepayers.
In 1978, the County of Camrose, in co-operation with the villages of Edberg, New Norway, and Ferintosh,
established a regional landfill site near Ferintosh. This venture has worked out extremely well for the municipalities
involved, and its operation has been the subject of a lot of favorable comments.
On the evening of July 28, 1972, a tornado struck in the Ohaton-Bawlf area causing severe damages to many
buildings. The home of Don Sheets was completely demolished, and Mrs. Sheets later died from injuries sustained
during the storm. Also, the Allan Gordeyko barn was lifted and moved from its foundations. Some livestock in the
area were reported killed by flying lumber.
In August 1964, the county seed cleaning plant which had been constructed in the previous year caught fire
during the night, and completely burned to the ground. Fortunately the building was adequately insured and
was able to be reconstructed with the insurance proceeds.
In relation to educational matters, some significant matters dealt with by the board of education of the county
1) Closure of the Armena and Ferintosh Schools as well as the Round Hill High School as of June 30, 1975,
due to financial problems anticipated by the board of education, and the subsequent defeat of a plebiscite requesting
additional funds from the taxpayers.
2) Alteration as of September 1, 1982, of the operation of the Kingman School and of the Meeting Creek
School so that each of these schools offered instruction for only Grades ito 6 and, as of September 1, 1982, Grade 10
was re-established at the Round Hill School.
As of September 1, 1982, a new 6 room addition at the Hay Lakes School was brought into use. This added a
music room, a business education room, a new and larger library, and 3 classrooms as well as an administration
area and a staff lounge both of which are larger and modernized.
Underway during later 1982 and early 1983 is a substantial modernization of the "middle" portion (1951 Section)
of the Bawlf School; and the addition of some gym storage area and the provision of an expanded administration
area and staff work area. Essentially, the number of rooms will not be altered by this undertaking, but the areas
involved will be brought up to present-day standards in terms of the heating, electrical and plumbing systems,
the insulation, the wall and floor finishes, the roof and the doors and windows.