Clive Hotel turning 100-years-old in June

Written by Terri Huxley

Clive Hotel owners Dale and Susan Bright.
ECA Review/S.Salkeld

The Clive Hotel will officially be turning 100-years-old in June, making it one of the oldest buildings in the community.

Although its official ‘birthday’ isn’t confirmed, many believe it to be built after the fire circa 1921 replacing the “Big Store”.

It first served as a Royal Bank before transforming into a hotel by Carl Sutton by 1937.

A male-only beer parlour was added and today you can still see where the addition was added on by looking at the building exterior.

This space had a dirt floor to begin with.

Succeeding owners were Morgan Henderson, Charlie McAdams and Joe Torick.

In 1948, Ali Omar of Rimbey purchased the hotel, completing it with a coffee shop in the front and their residence upstairs.

In 1970, a teacher, Mr. Penkala purchased the hotel and introduced music.

Owners Pete Norris and Don Gillette lived here, adding washrooms, a garage, and hard liquor to their license being the last village in Alberta to receive this privilege.

The beer parlour was solely open to men up until 1978 which made the Clive Hotel the last in Alberta to change and welcome women.

In 1993, Fred Hucul purchased the hotel and added a grill, video lottery machines and an off-sales liquor store.

The hotel was sold to Dale and Susan Bright in 2003 and has been in their possession ever since.

From this point, the couple has added a patio and balcony just in time for the village’s 100th anniversary in 2019.

Currently, the hotel has seven rooms and two bathrooms for overnight stays.

There is also fresh-made pizza for pick up, delivery and normally dine-in services as the parlour is now renovated to reflect a 1950s style diner with black and white tiles, decorations and red booths for that retro feel.

“It’s kind of surreal to think that building is that old,” said Susan. “It’s a proud moment.”

“I believe that there is a reason we weren’t selling it up until this point,” said Dale. “I’m proud of the fact that it is still a very functional and very usable facility altogether. 

“We are trying to stay true to the building in most of our endeavours.”

“We are very pleased to be there and be able to provide services for the community and the fact our community supports us quite well,” said Susan.

The Clive Hotel in the 1950s era based on vehicles parked
out front in image. ECA Review/Submitted

Like many old hotels that dot the countryside, the Clive Hotel has had its fair share of ghost stories over the years.

The Brights shared that many guests have had experiences with some spirits being seen including four known ghosts that still linger inside.

“We had a guy staying upstairs and he woke up in the middle of the night. There was somebody leaning over him so he got into his truck, went to Lacombe, got his pack of smokes and then slept in his truck outside for the rest of the night,” described Susan.

“Personally, I don’t believe Susan or I have had an actual encounter but we have had some incidents occur that seemed rather strange,” added Dale.

In 2013, The Paranormal Alberta team visited the hotel in an effort to capture activity using technology.

“We can conclude there is definite paranormal activity. Who or what is causing this remains to be seen,” stated the team on a video from Youtube in 2013 after their investigation was completed.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.