Ponoka history

Ponoka Composite High School’s graduating class of 1970. Image: yearbook photo

OUR COMMUNITY: Ponoka Composite High School class of 1970

It’s been 50 years since they graduated

 

OUR COMMUNITY: Hospital Auxiliary celebrates 70 years

OUR COMMUNITY: Hospital Auxiliary celebrates 70 years

Auxiliary was founded in April, 1950

 

Dr. Melvin Graham (1912-1962)

Ponoka’s early physicians recognized in this week’s Reflections

Ponoka’s early doctors helped keep residents healthy and safe.

 

Remember When?                                Ponoka’s first medical arts building was built in 1955 at 5104 51st Avenue and provided first rate professional medical services to many thousands of patients from town and county for countless decades. The physicians and staff during that time also served the 24-7 medical needs at the Ponoka General Hospital as well as assistance to patients at the Provincial Mental Hospital.                                Photo courtesy of Barry Neath

Remember When: Ponoka’s first medical centre

Looking back at when Ponoka first had a medical arts centre

  • Mar 7, 2018
Remember When?                                Ponoka’s first medical arts building was built in 1955 at 5104 51st Avenue and provided first rate professional medical services to many thousands of patients from town and county for countless decades. The physicians and staff during that time also served the 24-7 medical needs at the Ponoka General Hospital as well as assistance to patients at the Provincial Mental Hospital.                                Photo courtesy of Barry Neath
The OK Economy Grocery Store was the first tenant in the south-end bay of the new Ponoka Plaza Shopping Centre in 1968 and has been followed by many other businesses over the years, with all offering great services and friendship to thousands of Ponoka town and county residents and visitors to this day.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

Reflections: What 125 years of changes does to one street in Ponoka

This week in Reflections looks at Railway Street in downtown Ponoka

The OK Economy Grocery Store was the first tenant in the south-end bay of the new Ponoka Plaza Shopping Centre in 1968 and has been followed by many other businesses over the years, with all offering great services and friendship to thousands of Ponoka town and county residents and visitors to this day.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum
The OK Economy Store was the first tenant at the south end of the new Ponoka plaza when it opened in the late 1960s at 5015-Railway Street. Shown in the photo is the first Ponoka store manager Terry Kucey and staff member Ruth Buchta, and over the years many local men and women would work in the popular store, which later moved to a new facility just west of the Ponoka Stampede campgrounds.                                Photo submitted

Remember When: Looking back at the OK Economy in Ponoka

In Main Street Ponoka, OK Economy was a popular shopping stop for residents

The OK Economy Store was the first tenant at the south end of the new Ponoka plaza when it opened in the late 1960s at 5015-Railway Street. Shown in the photo is the first Ponoka store manager Terry Kucey and staff member Ruth Buchta, and over the years many local men and women would work in the popular store, which later moved to a new facility just west of the Ponoka Stampede campgrounds.                                Photo submitted
As the automotive industry took off with great gusto going into the 1920s many new garages appeared on the bustling streets of Ponoka to sell and service the mad new rush of cars and trucks that were rolling in from all areas. This Skinner and Wilkinson Garage was on the corner of 48th Avenue and Railway Street and would serve the community for several decades.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

Reflections: The coming of the automobile created milestones and mayhem

Taking a look at how the automobile industry affected Ponoka back in the day

As the automotive industry took off with great gusto going into the 1920s many new garages appeared on the bustling streets of Ponoka to sell and service the mad new rush of cars and trucks that were rolling in from all areas. This Skinner and Wilkinson Garage was on the corner of 48th Avenue and Railway Street and would serve the community for several decades.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum
The grand ‘automobile age’ had invaded our province by the early 1900s, and many families in Ponoka and the rural districts became the proud owners of a shiny and noisy new ‘horseless carriage.’ In this photo Roy Flegal and A.L. Sweet model the first cars that arrived in the Morningside district and must have been really looking forward to challenging the very few narrow and dusty roads in the area, as well as facing the year-round unpredictable Alberta weather conditions that included snow, rain, mud, floods, and all the rest.                                Photo from Ponoka Panorama History book

Remember When: The advent of the automobile in Ponoka and area

The age of the automobile takes over Ponoka, in this week’s Remember When

The grand ‘automobile age’ had invaded our province by the early 1900s, and many families in Ponoka and the rural districts became the proud owners of a shiny and noisy new ‘horseless carriage.’ In this photo Roy Flegal and A.L. Sweet model the first cars that arrived in the Morningside district and must have been really looking forward to challenging the very few narrow and dusty roads in the area, as well as facing the year-round unpredictable Alberta weather conditions that included snow, rain, mud, floods, and all the rest.                                Photo from Ponoka Panorama History book
This magnificent photo was taken from the east in the late 1990s and features the tranquil Battle River as well as the four remaining Grain Elevators along 50 Street in downtown Ponoka. It was nearing the end of a colourful era of our history, during which up to 10 of these massive wooden structures had faithfully served our thriving farming community for close to 100 years.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

Reflections: Our early Prairie grain elevators are gone but never forgotten

In the 1900s there used to be up to 10 massive grain elevators in Ponoka

  • Jan 17, 2018
This magnificent photo was taken from the east in the late 1990s and features the tranquil Battle River as well as the four remaining Grain Elevators along 50 Street in downtown Ponoka. It was nearing the end of a colourful era of our history, during which up to 10 of these massive wooden structures had faithfully served our thriving farming community for close to 100 years.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum
Remember When?                                During the colourful era from the early 1900s and throughout that century a highlight of Ponoka’s ever-growing landscape was our majestic ‘elevator row’ along 50th Street, which faithfully served the surrounding agriculture industry until their demise. The Pioneer Grain Limited was one of the first to erect their huge wooden elevator here in 1906, but over the years several of these units were ravaged by fire. A highlight for everyone in the 1960s was this Pioneer Grain Elevator being slowly rolled into town on trailers with multi-wheels and pulled by very heavy and powerful equipment.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

Remember When: A look back at Ponoka’s grain elevators

Along 50 Street in downtown Ponoka, some used to call it ‘elevator row’

Remember When?                                During the colourful era from the early 1900s and throughout that century a highlight of Ponoka’s ever-growing landscape was our majestic ‘elevator row’ along 50th Street, which faithfully served the surrounding agriculture industry until their demise. The Pioneer Grain Limited was one of the first to erect their huge wooden elevator here in 1906, but over the years several of these units were ravaged by fire. A highlight for everyone in the 1960s was this Pioneer Grain Elevator being slowly rolled into town on trailers with multi-wheels and pulled by very heavy and powerful equipment.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum
The Provincial Mental Hospital farm was completed in 1924 and served as a therapeutic treatment and work program for hundreds of patients as well as an ongoing supply source of eggs, meat, dairy, and other products for the Ponoka hospital and other institutions until 1962.                                Photo from a History of Dedication and Caring

Reflections: Early hospital farm offered renowned methods of treatment and work therapy

Then Provincial Mental Hospital’s farm operations was a busy place

  • Jan 10, 2018
The Provincial Mental Hospital farm was completed in 1924 and served as a therapeutic treatment and work program for hundreds of patients as well as an ongoing supply source of eggs, meat, dairy, and other products for the Ponoka hospital and other institutions until 1962.                                Photo from a History of Dedication and Caring
Remember When?                                In the very early years at the Provincial Mental Hospital just north east of Ponoka the rapidly growing facility strived to become self sustaining, planting acres of gardens, erecting green houses and root-cellars, and eventually operating its own farm. Here the ‘gentleman Irishman’ Dave Hourigan and members of the ‘Garden Gang’ proudly display their massive fall harvest of carrots. In the winter season this energetic crew of patients and staff were also known as the ‘The Snow Gang’ and the ‘Ice Harvesters’ spending countless hours cleaning up after the many snow-storms, or cutting blocks from the river to keep the ice-house filled.                                Photo from a History of Dedication and Caring

Remember When: Celebrating the hard workers of then Alberta Hospital

Here the garden crew display their fall harvest

Remember When?                                In the very early years at the Provincial Mental Hospital just north east of Ponoka the rapidly growing facility strived to become self sustaining, planting acres of gardens, erecting green houses and root-cellars, and eventually operating its own farm. Here the ‘gentleman Irishman’ Dave Hourigan and members of the ‘Garden Gang’ proudly display their massive fall harvest of carrots. In the winter season this energetic crew of patients and staff were also known as the ‘The Snow Gang’ and the ‘Ice Harvesters’ spending countless hours cleaning up after the many snow-storms, or cutting blocks from the river to keep the ice-house filled.                                Photo from a History of Dedication and Caring
This early photo of our Chipman Avenue vividly shows that parking on downtown Ponoka streets has been a problem on many occasions, and would become more stressful as the bustling community grew at a rapid pace. After much discussion parking meters were put in place in the late 1950s, but were then taken out a few years later to encourage more home town shopping. It is now a courtesy to park between the lines, always honour the blue handicapped signs, and please try to be respectful of your fellow motorists.                                Photo courtesy of the Alberta Archives
This early photo of our Chipman Avenue vividly shows that parking on downtown Ponoka streets has been a problem on many occasions, and would become more stressful as the bustling community grew at a rapid pace. After much discussion parking meters were put in place in the late 1950s, but were then taken out a few years later to encourage more home town shopping. It is now a courtesy to park between the lines, always honour the blue handicapped signs, and please try to be respectful of your fellow motorists.                                Photo courtesy of the Alberta Archives
Remember When?  For countless exciting decades, and to this very day, the Ponoka Stampeders hockey team tradition has provided thousands of avid fans with thrilling end-to-end action from the senior, junior, and minor hockey levels. This 1954-55 Ponoka Stampeder Intermediate ‘A’ team was actually called the ‘weak sisters’ of the Central Alberta Hockey League by some opposition team fans, but they roared through the season and went on to win the C.A.H.L Championship and both the Alberta and Alberta/B.C. provincial hockey titles. Shown in the photo, back row left to right are: team President Auggie Cerveny, trainer Ray Ulyett, Dave Shantz, Shorty Jones, Dave Joyal, Dunc Grant, Jim Malin, Bruce Lea, Ken Clapp, Don Clarke, Al Shantz, and support staff members Art Barnes and Angus McLeod; and then sitting up front with all the hardware is: equipment manager Frank Mickey, Remi Brisson, Jackie Moore, Rod Fontaine, Eric Patterson, Bing Merluk, Ken Head and Shorty Gordon. In 1955-56 this talented powerhouse enjoyed the same seasonal domination and capped it all off by capturing the Western Canada Intermediate ‘A’ Hockey Championship. Best wishes to all local teams and fans for a great 2017-2018 season.                                Photo from Ponoka Herald

