Fire destroys Royal Hotel in 1907

A look back at Stettler’s history

By Carson Ellis

Stettler’s rapid growth was noted when the community was months old. Mixed trains from Lacombe were arriving three times a week with real estate agents, homesteaders, settlers and more.

Many of these people would step off the train looking for a place to stay. They looked while they conducted their business or as a resting point before carrying on with the rest of their journey, and in Stettler’s early days, on the north end of Main Street, across from the Canadian Pacific’s railway station, there was no shortage of places to stay.

In 1905, Wilson Pyper was quick to start construction on two hotels along Railway (51) Ave. The first one to be completed was the Alberta hotel and opened in the spring of 1906. Pyper’s larger hotel the Dominion, opened on the north-east corner of Main Street and Railway Ave. in August of that year.

Around that time, Pyper then sold his Alberta Hotel to a Charles Hanson. It was in the fall of 1906 that a Mr. R. Brown built the first Royal Hotel in Stettler.

Sadly, On Jan. 7, 1907, a fire believed to have started in the back storehouse of the three-storey Royal Hotel, quickly consumed the entire building. Passerby’s noticed smoke arising from the building and quickly raised the alarm. Residents of the town were noted to be attending an ice carnival that day and word quickly spread through the crowd about the growing blaze. Citizens, and visitors rushed to the end of Main Street, as the local fire brigade was also quick on the scene in hopes of preventing the fire from spreading to the two-storey Alberta hotel, which was nearly butted up against the larger structure.

However, as would be the case in several instances over the years, the cold temperatures hindered their efforts. The biggest of which being the town’s fire truck was left out in the cold and crews were struggling to get it running properly.

Efforts to use buckets of snow to contain the blaze proved futile. It didn’t take long for the blaze to spread to the second building, at which point the focus changed to preventing the blaze from spreading to nearby structures, which included the Dominion and a lumberyard.

Local M.P.P Mr. W. Puffer, as well as one or two others, were credited for running into the burning building and returning several times with valuable articles from the business. The fire raged throughout the evening, with several people carefully watching to ensure it didn’t spark up elsewhere.

Thankfully, the fire started at a time when most of the two hotels’ occupants weren’t in bed, or there could have been more serious results from the blaze. A play celebrating Stettler’s 60th Anniversary would depict events at the Alberta hotel the night of the blaze. Although there would never be another Alberta hotel, the second Royal Hotel sits on the block south-east of its predecessor.

Editor’s note: Carson Ellis is a member of the Stettler History Book Committee. He has lived in Stettler his entire life and has a keen interest in Stettler’s history.

Just Posted

UPDATE – Amber Alert cancelled, Emma O’Keeffe has been found

Six-year-old girl with autism believed abducted at a strip mall in Saskatchewan

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year: Clearview superintendent

Division looks for new ways to connect with families

U.S. congressman issues dire warning to Canada’s NAFTA team: time is running out

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to resume talks with the U.S.

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

WATCH: 2010 Olympic architect John Furlong inspires Red Deerians at Chamber event

Furlong suggests Red Deer should get involved with Calgary’s 2026 Olympic bid

Researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada

Information will be used to learn more about where white sharks move in Canadian waters

Mix-up of bodies leads to funeral home reforms in Nova Scotia

One woman was was mistakenly cremated, another was embalmed and presented to family members during a visitation that went horribly wrong

Stettler ‘champ’ celebrates War Amps 100th anniversary

Roan Heck, 9, returns from The War Amps 2018 Western Child Amputee Seminar in Winnipeg

Federal stats show slight increase in irregular migrant claims in August

113 extra people tried to cross the Canadian border last month

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

Most Read