The town of Ponoka was 50 years old and booming in 1954

This week's Reflections looks at Ponoka's 50th anniversary in 1954.

Shown from left to right are long-time Ponoka residents Hec Labrie

As the new citizens and families of Ponoka were rubbing shoulders with and toasting local celebrities and early pioneers during the gala 50th anniversary celebration in 1954, they were also treated to the countless new advances, successes and amenities that had been added to the vibrant community, with many more exciting plans in the works for the next 50 years into the future. This week we will be pleased to bring you some of the hot stories, highs and the lows from the pages of the 1954 Ponoka Herald.

*The new census was completed early in October 1954 and has revealed that the new population of Ponoka is 3401, representing an increase of 157 citizens, which is up 5 per cent from the 1953 total of 3244. An amazing figure is the fact that in 1951, there were 2574 people living in Ponoka, so over the last three years and four months the population has increased by 827 or 36 per cent. To take care of this steady influx of newcomers into our friendly family town, there have been a total of 44 new homes built, compared to 42 in 1953. Total value of dwelling permits to the end of October of this year is $283,200, giving each new home an average value of $6500.

*There was a great deal of excitement in and around town on Sunday afternoon October 18, 1954 when hundreds of people both young and old filled the local radio and record shops to witness Ponoka’s first view of the nation’s first ever and newest wonder of TELEVISION. They were cheering loudly for an Edmonton/Vancouver football game being broadcast live from CFRN-TV in Edmonton. With this first new TV station now on the air to Albertans, there is no doubt that the locals will be dashing into Ponoka Radio Electric, Crandall’s and Dick Jenkins Modern Radio to buy their first set and make arrangements to put up the large steel antennas on their roofs that would bring in the exciting new signal. By the way, an advertisement last week listed the Emerson 17 inch screen television set selling for $219, with legs extra.

*On the down side, Ponoka’s relic 1932 Chevrolet garbage truck ‘blew up’ last week, and there will be no pick-up or disposal of garbage in the community until Public Works Foreman Bert Ruggles can find suitable parts for old wreck or finally convince our town council that it is definitely time to go out and buy a new one. Over at the town hall, the local police department are really clamping down on law-breakers, issuing 63 warnings last month for a rash of offenses such as riding bikes on the side-walks and with no lights at night, as well as on drivers of autos and trucks caught speeding or having faulty headlights, taillights, and mufflers. One young offender on a motorcycle last week was fined $20 for speeding in the town limits, going through a stop sign, and passing on the wrong side, and more hefty fines are promised in the future.

*Ponoka Town Council are studying the possibilities of installing a filtration plant that will allow them to use Battle River water for town supplies at a cost of $150,000, as well as currently working on a plan and budget to add 3324 feet of new sidewalks in town, in addition to adding a new pump to the town’s heavily used water system, which will increase the pumping capacity from 85,000 to 150,000 gallons a day.

*Ponoka and district farmers, many of whom are now in heavy negotiations over oil rights, may also be facing a serious shortage of oats and barley seed next spring, which may have to be shipped in from outside the district, but will likely ask for assistance from Prairie Farm Assistance Act. Meanwhile the County of Ponoka is facing a shortfall of funds for road building and repair due to above normal repairs roads and bridges because of washouts and mud holes, and are hoping government grants will assist them to get the never-ending job done.

*Let’s get ready for another great hockey season. Ponoka Stampeder Blue Line tickets will go on sale November 1, 1957. Prices for reserve seats for 16 home games in the Central Alberta Hockey League will be $8 for adults, $5 for students and $3.50 for children. Some of the flashy players already signed for the home team are Jim Smith, Doug Lane, Jim Malin, Al Shantz, Ralph Vold, Shorty Jones, and Dunc Grant.

Yes folks, 1954 was a very good year in and around the thriving community and Ponoka, and we will have many great stories and pictures from throughout all those colorful years right here each week on your Reflections page in the Ponoka News, and we thank you for your many contributions.


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