Kathy Andersen has so many fond memories of growing up in the Home Glen area west of Ponoka, where her parents Will and Norma Andersen purchased the O.K. Ranch in 1962. It was there in this friendly district community where she grew up with her brothers Dean and Allen, and enjoyed so many good times over the years with family and friends at such historical locations as the Home Glen Hall and School, Rodney Jensen’s store, and on and on.
Now at the age of 61 she has retired after working throughout Central Alberta and with Trans-Alberta Utilities for many years and is very happy to be living in Ponoka. To keep busy Kathy loves visiting with friends, but her favourite long-term and busy hobby has come from browsing through pictures, news-paper articles, books, the museum, garage sales, and where-ever to collect some of the countless memories, artifacts, and nick-knacks from those great childhood years that she spent in and around her always favourite Home Glen district.
Along the way this energetic lady has spent countless hours putting many of her ‘Home Glen’ treasures into four delightful and interesting collages that she will soon be presenting to the Board to be put on display at the Home Glen Hall to be shared and enjoyed by past and present generations for years to come. Kathy Andersen is also a member of the committee who are just beginning the planning and preparation of a gala Home Glen Reunion in 2017, with more news to come later.
The long and colourful history of Home Glen
The earliest settler in the Home Glen District was a character called ‘old man Jackson’, who homesteaded on the Stewart Ranch in 1904. The little district to the west of the new Town of Ponoka continued to grow with the arrival of early settler families such as those of James Burns, W.J. Bates, The Sylvest Brothers, the Riddough’s, the Hugh Davidson’s, Andrew Mitre, Tom Moltbee, Ben Calvert, the Whyyetts, The Fish family, Harry and Jack Stelfox, Clem Pike, the McCaulas, the Dyes, the Crosses, Creighton’s, Stewarts, Jensen’s, and on and on into a vibrant farming district. They were great farmers, ranchers, and hunters, who kept their greyhounds and bloodhounds for that purpose, and passed their skills, successes, and proud heritage onto the many generations who have made Home Glen their home over the past 112 years.
The much needed Home Glen School was built in 1909 by W.J. Bates on the S.E. 22-44-1-Wth with Miss Fisher as the first teacher, and this tiny but always cozy one room school-house would serve the education needs of hundreds of district students until 1956. Other exciting Home Glen milestones over those progressive years included: the appointment of the first Councillor James Burns in 1908, who visited folks in the district on his horse; the opening of the first Post Office in 1910 at the Bates’ residence in 1910 with Mr. Craig as the first mailman; the arrival of the Telephone in 1921 and the first car in 1922, and the opening of the popular Home Glen Hall, which was built by the community in 1945 and still serves the countless social, recreation, and family gatherings of the district in so many ways. The first mail route was established in 1951, Calgary Power provided full service in 1954, and the Home Glen/Rimbey gas field was started in 1960.
Home Glen Highlights
Many of the Home Glen men served in the armed forces during both wars, then in the Second World War a number of the local girls joined the Women’s Branches of the Army and Air Force.
As in all areas of our settlement in those days there were very few trucks and the cattle had to be to be driven by the farmers on their saddle horses to the markets at Lacombe, Rimbey, and Ponoka.
Throughout all the year-round hard work, the Home Glen folks always looked forward to celebrations of the harvest and Christmas concerts, as well as ball games, curling bonspiels, rodeos, box Socials to perk up the many bachelors to come down from the hills, picnics, and the grand old dances at the School or at Otto Jensen’s barn. There was always food aplenty whenever they gathered, and it was during these great events that Rodney Jensen would make his accordion talk and his orchestra would make those strong wooden rafters rock and ring until the wee hours of many a morning. Such was the ongoing strong spirit and determination of the Home Glen district, which has carried on with great exuberance to this day with the warm welcome extended to countless newcomers, as well as through the strong traditions and pride of their ongoing family generations.