Halkirk history update keeps Home Fires burning

Halkirk keeps on making history — and preserving it.

Halkirk’s history book committee includes (from left) Rose Koenraadt

Halkirk’s history book committee includes (from left) Rose Koenraadt

Halkirk keeps on making history — and preserving it.

Just 25 years after the Halkirk Home Fires history book was released, the second volume was unveiled during the centennial celebrations last weekend.

“We started this two years ago with the plan to have it ready for the centennial,” said Judy de Mos, who chairs the committee.

“It features families and other history of Halkirk over the past 25 years.”

With 176 pages, to accompany the first book of 700 pages published in 1984, the second volume features chapters on schools, the elevator, businesses, Halkirk Senior Centre, Halkirk Curling Rink, Halkirk Honoured Royal Ladies, Hicks 4-H Club, Cadets and the County of Paintearth.

Dozens of stories and photos reflect the recent history published in the new volume.

The Village of Halkirk was incorporated in February 2012 as Bruce Laing, Albert Derr and Henry Higgins were elected to the first council, with W. L. Foltons as secretary-treasurer for $50 a year.

Notably, the current mayor, Dale Kent, mentioned that he lives in the house that Higgins built more than 100 years ago.

Years before the village was incorporated, many families settled in the area that became a delivery point when the railway arrived in 1909.

A special mural outlined the history of the village, which included the population over the decades: 135 in 1914, 150 in 1925, 145 in 1935, 148 in 1956, 192 in 1965, 136 in 1975, 160 in 1985, 150 in 1995, 117 in 2005 and 121 in 2011.

Halkirk was also the fifth-smallest municipality in Alberta in 2005.

“The population of Halkirk has been steady over the decades, although we lost businesses like a hardware store, grocery stores and livery stables,” said de Mos, who arrived in the area in 1977.

Volunteers keep the community spirit going and farm families in the surrounding area have also added to life in Halkirk.

“It has changed a lot,” said Duke, a resident for more than 60 years, and postmistress for the past 30 years.

“We still have a post office, a school and hotel. Once you lose a school, you start to lose your community.”

With more community organizations and events like weekly dances, Halkirk Elks Lodge is the only club in town. The group annually stages the Halkirk Bullarama, which attracts more than 1,000 people for the one-day event in August.

The village has many families with deep roots, and Halkirk is known as a welcoming community.

“You have much more community involvement in a small town and a more neighbourly spirit,” said John de Mos, who moved from big cities of Calgary and Ottawa.

“”People went out of their way to make us comfortable. It was the right move for us to go from a larger city to a small rural area like Halkirk.”

New editions of the history book are $40 each and available from de Mos at 403-884-2286 or other committee members.