It’s fascinating to read promotional books of Bashaw’s past and what was important to settlers in those days.
The Bashaw Extension of Settlement of Settlement Club featured a special booklet that gave settlers an idea of what to expect if moving to the district. In those days, farming, fuel, education and churches were an important part of what makes up the community.
Fuel costs, now that’s something to turn a person’s head, especially when considering today’s prices. With the many coal mines in central Alberta in those days, the booklet states that good quality retail coal could be purchased from between $3 to $6 per ton in the Town of Bashaw.
The resources were, and still are, a big part of what makes people come to an area. The booklet points to rolling hills, with clear prairie areas and brush that’s easy to clear to allow for farming on the land.
“It is not difficult to clear this brush, but very important that a reasonable area should be left on each farm owing to its value as fuel, fence posts, building material, and an admirable protection for stock during the winter months,” states the booklet.
It’s clear that all the resources were used with nothing going to waste. Supplies were vital to surviving Alberta’s winters.
Crops grown then are still being harvested in the land around Bashaw; with the booklet pointing out that large yields of wheat, oat, barley and flax are needed. According to the settlers, experimental work also gave potentials for alfalfa, timothy and clover.
The rich pastures allowed for cattle herds, and hogs. “We claim a hog can be produced as cheaply here as any other place on the continent.”
“When you understand that hog diseases are practically unknown in Alberta, and take into consideration our excellent markets, you will easily recognize the splendid profits we are able to secure from this industry,” states the authors.
The hog industry is quite different than what it used to be.
As for schools, Alberta had a decent system, state the authors. “Owing to liberal government assistance, the cost to the settler of maintaining the school is comparatively small.”
As for churches, there is little in the way of information, presumably to allow settlers to make their own decisions or to avoid upsetting one church group or another.
“Churches of almost all denominations are found in this district, and services are being held regularly,” is all the booklet states.
This is the second in a series of historical stories related to the Bashaw Extension of Settlement Club booklet.