Come Together Virtually
This Week in Medicine Hat History
Medicine Hat and it’s surrounding area is steeped in rich, cultural history. This Week In Medicine Hat History are merely glimpses into the past which began as posts on our social media channels. Learn more about Medicine Hat’s history and check back weekly for updates!
APRIL 21, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory April 21, 1921 – rainmaker Charles Hatfield arrives in Medicine Hat in an attempt to end years of drought.
0133.0012 & 0133.0013: ‘Hatfield the Rainmaker’ – preparing equipment, performing in Chappice Lake (1921).
0138.0001: Depression, Drought. View of soil erosion: soil drifted alongside Saskatchewan Highway #13 (ca. 1930).
APRIL 28, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory April 28, 1961 – the opening of the downtown Medicine Hat Post Office that used to stand where the Esplanade stands now.
0863.0019 – Colour postcard of the Post Office. [ca. 1967]
1093.0195 – opening of new Post Office. According to the Medicine Hat News, “E.W. Brunsden, MP, Postmaster Sam Goldie, Corp. William Constable, RCMP, and 150 onlookers were in attendance. Mayor Harry Veiner was in Calgary and couldn’t attend.” April 28, 1961.
FL01082: the ‘old’ post office, which was at 2nd Street and 6 Ave—which was demolished in 1961.
MAY 5, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory May 5, 1931 – Ripley’s Believe It Or Not features Medicine Hat’s gas lamps that are never turned out–with gas being so abundant, it was cheaper to let the lamps run 24 hours a day than to hire someone to turn them on and off.
0110.0126: Corner of 6th Avenue and Belfast Street in Medicine Hat, with street signs and gas lamp on the corner. Undated.
0600.0605: Take from back corner of Woolworth’s building looking east towards St. John’s Presbyterian Church. March 2, 1988.
0350.0081: Exterior of the Alberta Clay Products buildings, located on the corner of Steel and Clay Streets. [ca. 1913].
0837.00056: CPR Gardens postcard. [ca. 1915]
MAY 13, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory May 13, 1904 – the laying of the cornerstone for the Nurses’ Residence (part of the Medicine Hat General Hospital’s School of Nursing).
0183.0004: Nursing Class of 1901: Medicine Hat School of Nursing Graduating class of 1901, Top to bottom: Josephine Yates, Agnes Ridpath, Rose Krauss.
0180.0075: Medicine Hat General Hospital addition 1930, architectural plan showing features of the building. Architectural rendering.
1986.0117.0015: Collage of hospital site including Victoria Nurses’ Home, ca. 1910.
MAY 26, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory May 26, 1939 – King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit Medicine Hat.
0150.0010: Colour enhanced photograph of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI on a stop in Medicine Hat of their Canadian tour (1939).
0388.0009: Royal visit – Mrs. Ada Anderson presents a bouquet of roses to the Queen on platform in front of a large crowd of spectators, probably near the CPR station, Medicine Hat. Mayor H. Lang and King are identifiable on the platform (ca. 1939).
0525.0268: View of the celebrations in the railway yards, to honor the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Medicine Hat. An immense crowd of people are gathered around the stage built for the royal couple’s visit (1939).
JUNE 3, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory June 3, 1883 – Medicine Hat’s first congregational church service (Presbyterian) held in G.F. Tupper’s tent store.
(that is, a store in a tent–not a store selling tents!)
0017.0007 – Two men and a large group of students in front of St. John’s Presbyterian Church which was also used as the towns first school (1884).
0235.0003 – Medicine Hat from the west, June 14, 1883. Shows North West Mounted Police outpost and the shore of the South Saskatchewan with the town in the background (June 14, 1883).
JUNE 10, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory June 10, 1883 – the first CPR train arrives in Medicine Hat.
0024.0002: First Train Across South Saskatchewan River
View of a trestle bridge across the South Saskatchewan River, located in Medicine Hat, and the first train to cross it, taken from the south east. This was the first crossing of the South Saskatchewan River by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) on the original wood railway bridge. Cliffs of Crescent Heights in background.
JUNE 16, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory June 16, 1904 – Medicine Hat’s first deep gas well strikes gas at 1010 feet below the surface.
0290.0114 – Night time gas well flare; Medicine Hat’s gas reserves were so plentiful, it was not uncommon to ignite a gas flare for entertainment. Night view of gas flare and illuminated crowd. Location Unknown. [ca.1908].
0034.0079 – View of First Street taken from the railway bridge. Early gas well derrick in view. [before 1912].
JUNE 25, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory June 25, 1915 – a cyclone hits Redcliff, causing extensive damage to the town.
“The estimated total damage was valued at $150,000 and was considered to be the first real cyclone to visit the Province of Alberta.”
“The fact that there were no fatalities was miraculous. This was due to the cyclone’s timing. The streets were almost deserted, with men at home, businesses and factories closed for the day, (no 24 hour shifts in 1915). It was said however [that} if the destruction had been 10 minutes sooner deaths would be assured.”
“A couple of other southern Alberta areas affected by the storm were Grassy Lake, Calgary, High River and Okotoks.”
– Fred Hauck
Read Fred Hauck’s entire essay here: Redcliff Cyclone
0029.0009: Redcliff Tornado 1915: View of Redcliff after a cyclone.
0247.0018: Redcliff tornado 1915: Laurel Hotel, from a series of 22 images detailing the damage in Redcliff after the tornado in 1915.
0247.0019: Redcliff tornado 1915: Planing Mill looking east.
0247.0020: Redcliff tornado 1915: Rosen’s building – two people injured in this building.
0247.0021: Redcliff tornado 1915: Woodcock Residence
0247.0022: Redcliff tornado 1915: Bryant Residence.
0247.0023: Redcliff tornado 1915: Purity Hall which nearly got wrecked – Mr. Geo. Esmonde-White standing beside.
0247.0024: Redcliff tornado 1915: Telephone poles and wires damaged by Redcliff tornado.
0247.0025: Redcliff tornado 1915: Stapler home.
0247.0026: Redcliff tornado 1915: Spaulding Warehouse. This building was next to the Cigar Factory.
0247.0027: Redcliff tornado 1915: Knitting Factory
0247.0028: Redcliff tornado 1915: The Gibson residence.
0247.0029: Redcliff tornado 1915: Cigar Factory and Spauldings Warehouse
0247.0030: Redcliff tornado 1915: View showing the damage to a gas well derrick in Redcliff after the tornado.
0247.0031: Redcliff tornado 1915: Redcliff Planing Mills
0247.0032: Redcliff tornado 1915: View from top of Planing Mills
0247.0033: Redcliff tornado 1915: Interior of Planing Mills
0247.0034: “The Ornamental Iron Work Iron and Bronze, Fitting Shop”. Redcliff tornado 1915: Redcliff tornado 1915 wrecked the building.
0247.0035: Redcliff tornado 1915: The brick ruins of the Cigar Factory with a glimpse of Spaulding’s warehouse on the left.
0247.0036: Redcliff tornado 1915: Knitting factory – north view.
0247.0038: Redcliff tornado 1915: First floor of Planing Mills.
0247.0039: Redcliff tornado 1915: Knitting Factory – west view – Geo. Esmonde-White standing.
0247.0122: View of Alberta Cafe and Rooms plus the remains of the roof of Redcliff Club, following the 1915 tornado.
0318.0127: Ornamental Iron and Bronze Fitting Shop. The building with part of roof ripped off by Redcliff tornado.
0996.0010: Redcliff Planing Mill following 1915 tornado.
0996.0011: Redcliff Knitting Factory following 1915 Tornado.
JULY 8, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory July 8, 1908 – wreck of CPR passenger train #514 east of Medicine Hat, after two sightings of a “ghost train” on the same track. Read about the “Ghost Train” here 👉 http://hammersonpeters.com/?p=725
0022.0008: Shows the crowd of peopled gathered to view the wreckage of a head-on train wreck on the eastern outskirts of Medicine Hat
0108.0003: Train wreck of July 9, 1908 at Dunmore (1908).
0135.0072: Train wreck on Dunmore Hill, Engines #702 and #516 – shows derailed cars and damage to power lines – encapsulated (July 9, 1908).
0135.0072: Train wreck of July 9, 1908 at Dunmore (1908).
0135.0073: Train wreckage from Dunmore Hill accident loaded onto flatcars at the Medicine Hat shop (July 9, 1908),
JULY 22, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory July 22, 1943 – the murder of German prisoner August Plaszek in the Medicine Hat P.O.W. camp–possibly because his sympathies were suspect for serving with the French Foreign Legion prior to the Second World War.
0055.0915: German POW funeral procession. Funeral procession of a German Second World War prisoner at Prisoner of War (POW) Camp 132, Medicine Hat, Alberta with a pipe band, a Veterans Guard Escort, and a Canadian Forces
padre in front of the hearse..[ca. 1943].
0309.0010: Medicine Hat Prisoner of War (POW) camp barracks – entrance to the recreation hall where August Plaszek was hanged.
0525.0033: View of the Second World War Prisoner of War (POW) camp in Medicine Hat. Shows barbed wire fence that surrounded the camp (after 1945).
JULY 24, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory July 24, 1944 – the South Alberta Regiment arrives in France as part of the Canadian effort in fighting the Second World War.
