If my memory serves me right in 1954 I was a rather small and skinny kid who was attending Grade 6 at the Ponoka Elementary School, lived with my parents along Riverside Drive, loved hanging around with my buddies in the Battle River Valley, and absolutely idolized all of the local hockey teams that played in our first big old arena at the south end of 50 Street.
This very friendly community was a great place to live and grow up in, was always very busy and expanding at a fast pace during that time. After browsing through some of the tattered old Ponoka Herald newspapers last week I look forward to passing on some of the favourite highlights and milestones of those ‘fabulous ’50s in and around Ponoka.
Saluting our great hockey team
For the second thrilling hockey season in a row our very talented and rugged Ponoka Stampeder Senior Hockey team have won the ‘Black Trophy’ as the Alberta Intermediate ‘A’ Hockey Champions, and will face the Trail Smoke Eaters in a best of seven series to decide the Alberta/B.C. Champion and representative in the Canadian finals. Tickets are now on sale for the home games in Ponoka and are $1.25 for reserve seats, $1.00 rush, and 50 cents for students and children.
The barn-storming best of five Provincial final against their Central Alberta Hockey League rival Olds Elks went the full-distance, with wild crowds in excess of 3000 fans packed into the Ponoka and Red Deer arenas each night. In the final show-down just over 3400 fans from the Ponoka, Olds, and Central Alberta area were jammed into the Red Deer Arena, and the largest crowd ever to see an athletic contest at that rink were treated to a thrilling and hard-hitting battle that ended in a 3-0 win for the Stampeders. Ponoka travelled to Trail, B.C. for the first two games of the series, which they split, and then the perennial champion Smoke Eaters squad would receive an overwhelming warm and hospitable welcome when they came to Ponoka for the rest of the hard fought battle, which went six games, and was won by the B.C. champions. Thank goodness that the longstanding Ponoka Stampeder hockey team tradition has carried on in our community for many decades in our senior, junior, and minor hockey programs.
Ponoka’s first Show Home
Several thousand people have visited the showing of Ponoka’s first model home from April 3 to the 17 in the new Lucas Heights Sub-division. This exciting event is a first in the Central Alberta area, with the 5-room 28 by 40 structure (valued at $12,665) being built for a local business-man under the National Housing Act and through the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The show home was furnished for the open house occasion by local firms, presenting a milestone opportunity to support and encourage the booming population of Ponoka, which has doubled to 3300 since the installation of water and gas in 1948.
What’s happening around our Town and County ?
From the pages of the 1954 Ponoka Herald
• The Ponoka Centennial 50th Anniversary Committee is very busy preparing for the gala birthday celebration of our vibrant community (1904-1954) which will include four days of exciting special events for the whole family from August 1 to 4, 1954. Non-stop activities for citizens and visitors of all ages will include: dances, parade, tours, games and races, colorful displays of our countless local businesses, amenities, proud history, and so much more.
• Our wonderful Town and County of Ponoka districts are certainly enjoying an amazing growth and vibrancy, as well as some-what of a ‘baby boom.’ Between March 31 and April 28 1954 the Ponoka Municipal Hospital staff would welcome 19 bouncing new citizens.
• A big bouquet to our Ponoka Town Council. Despite additional increases and expenditures the 1954 Mill Rate will remain the same as last year at 48. Due to strong growth and high demand for increased services a new modern garbage truck will be purchased for $7,000 as well as a new and bigger grader, while the very high demand on our 1948 town water system will receive an immediate $100,000 upgrade to assure sufficient water for the public and fire-fighting.
• Due to the quick spring thaw and heavy run-off a total traffic-ban is in effect for all Ponoka County roads and forbids travel by trucks, trailers, tractors, and buses, with only school buses and half-loaded milk trucks and one ton trucks allowed. The local RCMP have been notified of the ban and will be watching all roads. A total of 570 farmers in Ponoka County have entered appeals against the new assessments on nearly 1,000 parcels of county land, and will be heard at Courts of Appeal in Rimbey and Ponoka from May 10 to the 26.
• Dates of our very popular Ponoka Stampede have been set for June 27 and July 1 this summer, and an exciting evening grandstand show will be added to go right after the chuck wagon races. The family event will feature animal acts, high wire trapeze acts, musical and comedy routines, and much more.
• Today’s fast facts: Ponoka’s RCMP squad will now become a detachment in its own right with a man-power quote of 40 personnel; the very active Ponoka Curling Club are now vigorously raising funds for a new rink; first class Postal rates have doubled to 4 cents for the first ounce and 2 cents for each additional ounce; after a poll of parents all County of Ponoka Schools will operate with a one-hour noon hour; and at a packed Oil forum held in Ponoka last week in the Elk’s Hall the Canadian Petroleum Association announced that while only one well for every 178 square miles is now being drilled in Western Canada, the overwhelming potential in over 770,000 square miles of sedimentary-type lands will soon result in ongoing and massive oil-hunting and drilling activity well into our very bright and promising future, especially in the Province of Alberta.