Our Town Stettler

A view from the water tower

A view of early Stettler from a water tower, which is no longer standing. Contributed photo

By Carson Ellis

For the Independent

One day I hope to find a list of some sort of what was along Alberta Avenue and down McNabb (49) Street. Until then it’s just patchwork-assembly as usual.

This picture is credited as being taken from the water tower. The water tower was torn down before I was born, which is a shame. For starters, who doesn’t like a good water tower. Secondly, and undeniably, views of town like this are unbeatable and hard to replicate from any building currently standing. I mean. If you think about it dating this picture as the early 1900s, the camera must have been heavy and awkward. Also, it is a huge investment to risk taking up the water tower. It would be interesting to know how it was all done. Although with the way things are now, there’d be a lot of rules and regulations to ascending such a structure, so the camera would no longer be the awkward part, but the waivers might be a bit cumbersome.

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Looking towards the north, you see the row of prairie sentinels that are sadly vanishing from the countryside. The Canadian Pacific line through town had several from very early on. Like most companies, their names changed as the property itself changed hands. There were local organizations as well. I have a photo of the same row of elevators with one labelled Riggs and Whyte who were general merchants in Stettler for many years in the early days. Another local organization in the early days was the Stettler Farmers Elevator and Supply. In 1911 the Riggs and Whyte elevator reported a 25,000-bushel capacity, and the Stettler Farmers elevator reported 50,000-bushel capacity. Not bad numbers considering most other elevators in the area reported operating anywhere between 10-45,000-bushel capacity.

To the right of the elevators is a tall building that I believe was a flour mill. Someone once told me that when they were kids, they used to play in the remnants of the foundation of a flour mill in that part of town.

Coming back over to the north end of McNabb Street, there’s a small white building. If it’s the one I’m thinking, it was a two-storey structure that served as a boarding house for a time.

I’m uncertain about most of the remainder of the street, however, it looks like the second Royal Hotel is about in the center of the photo. Although I don’t have much on the present Royal Hotel, a section of the building is noted as being opened by Mr. R. Brown in about 1907-08. Coming down a bit more towards the bottom, and on the west side of the street, looks like a small lumberyard of some kind.

I enjoy the large lots with small structures in this photo. There are a few simple shops mixed with a couple of simple houses. My only regret is that there aren’t a few extra inches in this photo. It seems like it would be a great view of Carder Hall/Stettler Cigar factory.

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