The distant and recent past of the regions north and west of Ponoka is being further immortalized in a collection of books created by the Dakota Community Historical Society.
The society’s venture began two years ago with a cookbook and grew into a quest to gather the history of the Dakota region, or as much of it they could get their hands on, to be bound in two different books. “We thought if we didn’t get some of our memories down, they would be lost,” said vice-president Gail Bresee.
After several letters of support from the Ponoka Stampede Association, the Jubilee Library and the Fort Ostell Museum went into helping the society garner a grant from the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, the project was well underway.
A smaller book, called “Historical Memories of the Dakota District”, was created out of the stories and memories regarding the Dakota community as told by residents living in the area from the 1960s to present time.
Another larger book covers the vast history of the area from 1961 and before. This book is the exact copy of another one-of-a-kind book; it’s simply been redone and multi-produced to preserve the handwritten history and state of the original. “The book was found under Blanche Hoar’s bed,” said Fort Ostell Museum director Sandy Allsopp.
Hoar was a school teacher of the Dakota Community, aptly named because many of the original homesteaders to the area hailed from the states of North Dakota and South Dakota.
“While we were doing the memories book, this old history book surfaced,” said Nettie Winslow, Dakota Community Historical Society member.
The treasure, full of handwritten, first-person accounts of history, as well as several drawings was being stored in a dilapidated cardboard box bearing the stamp of The Bay.
The original book is now being preserved at Fort Ostell while others were donated to the library, the Ponoka Stampede Museum, the Ponoka United Church, Crestomere School, and one of each is on display at the Dakota Community Hall.
Many copies of the books will be available to the public at places where donations were made, while others are available for purchase by calling Bresee at 403-783-2353.