The residents of Stettler and area may soon get a chance to tell their story as a group is spearheading a history book project.
The group presented to Stettler town council at their regular meeting Feb. 2.
Stan Eichhorn and Jack Schultz described themselves as Stettler history book volunteers and gave councillors an update on where the project stands.
Eichhorn stated that about 200 communities in Alberta have history books, while Stettler remains one of the few that don’t.
He said volunteers got together a few years ago to begin writing a book and have now collected 766 files for the book with volunteers collecting more all the time.
Eichhorn went on to say the history book would cover the Town of Stettler and the surrounding area, including Buffalo Lake, Big Valley, Content Bridge area and Tail Creek.
He explained the Stettler group doesn’t want to compete with any community that already has its own history book, including Botha and Red Willow.
He noted the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some problems, as volunteers would like to visit archives at the Glenbow Museum, but are unable to at this time, along with the difficulty in recruiting volunteers.
While volunteers have had great success at collecting family histories, they’ve been less so at collecting the histories of the regional business community and would welcome help from anyone who can provide information and possibly some photos.
He noted that the book would likely be split into two volumes of about 700 pages each and sold together as a set for under $150.
Eichhorn commented the history book committee is not a registered charity and is operating on a break-even basis.
Funding so far has been covered by donations and the work of volunteers while the P&H Elevator Preservation Society in Stettler has helped out quite a bit.
Schultz added he feels Stettler deserves to join the ranks of other Alberta communities which have history books.
Coun. Malcolm Fischer agreed, saying a Stettler-area history book was “Long, long, long overdue.”
Coun. Wayne Smith expressed he was surprised to learn Stettler didn’t have a history book.
He asked if, once published, the history book would be available digitally.
Eichhorn responded that a digital version has been talked about but likely wouldn’t be available until the physical volumes were sold which would guarantee all costs had been recovered.
Coun. Scott Pfeiffer asked how the volumes would be organized.
Eichhorn replied since there was so much family history, the first volume would likely be exclusively that, while the second volume would also include business and other histories such as sports teams and churches.
Coun. Cheryl Barros asked if the committee has begun fundraising.
Eichhorn answered not yet, but plans are in the works.
He also mentioned matching provincial grants that may be available.
Coun. Gord Lawlor and Mayor Sean Nolls stated they were impressed with the work already completed by such a small group of volunteers.
“That’s a big task,” said Nolls.
Nolls also stated any funding request would be forwarded to upcoming budget deliberations.
Councillors unanimously accepted the history book presentation as information.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter