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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 16, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Margaret Luckhurst People of the south Helping a city grow has many rewards Saturday, StfHtmbfr 16, 1972 THl LETHtRIDCI HERALD S The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MONEY to popular op- Inion, I don't know every- thing there is to know about Ixilhbridge, but you'll be cor- rect in saying that we've both grown old together graceful- ly, I Tliis was the opinion ex- pressed awhile ago by Mrs. W. J. Armstrong, one of our city's leading senior citizens whose roots, she claims, "go back too far for publication." Sirs. Armstrong has indeed a lifelong relationship with this southern community which started out as a coal mining and railway town, and has de- veloped over the years to a booming, major city. "My father, Robert O'Hagan, was born in Picton, Ont., of good Irish Mrs. Arm- strong explained. "I guess ho was filled with Irish adventur- ous spirit for he came west first in 1885 when there really wasn't much in the west at all in the way of civilization. He was a railway man, and be- came an engineer on the North- west Coal and Navigation Com- pany, later the A. R. and I. which had a line running into the United. States. It was one of the ways they moved the coal back in those days." Later young Robert O'Hagan returned east to jmarry his be- trothed, and it was in Belle- ville, Ont., in 1887 that Flor- ence (always known as Flos) was bora. The luie of the vest ran deep in Robert O'Hagan's blood how- ever, so he returned to Leth- bridge in 1889 and built a home for his little family. "It was an adequate little house on Ford St., now 2nd Avenue, near where the 9ih St. bridge Mrs. Armstrong said. "This was more or less the heart of the town, where all the action was, you might say. I attended Cen- tral School, graduating in 1903 with a certificate from the De- partment of Education, N.W.T." The certificate is in excellent condition and might have been issued last month instead of nearly 70 years ago. A standard V diploma (the grading system hadn't become popular at that time) and in twauliful script de- clares that "Flos O'Hagan has completed the necessary re- quirements for the Standard V Diploma as prescribed by the regulations of the Department of Education, Regina, August 1, 1903, and it's sigced by F. W. G. Haultain, an early premier of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. When Flos was growing up, life in Lethbridge was synony- mous with most small prairie towns. "There were no commu- nity clubs to organize activities for kids so we made up our own fun. We fished in the irri- gation ditches which ran along the sides of the street, using biscuit tins with holes punched in them to make a sort of she reminisced. "Everybody had a horse of coure, which we tinned loose in the fall. It al- ways showed up in the spring however, generally in the vicin- ity of the McA'doo and Van Home ranch. Sports on the square were immensely popu- lar loo. What did they play then? Well, there was more la- crosse than you see now, and of course Lethbridge had a dandy baseball team and took on all the surrounding (owns each summer." There were chores to be done around the house of course, and the three O'Hagan daughters were trained 'in the now old- fashioned art of "good house- keeping." "We had to take turns scrub- bing out the wretched water bar- rel it was done with a broom you see, and had to he dona three times a week. Did you ever hear of such a thing? well, that was just one of my chores! I often wonder how my mother and other women man- aged then. Children in those