Stettler is a town rich in history, with a record dating back to the 19th century, but so far, unlike many other places in rural Alberta, the town does not have an official history book.
Stan Eichhorn, however, has made it his mission to change that.
Eichhorn started work on a Stettler history book one year ago, and is excited to see how the project has taken shape since then.
“We’ve been making slow but steady progress on the book,” Eichhorn said, adding that “we still need a lot of help people-wise.”
Eichhorn, who is also the President of the P&H Elevator Preservation Society, leads a group that meets once a month to talk history and work on the book project.
For Eichhorn, this history book is something that Stettler should have already produced a long time ago.
“When we look around the province of Alberta there are over 200 history books that have been produced on everything from hamlets to towns and so on,” Eichhorn commented. “So it’s just sad to me that Stettler has never got to the point where they’ve got going on a book. And some of these places are on their second edition already. So I felt that Stettler was really remiss in not proceeding with something like that.”
Carson Ellis is one of the people working on the book with Eichhorn among other volunteers.
“I’ve always been curious about the history of Stettler.” Ellis said. “I like looking at the old buildings and trying to think of what they used to look like, or the businesses that used to be in them. I often wonder how old some buildings are, and what used to stand there before.”
This interest in local history also spurred Ellis to start the Our Town Stettler website and Facebook page.
The idea started with a few pictures that Ellis put on his own Facebook page a few years ago.
“I got a good response from those pictures,” Ellis said, and from there, he became “motivated to run a page dedicated to the history of Stettler and area.”
The history book will include photos such as the ones Ellis shares online, but will also be focused on family histories and the histories of local businesses.
“Family histories will be one of the main functions of the book,” Eichhorn explained. “We would like people who are interested in having their family history included in the book to come forward.”
Stettler’s rich history dates back to the late 19th century, before the town was founded, according to Eichhorn.
“There was a settlement just east of Stettler that came into existence just a few years prior to the founding of the town, but then when the railroad came to Stettler and the town became a stop in the fall of 1905, Stettler became the major centre,” Eichhorn explained.
Agriculture was the major driver of the community in the early days, but when oil was discovered in 1949, the story of Stettler began to change.
Eichhorn and his group hope to include all of this history in the book, from the early days up until modern times.
“Our history would go from the beginning in the days of the Buffalo up until at least 1980 or 1990,” said Eichhorn.
Anyone looking to get involved can find more information on the Stettler History Book Facebook page or can call 403-740-4799.