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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 13, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta 16 THE LtTHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, June 13, 7972- WHEN HARRY SUGGITT of Illinois sold a block of land some 10 miles cast of l-eth- bridge in 190-1, ho didn't give it a second thought that he was shaping the formation of a new settlement. Known today as Coaldalc and "Gem of the Suggitt's real estate transaction has prospered tliroughout the years. It was irrigation that did it. Scores of other southern Al- berta communities have pros- pered throughout these same years, attributing their success stories to water on the land from the big ditch. But, a majority of these other communities were founded be- cause of the development of some other resource. They tied In with irrigation when, and as it arrived. The Suggltt and Cokely fam- ilies arrived in Lcthbridge from their home in Illinois in 1901. After completing arrangements with the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company, the fam- ilies formed a company whose main purpose was to purchase and colonize acres of irri- gated land Immediately south of the present site of Coaklnle. They had little trouble in dis- posing of their holdings, and it wasn't long before the new town and service centre toeii shape. During the time that he op- erated his real estate and other business interests, Suggitt be- came well-known for his strong support of all community en- deavors, particularly those that Included support and hott er- ment for the town anil its sur- rounding district. First church Tie was behind the organiza- tion and building of the village's first church, a Methodist church, he helped organize the first school and tlie old Mitchell Nursery Company which sup- plied the first trees planted around the town. He was chief instigator of the consolidated school district idea first to ,be built in Coal- dale and as far as it is known, the first in Alberta. In the 1920s Hairy Suggilt decided to return to his home in Illinois, snd the new com- munity felt a great loss. As. far as can be ascertained, Harry Chinook of Wis consi n was the first settler, and made the first serious attempt at farming in the Coaldale dis- trict. Chinook didn't stay long. The late Henry Daine, mem- bers of whose family still re- side in this district, recalled trading an apartment block in Minneapolis, Minn., in a deal for the Chinook farmstead. Dauie took on the duties of secretary trcasurrer of the school in 1914 and remained on that job until ttie formation of the school division in 1937. Others who came north from the United States and then turn- ed west included such well- known local names as William Meyers, Alberta Owens, Pete La Valley and John Thorn. Irrigation Coaldale continued to full de- velopment under irrigation. To- day it serves as the centre of the west block of the St. TVfary "River Irrigation Project. The first effort at irrigating in the Coaldalc district was made In 1505 witti the Southern Alberta Irrigation Company with Suggitt acting as agent and realtor. As his undertakings grew, he took the late Dr. W. H. Fair- field into his organization to as- sist with colonization work. Dr. Fairfield became the first di- recEor if the Lethbridge Re- search Station shortly after the turn of the century. Af tc r com mun i ty develop- ment liad slatted, others like Jolin McD. Davidson, D. O. Pederscn, Hal and Ben Paw- son, John and Fred Calom, Bill Emde, Georgc Hughes, Sam and Tom Dunham, Dan Mac- Arthur, Sam Siddle, Jack and Arthur Stuart, Jerry Leffler, H. W. HoneyseU, the Knapps and others arrived. Incorporated On Jan. 1, 1920, Coaldalc was incorporated as a village, with David King as Reeve. In'1929, Calgary Power was granted a franchise to serve the village's electrical needs. This was fol- lowed by a natural gas fran- chise to Canadian Western Nat- ural Gas in 1947. Despite the fact the settlers felt there was ample room in Coaldale for expansion, there were few building lots left by the early 1950s. Population had reached a stage where Coal- dale could be incorporated as a town. This happened Jan. 1, 1953. Under the chairmanship of Mayor Russell Davis, the new council immediately undertook a major program of water and sewer installation. Official opening of the new works was Dec. 17, J952. Because of land conformation and some built-in barriers like the highway and the railroad, Coaldalc developed in several sections and somewhat haphaz- ardly. Consolidation had to be un- dertaken, and services extend- ed. While roads were paved, curbs and gutters built and ser- vices extended during the en- suing years, CoaJdalc's next mrjor development step took place only a few years ago with final approval being given to the town's general plan. As a member of the Oldman Iliver Regional Planning Com- mission, Coaldale now has a complete development plan for the next 20 years, which is sub- ject to review every five years. Cosmopolitan Coaldalc is another one of southern Alberta's major cos- mopolitan communities. A sur- vey taken a m ong school stu- dents in 1955 showed 22 races and nationalities represented. Perhaps the arrival of the Mennonites in tiie mid-13203 added move to the growth and social changes of Coaldale than that of anything else. Their history is linked closely with the growth and happenings in their church. The purchase by the Mennonites of the Lath- rop Farm in 1925 was followed by the arrival of the Ennes families in 1026. Often confused with Iho Hulterian sect, the Mennonites do not follow the communal pattern of life. Coaldale's Mennonite popula- tion grew rapidly, and by 192fl a new church was planned and cemetery established. Rev. J. B. Janz served as leader from 1923 to 10-13 and under his di- rection an annual flow from Russia to southern Alberta con- tinued for the Mennonites. In addition, the sect under- took responsibility for the com- imml Ly 's firs t resident doc t or and the first hospital. As one church structure was outgrown, it was ei the r rebui It or larged, or another church was erected. Today Today Coaldale, with a large portion of its population work- ing in Lethbridge, has tho fa- cilities and conveniences of. towns in the west. It's new pride and joy is its sportsplex, which is complete with winter and summer facili- ties and a swimming pool. The town hasn't taken an official nose count for some time, but iLs population is offi- cially estimated at It had 43 new home starts last year and its assessment for 1972 is Its operating expen- ditures for this year arc based on an 3-I-mill tax rate. On the agricultural front, the farmers of the Coaldale district are into row and specialty crops, grains and forage, An abundance of water has enabled a maj ori ty of the rm crs to beautify their farmsteads with shelter belts, flower and vege- table gardens. Grains and beef cattle produced in the district have won acclaim across the continent. The Coaldalc district, famous for its numerous dairy cattle herds, supplies the needs of the Coaldalc Cheese Factory run as a Mennonite co-operati VQ and one of the largest of its kind in the province. .Many na- tional brands of cheddar chceso are packaged at the factory, Tlie town is served by the Crowsncst Pass Line of the Canadian Pacific! Railway, and is edged by the east-west line of the southern trans-provincial highway. Next Chinook June 27 ;