Linda M. Steinke
The Pipestone Flyer
It's been 100 years since the first Calgary Stampede.It's been 100 years since the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.100 years ago, the Amherst Automobile Company of Calgary opens, and closes.It's also been 100 years since the good people of Telfordville, Alberta built their very own community hall–the heart of the hamlet. And to celebrate, over 300 guests—some from as far away as Mexico—attended Telfordville Community Centre’s 100-year anniversary celebration on June 30, 2012.
Violinist Austin Taylor played “Oh Canada.” Marlene Bablitz served as Master of Ceremonies and Chaired the Anniversary Organization Committee. Speeches and presentations were made by Telfordville Community Centre President Dean Gitzel; MP for Wetaskiwin Blaine Calkins; MLA for Drayton Valley-Devon, the Honourable Diana McQueen; and Leduc County Division 7 Councillor Audrey Kelto; and former Telfordville resident Ursula (Breton) Van Heel.
Canada was, officially, only 45 years old when Telfordville Hall was built in 1912. It has taken many volunteers to not only build the hall, but to keep it going. Small communities are knit together through their community halls—where life events, both happy and sad, bring them together under one roof. Many of the speeches reflected this aspect of the community hall.
After cake, guests enjoyed outside entertainment—19th Century children’s games and a vintage vehicle display. Refreshments such as root beer floats and pie were available, as was free lemonade. Large tents with chairs and tables were available for people to sit and chat. After the complimentary supper, Jerry Huck entertained all with several old country songs in quick-change costume, sharing the historical growth of Telfordville with music and comedy.
The evening ended with a family dance featuring local folk musicians Ernest and Eileen Snider, Sidekick, and Jerry Huck.
Hamlet of Telfordville History
Sometime before 1901, Jim VanAlstyne was was building roads and was instructed by his boss, Robert Taylor Telford of Leduc, to trace a line from Leduc through to Weed and Strawberry Creeks.
The line—which passed through heavy timber patches and muskegs, "sixteen sloughs and five bridges"—was called Blind Line and is now known as Highway 39 to 622 west.
In 1902, the Strawberry Creek area was surveyed.As a government land guide, Jim VanAlstyne brought prospective new families into the Weed Creek and Strawberry Creek areas to homestead. The first post office opened in 1904 and was named Telfordville in honor of R. T. Telford (Telford Lake in Leduc is also named for this prominent businessman). By 1908, there were 38 settlers (not including their families) on the register.
Community Hall History
Fred VanAlstyne donated the land for the hall which was built in 1912. The hall first started out as the Church of England Hall of the St. John’s Mission. The community, as well as the Anglican Church, used the hall as well.
In 1923, the hall was enlarged by the Miencke brothers and by 1931, through the Incorporation of the Friendly Society’s Act of Alberta, the name Telfordville Community Hall became official.
The hall was dismantled and rebuilt into a larger structure in 1954 to encompass a dance floor. The kitchen, beverage room, cloak room and entryway were added in 1960.
Congratulations to the people of Telfordville on this noteworthy milestone and to the tireless volunteers who help keep Telfordville Community Hall at the heart of their community.