Carbon plans centennial celebration | DrumhellerMail
Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2024 12pm

Carbon plans centennial celebration

    The Village of Carbon has something to celebrate next year as it cements its place in Alberta history, celebrating its centennial.
    The village nestled in the valley has survived while many communities have fallen by the wayside.
    The spirit that started the community has helped it endure.
    Originally a centre for a post office when the land was being settled by ranchers, the community boomed when they found the black rocks in the banks of the creek held some value.
    Before the community was incorporated as a village in 1912, there was already significant activity. A post office was established in 1904 along with a store. It was about the same time the coal in the valley was being used in trade. The first to set up a small coalmine was the Eucharist Grenier family in 1894. Not long after an experienced miner from England, Tom Hunt, opened a commercial mine. In 1904 the Kneehill Coal Company was established.
    The community grew quickly. By 1906 a school, hotel, a grocer, blacksmith and even a police detachment were established. By 1909 a formal request to incorporate as a village was made to the provincial government. It was turned down as at the time there were only 16 dwelling and there need to be 25 houses in place.
    By 1912, there were 35 dwelling and the board of trade proceeded with the petition of incorporation. They were successful, and so was the village.
    The village enjoyed prosperity during the 1920’s.  Agriculture was hit hard as prices plummeted in the 1930’s. Demand for coal remained, however the prices fluctuated. This was just one of the many challenges that Carbon has faced as the community built its resolve.
    The community soldiered on and in 1948 a community group that today is still a driver in Carbon was formed. This was the Lions Club.
    Following the pattern of many communities, as the demand for coal waned as oil and gas began to be developed, Carbon too saw a shift in industry.
    Today oil and gas still plays a great role in the community as does agriculture.
    Donna Hay, co-chair of the Centennial Planning Committee said the community has a lot to be proud of.
    “We have a really strong volunteer base,” said Hay. “The Lions Club is strong  and is supportive, as is the Ag Society and the Recreation Board, and it is also not all the same people on the boards.”
    She said the village is already planning its centennial celebrations. They have selected August 9-12 for the party.
    “Our theme is ‘Return to Remember,’” said Hay.
    She said while many have moved away from the valley, the family roots are still strong and connected. There maybe a few “save the date” notices in Christmas cards this year.
    The four-day celebration will include a homecoming,  and many chances to reminisce. There is also an entertainment slate being planned, which will include local talent.  They are also busy compiling local history.
    They have been able to secure some funding for the celebration.
    The committee expects it to  be quite a party. When the village celebrated its 85th anniversary, Hay said there were about 1,200 people.
    “We’re gearing for good numbers,” she said.
    To leave a lasting mark on this achievement they are planning to build a Lions Centennial Park. Look for details in future editions of The Drumheller Mail.

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