Stan Eichhorn and Jack Schulze are encouraging local residents to share their stories and photos for a Stettler history book project they are working on. Mark Weber/Stettler Independent

Stettler history book project needs your help

Organizers are seeking local family stories, histories and photos

Organizers behind a Stettler history book are seeking the community’s help as the project continues to take shape.

“We got to talking, and somewhere along the line we got to reminiscing a little bit,” said Stan Eichhorn referring to friend and co-worker on the project Jack Schulze.

During the course of the chat, the men realized that there is no history book chronicling the town’s past.

“There are over 200 communities in the province that do have history books. So Jack and I said, we should do something!”

A few years later, they decided it was time to put the plan in serious motion.

“We decided to call a meeting and see what kind of interest we could get. We had maybe 12 to 15 people show up, and from there, we’ve held a monthly meeting ever since, and we’ve been trying to get people to submit stories, memories and all that kind of thing about local history in the town. But it’s been slow-going.”

Schulze agreed, noting that most people are enthusiastic about the project at first, but when it comes to receiving submissions, it’s been something of a challenge.

“We aren’t writing the book – we are just compiling it. We just want to put the stuff together,” added Eichhorn. “So that’s where we are – we are plugging along.” The group had a booth set up at the recent trade show to bolster awareness further.

“We did get quite a lot of interest.”

As to the purpose of the book, Schulze said that it’s important for future generations to have a record of their community’s history.

And the time certainly is now.

“The longer we wait, the less history we will be able to retrieve,” he said. “Ten years even makes such a difference.”

Over the past 30 years or so, compiling local history books has proven a popular project in many communities, particularly as citizens marked various milestones in their town or region’s story.

Some were released, for example, when certain communities celebrated 75- or 100-year anniversaries since being founded or officially incorporated.

“I think it helps people to know the past,” said Eichhorn. “Why did we do this and why did we do that at the time? I think things like that are important, and just to have a record as well – a record of what was here.

“When our parents and grandparents came here, it was bald prairie – and what they went through to live here and develop this area! Through their efforts this has all been built up. And to appreciate it, I think we should know something about the past and what it took to do this – the commitment.”

Organizers are looking for stories 750 words or less per family generation about families, businesses, and interesting anecdotes that may have happened while they lived in the region.

Hand-written submissions are welcome, and since they will be using Microsoft Word, any material coming in that format would also be very helpful.

Organizers can also scan most old photos, some negatives and some slides.

“We really need people who are willing to give us stories, memories, pictures – things like that. That’s what we really, really need. We just need the participation of more people.”

And it doesn’t have to be just material that goes back a long, long ways. “Even if they’ve only been here six months – they’ve probably got a little bit of history about Stettler. We need their stories.”

For more information about the Stettler History book project, call 403-742-2249. You can also check out www.stettlerhistory.ca or email stettlerhistorybook@gmail.com. Find them on Facebook at ‘Stettler History Book’.

Submissions can also be mailed to P.O. Box 1437, Stettler. The postal code is T0C 2L0.

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