0774.0001, 0774.0002, 0774.0003, 0774.0004, 0774.0005, 0774.0006, 0774.0006, & 0774.0008 – South Alberta Regiment Parade downtown on 3rd St. after the war (ca. 1946).
AUGUST 13, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory August 13, 1887 – the mounds that marked the river lots that Medicine Hat was originally surveyed for were obliterated.
0398.0001. Medicine Hat beginnings. View of Medicine Hat looking north from atop S.W. hill (ca.1887).
Duggan House, the first St John’s church, the CPR bridge and NWMP barracks in the distance over the river.
Also included: 2 of 38 pages from the surveyors maps of the river lots from the field report pages from the surveyors maps of the river lots from the field report. Click M87-10-1 to see all the images that depict land partitions and settlement in Township 13, Range 5, West of the 4th Meridian. Date: 1883.
AUGUST 21, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory August 21, 1886 – Sir John A. and Lady MacDonald pass through Medicine Hat on the CPR, eastbound.
0525-0070: Medicine Hat, ca. 1886
AUGUST 25, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory August 25, 1874 – the North-West Mounted Police arrive in the Cypress Hills.
Following the establishment of Fort MacLeod, the North-West Mounted Police returned to the Cypress Hills to establish Fort Walsh. Now a National Historic Site.
0134.0007: Fort Walsh 1878. NWMP bell tents in foreground, the Fort in the background.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory September 4, 1913 – The opening of the Medicine Hat Golf Club.
With the expertise of a Chicago golf expert, the question “Why not a Golf Club?” became a reality…Why not indeed?
It should be noted that the 1913 location of the golf club is not the same as the current Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club.
0525.0105: Medicine Hat Golf Club. Group of men and women gathered on steps and in front of the clubhouse, some holding clubs (Jan. 25, 1919).
FL00971: Medicine Hat News, May 9, 1912: A group of 4 images of golfers during a game
0577.0024: An unidentified man teeing off from the tee box of the
Medicine Hat Golf Club. View of the river cliffs in the background (1923),
SEPTEMBER 18, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory September 18, 1919 – the Medicine Hat Rotary Baseball team wins the provincial junior championship.
0067-0005 & 0067-0007: A baseball game at old Athletic Park (Riverside) from 1919, teams unidentified. The Rotary team would have also played here.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
#ThisWeekinMedicineHatHistory September 24, 1885 – the Coal Banks (now Lethbridge) to Dunmore rail line officially opened.
0072-0047: This image is of Dunmore Junction, the point from which the Lethbridge to Dunmore line connected to the CPR main line. Photo taken in 1890. This rail line was originally constructed as a narrow gauge track (3 feet wide) but was later converted to standard gauge.
OCTOBER 3, 2020
#ThisWeekinMedicineHatHistory October 3, 1919 – Edward, Prince of Wales visited Medicine Hat, and toured Medalta Potteries. **In transit he observed the blowing off of a gas well to which he exclaimed it was “the most wonderful sight I’ve seen.” (**from 2012 Archives exhibition on Royal visits).
0899.0043. See full article Monarchy Boards_Final 3
OCTOBER 7, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHat October 7, 1912 – an early morning explosion destroys the Redcliff Clay Products building, with no loss of life.
The Redcliff Clay Products plant was heavily damaged at about 2 AM, Monday October 7, 1912.
Although unconfirmed, the Redcliff Review speculated the explosion was caused by a stick of unexploded dynamite from the mining process being mixed in with the quarried clay. The dynamite exploded, destroying the brick press and heavily damaging the building.
According to the Redcliff Review, Ar00102, the plant was operational again after about 5 weeks.
Image 0154-0002-8 is of the plant the following year (1913).
OCTOBER 22, 2020
#TodayinMedicineHatHistory – October 22, 2005 the Esplanade opened its doors. Celebrating 15 years today!
NOVEMBER 7, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory Nov. 7, 1879 – Constable Marmaduke Graburn of the North West Mounted Police at Fort Walsh is killed, becoming the first Mountie to be murdered while on duty.
0053.0036 is a photograph of the cemetery at Fort Walsh, where Constable Marmaduke Graburn is buried.
0053.0037 is the original memorial cairn that marked the spot of Constable Graburn’s murder, erected by locals at a spot now known as Graburn Gap. Graburn Gap is east of Reesor Lake, crossing the Cypress Hills towards Fort Walsh.
Both photos were taken in 1936.
There is also now a more modern cairn located on Graburn Road (Range Road 110) near the intersection with Battle Creek Road.
