Three-quarters of a Century of history in farming, family and community spirit was celebrated last Fri. Sept. 13.
Approximately over 150 people from across the county came to witness Kneehill County’s 75th anniversary at the Three Hills Curling Rink.
Thirty-seven individual maps from different time stamps were on display along the walls while resident images were framed as part of the top entries for a photo contest.
Tables from different communities such as the Three Hills Museum and Carbon Museum also featured local history with the use of photos and various tools used back in the day.
The photo contest winners, selected by administrators from 167 submissions, will see their work illustrate the county’s 2020 calendar.
In addition to extensive historical displays, the county used the event to unveil its new logo, as determined by a ratepayer-only vote.
Compared to its previous design, the thin black border along the county’s borders was removed and a blue to yellow gradient was added to enhance the modern take on the classic look.
“It represents the actual physical look of the county,” said Kneehill County Reeve Jerry Wittstock. “The other one was kind of scrunched in there. This one is a little closer to what the county actually looks like. I like the colours, I like the blue sky and green in it for the grass and crops. That’s what the people liked also. I’m happy that that is the one that was chosen.”
This logo will slowly be phased out starting with new signage that will replace the old ones that sit on the side of the main roadways into the county.
A hot lunch was provided as well as cute cupcakes featuring the new county logo.
Reeve Wittstock found the event to be a resounding success.
“I thought the program went very well and just the people that showed up that had conversations with council and staff. I think it was a great way to highlight what the county does for our residents. It was just a great celebration.”
He added, “It was nice to see the participation in the photo contest and it was nice to see the amount of voting that was done on the new logo. It was nice to just have everyone engaged.”
The anniversary held a high standard to showcase their accomplishments.
“It’s our 75th anniversary. You highlight your achievements and we’ve come a long way in 75 years from operating a $10,000 grader with lights and a cab to what we have now,” said Reeve Wittstock.
“I’m proud of the residents, I’m proud of the accomplishments of our county. We are a very prosperous community in Alberta. We are very innovative, very forward-thinking and it obviously shows,” he said.
Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu and Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper, as well as Reeve Wittstock, gave some empowering speeches to the interested crowd.
“I thought it went very smoothly. It was great to see representation from the provincial government there which is something we were sort of lacking in the last little bit,” said Reeve Wittstock.
In his comments, Minister Madu said Kneehill County, like many Alberta communities, has seen tough times but has always persevered.
“You have shown the spirit and strength it takes to be an Albertan,” he said.
MLA Cooper said he was proud to represent this area in the legislature and that it is important to pass on the virtues of hard work and dedication to the next generation.
Other guests included representatives from neighbouring towns and villages, former county staff and councillors, and rural community hall representatives.
Commemorative historic images were gifted to each rural school hall including Orkney, Ghostpine, Hesketh, Three Hills, Huxley, Swalwell, Wimborne and Torrington.
The municipal District of Kneehill #278 first became a reality on Jan. 1, 1944 when the provincial government ordered a dissolution of four smaller districts, combining them into one larger unit.
These four areas were: MD of Carbon, established 1912; MD of Norquay (in Acme), established 1918; MD of Ghost Pine (in Trochu), established 1912; MD of Stauffer, established 1918.
The following year in 1945, the district was renumbered #48.
Over the years, significant projects have highlighted milestone anniversaries.
In 1994, over 700 Township and Range Roads were erected on all county roads to recognize the 50th anniversary.
In 2004, signs were installed on major entrances into the municipality to commemorate the 60th anniversary.
For the 70th, council announced the new administration building and finally for the 75th, the unveiling of the county logo and replacement of the 60th-anniversary signs as announced.
As for interesting facts, the county was the first in Canada and one of the first in North America to adopt hail suppression measures because this area is located in one of the worst hail areas in the world.
In 1904, a quarter of land taxes was approximately $8.
Prior to World War I, it only cost $10 to buy 160 acres of land.
The county used to pay $85 for funeral services.
Throughout time, 63 schools were located within Kneehill.
Terri Huxley and David Nadeau