For a historical – and ghostly – exploration of Stettler’s history, don’t forget to sign up for the Historic Ghost Walk set for July 25th starting off from across the street from the Stettler Hotel where the Carl Stettler monument is located.
Cost is $10 per person and the tour begins at 9 p.m.
Things are looking a bit different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in that the tour won’t start and end in the Stettler Hotel, said Crystal Friars, assistant library manager, who will also be leading the tour.
Normally, the tour wraps up with appetizers in the hotel’s basement, but because of social distancing issues, that won’t be taking place. Also because of that, the tour is now open to all ages, so that whole family can take part.
The walks are hosted by the Friends of the Library and folks are asked to pre-register as space is limited.
Tickets are available at the Stettler Public Library.
As to the Historic Ghost Walk itself, one of the key focuses are the murders of the Cook family, which took place in June of 1959. Robert Raymond Cook was convicted in the case, which saw the deaths of seven members of his own family. He was executed in 1960.
Friars has found out a few more details of the case, like some information about what was used in Cook’s appeal, different things he had said during the court case, and a few more observations of some of the witnesses who were called to testify.
Friars said that along with that, the tour stops at different areas where some of the community’s ‘darker’ historical chapters are explored.
But you do learn other little things about, for example, an old hospital that is no longer standing and a medical centre that is still standing but that isn’t used as a medical centre anymore.
“I have found a few new facts for the Cook case, and I’ve also found out about a couple of other cases as well. There was one that I had mentioned before, but there no dates or names. But I’ve found the names,” she explained of the specific case which happened in the mid-1960s. “It was about two gentlemen, and what I had mentioned before is that it was about them finding a body in a well near Botha on an abandoned farm.
“They caught the man when he had driven the victim’s car into Montana. I found the names for that one,” she said.
“I also found information about a case in 1911 called the Lennox case. One good thing about COVID is that there were a lot of databases that were opened up to libraries that normally we wouldn’t have had access to. One of those was the Calgary Herald archives,” she said, adding that this is where she found quite a bit of new information from.
The Lennox case involved a man who was shot through his home window north of town, and the perpetrator was never captured.
For Friars, who was born and raised in Stettler and has a passion for history in general, learning of these various incidents continues to be a truly compelling adventure.
Meanwhile, feedback from those who have gone on the tours is consistently positive.
“They have learned things about Stettler that they didn’t know had happened,” she explained. “Some of the feedback I’ve also received is that people have come to me with stories; they have led me to different cases.
“It’s really fascinating,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of fun just in tracking these things down.”
Call the Library at 403-742-2292 for more information.