NOVEMBER 20, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory November 20, 1892 – Arthur Moran Cochrane (aged 15) and Harold Walton, 10, were caught in a blizzard and perished. For many years, their graves in the pioneer cemetery (Old Hillside Cemetery, above Kin Coulee) was marked by an iron bedframe.
0053.0018: Old Hillside Cemetery, Seven Persons Creek Gravesite of Morley Cochrane, age 15, Harold Walton, age 10; two Medicine Hat boys who died tragically in a blizzard on
November 20, 1892. The unique gravesite, marked by an iron bedframe, was a prominent feature of the Old Hillside cemetery in Kin Coulee (ca. 1936).
NOVEMBER 30, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory Nov. 30, 1916 – the first draft of the 175th “Medicine Hat” Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force arrives in France.
0085.0043.06: Camp site of 175th Battalion, First World War, showing stone sign depicting battalion emblem (ca. 1916).
0247.0012: 175 Regt. Signal Corps., 175th Regiment (First World War), C.E.F. of Medicine Hat (Lt. Nicholson in photo taken in front of old Cavalry building, Medicine Hat). (ca. 1915).
0738.0002: A postcard image showing 7 soldiers standing next to several army tents. Postcard reads: Sarcee Camp. Calgary, 1916. 175th Battalion Lines. (Grant). Reverse of photo image has brief addressed note to Miss N. Wilson, Empress. (1916) First World War.
DECEMBER 9, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory December 9, 1910 – poet and author Rudyard Kipling writes his support for keeping “Medicine Hat” as the name of the city, when a vote was being prepared on whether to change the name.
In 1910 Medicine Hat, like much of western Canada, was booming. As cities across the prairies were competing for lucrative investment in new industry, every community was looking for an advantage. Some ‘newcomers’ argued that Medicine Hat’s unique name was a liability while the old-timers (those who at that point had been resident’s of the Hat since the 1880s) railed against removing a name that made this community stand out on the map.
Calling in the big guns, their spokesperson, Mr. Francis F. Fatt, wrote to Mr. Rudyard Kipling (author of The Jungle Book, and likely one of the biggest celebrities of the day) to get his support. Mr. Kipling, who had visited Medicine Hat in 1907, wrote a strongly worded letter in response, defending the name Medicine Hat.
The original letters, M82-02-04-4, M82-02-04-5, M82-02-04-6, M82-02-04-7, held as a beacon of Medicine Hat’s enduring uniqueness, have been lost to time, but fortunately were reprinted in the Medicine Hat News in 1910, and numerous times since.
0525.0190: Portrait of Francis F. Fatt.
DECEMBER 18, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory December 18, 1946 – 5 German prisoners convicted of murdering Karl Lehmann in the Medicine Hat POW camp are executed by hanging in Lethbridge. It is the second-largest mass hanging in Canadian history, after 8 hung following the Riel Resistance.
On December 18, 1946 four German Prisoners of War were hanged in Lethbridge after being found guilty of the murders of fellow POWs August Plazek and Karl Lehmann. The murders were committed in the summer and fall of 1943 at Camp #132 in Medicine Hat.
Although Canadian guards ensured all prisoners stayed behind barbed wire, POW camps were internally run by the prisoners. Dedicated Nazis within the camp accused the two murdered men of expressing anti-German sentiment and the two victims were killed in separate incidents.
The accompanying photos are from a series of images taken by the RCMP while investigating the murders, and submitted to the Canadian court that sentenced the four murderers to be hanged.
A fifth man, a Canadian, was also hanged at the same time. He was convicted of a completely unrelated crime.
0589.0028 – where August Plazek’s remains were strung up by the murderers.
0589.0030 – The lecture hall that Karl Lehmann was lured to then killed.
JANUARY 8, 2021
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory January 8, 1964 – the Medicine Hat New Democratic Party office made the decision to ask the party’s Alberta convention to adopt a resolution advocating the teaching of the constructed international auxiliary language Esperanto in public schools.
Esperanto was a constructed (made-up) language developed with the intention of being a universal, easy to learn, second language. It never has caught on.
JANUARY 11, 2020
#ThisWeekInMedicineHatHistory January 15, 1947 – Medicine Hat’s barbers raise the price of a shave from 25 cents to 30 cents; the price of a haircut remains unchanged at 50 cents. From the 1920s to the 1960s, Al Cook’s Barbershop, located at 301 North Railway Street, was a Medicine Hat Institution.
0055.0943: (detail), view of Al’s Barbershop ca. 1953.
0226.0005:The interior of the Assiniboia Hotel Barbershop in the basement of the old hotel. Three chairs were available. A customer is sitting in the centre one, with two barbers standing behind him (undated) [ca. 1910]. This location was at 645 3 St. SE.
0231.0001 – Al’s Barbershop, 1924. Al Cook standing out front.