A view of Main Street Stettler from the old water tower circa the 1950s, one of many photos showcasing the rich history of the region of the long in-development history book. (Photo submitted)

A view of Main Street Stettler from the old water tower circa the 1950s, one of many photos showcasing the rich history of the region of the long in-development history book. (Photo submitted)

Stettler History Book making progress again after pandemic related slowdown

Eicchorn: ‘It’s certainly going to take more time, but we’re coming along.’

A Stettler project long in the works is slowly moving forward again.

Like nearly everything else in the world over the last two years, the Stettler History Book project was significantly impacted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to a loss of the majority of the group’s volunteers.

“During COVID, we only had one, two, or three people,” said Stan Eichhorn, one of the volunteers working on the project.

“It’s certainly going to take more time, but we’re coming along.”

Around 25 per cent of the project’s more than 1,200 files are complete and ready for initial review prior to publication, but much work remains to be done.

“The number of people helping have been increasing in the last month or six weeks,” said Eichhorn. “But we are short of operating funds.”

To date, the committee working on the project has received a few memorial donations and a $5,000 grant from the County of Stettler, however other funding avenues, such as a provincial government grant the group was hoping to get, have not worked out.

Total costs for the project are estimated to be around $300,000, including the purchase of the books from the publisher.

Once the books are ready for print, the committee will have to pay half the cost up front, and then the remainder will be due before the books are released for pick up.

The history book is anticipated to be printed in two-volume sets, each around 700 pages. Costs for the volumes are not yet known and will depend on the number of book sets ordered.

According to Joy Wood, the History Book Committee treasurer, the more books that are ordered, the less the price per volume will be.

Up to this point in the book development volunteers have been covering the costs, supplying their own computers, paper, and other office supplies.

“The volunteers have put in thousands and thousands of hours,” said Wood.

“Lots of the volunteers have been footing the costs themselves, so there hasn’t been a lot of cost aside from the people doing it.”

The History Book does have one employee, who works three-to-four days a week helping to format and finalize files. No further employee hiring is anticipated at this time by the committee.

Having already approached the Town of Stettler for funding earlier in the year, the group will be returning as a delegation to town council in December.

Previously, the town had committed to matching any funds received from the provincial government grant, if the group was successful in receiving it, however, with the grant denied Eichhorn and Wood are now unsure of what support the town may offer.

“There is a big need for funding down the road, and looking after our one employee right now,” said Eicchorn.

Donations can be dropped off at the P and H elevator on Saturdays, by making alternate arrangements, or by mailing cheques to Box 1437, Stettler, Alberta, T0C 2L0.

The Stettler History Book Committee is also equipped to take e-transfers, which can be emailed to historybookstettler@gmail.com.

With the work yet to be done, and funds yet to be raised, the committee is hoping to have the Stettler History Book sets ready for publication ready for the fall of 2022.

While the group is getting close to finalizing the content of the book, they are still accepting submissions, particularly historical colour photos of the community.

Materials can be dropped off at the elevator on Saturdays, or on other days by calling the Stettler History Book committee volunteers at 403-740-4799 and making arrangements.

Once the books are closer to being ready for publication, they will be available for pre-order.

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