Remember When: A look at the 1954-55 Ponoka Stampeders

Back in 1954 the Ponoka Stampeders hockey players had some major trophy hardware

  • Jan 3, 2018
Remember When?  For countless exciting decades, and to this very day, the Ponoka Stampeders hockey team tradition has provided thousands of avid fans with thrilling end-to-end action from the senior, junior, and minor hockey levels. This 1954-55 Ponoka Stampeder Intermediate ‘A’ team was actually called the ‘weak sisters’ of the Central Alberta Hockey League by some opposition team fans, but they roared through the season and went on to win the C.A.H.L Championship and both the Alberta and Alberta/B.C. provincial hockey titles. Shown in the photo, back row left to right are: team President Auggie Cerveny, trainer Ray Ulyett, Dave Shantz, Shorty Jones, Dave Joyal, Dunc Grant, Jim Malin, Bruce Lea, Ken Clapp, Don Clarke, Al Shantz, and support staff members Art Barnes and Angus McLeod; and then sitting up front with all the hardware is: equipment manager Frank Mickey, Remi Brisson, Jackie Moore, Rod Fontaine, Eric Patterson, Bing Merluk, Ken Head and Shorty Gordon. In 1955-56 this talented powerhouse enjoyed the same seasonal domination and capped it all off by capturing the Western Canada Intermediate ‘A’ Hockey Championship. Best wishes to all local teams and fans for a great 2017-2018 season.                                Photo from Ponoka Herald
Mr. C. A. (Charlie) Johnson stands behind the counter of his Water Glen District Store in 1911, which he faithfully operated until 1944, and also served as the Post Master. Please note that among the many early and now historical items on those jam-packed shelves and counter included: a gas lamp, a pail of corn syrup, tins of Blue Ribbon spices, Japan tea, Copenhagen Snuff, and a very old set of original weigh scales. Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

Reflections: Saluting the founding pioneers of the Water Glen district

Looking back at the Water Glen district and its growth

  • Dec 27, 2017
Mr. C. A. (Charlie) Johnson stands behind the counter of his Water Glen District Store in 1911, which he faithfully operated until 1944, and also served as the Post Master. Please note that among the many early and now historical items on those jam-packed shelves and counter included: a gas lamp, a pail of corn syrup, tins of Blue Ribbon spices, Japan tea, Copenhagen Snuff, and a very old set of original weigh scales. Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum
This classic 1915 photo shows the tremendous spirit of the growing district of Water Glen, which was located north east of Ponoka. The picture was taken in front of the C.A. (Charlie) Johnson’s General Store and Post Office, where just about everyone, young and old, always dressed in their finest and turned out for an annual picnic. The day of fun and camaraderie featured games and races for all ages, the sharing of fine food, great stories, and often an evening bonfire and dance with music and high-stepping into the wee hours.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

Remember When: Looking back at a Water Glen picnic

Back in 1915 this photo showcases how everyone dressed in their best for the annual picnic

  • Dec 27, 2017
This classic 1915 photo shows the tremendous spirit of the growing district of Water Glen, which was located north east of Ponoka. The picture was taken in front of the C.A. (Charlie) Johnson’s General Store and Post Office, where just about everyone, young and old, always dressed in their finest and turned out for an annual picnic. The day of fun and camaraderie featured games and races for all ages, the sharing of fine food, great stories, and often an evening bonfire and dance with music and high-stepping into the wee hours.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum
Remember When: Back in the day the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce hosted a special Christmastime parade in downtown Ponoka. Usually at the end of November groups would come together for the fun parade. In this 1997 kids got all dressed up and even brought this calm mule as part of the event.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

Remember When: Past Christmas parades in Ponoka

This week Ponoka News takes a look at a parade hosted by the Ponoka Chamber

Remember When: Back in the day the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce hosted a special Christmastime parade in downtown Ponoka. Usually at the end of November groups would come together for the fun parade. In this 1997 kids got all dressed up and even brought this calm mule as part of the event.                                Photo courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum
Remember When: When Santa landed in Ponoka by helicopter

Remember When: When Santa landed in Ponoka by helicopter

A large crowd took in the days when Santa came by helicopter to Ponoka

  • Dec 20, 2017
Remember When: When Santa landed in Ponoka by helicopter
The wonderful expressions of the joy and                                 anticipation of children tell the whole story of this                                 delightful photo of the 1954 Ponoka Kindergarten class enjoying their annual Christmas party. Giving their very best performance for family and friends were (back row l-r): Mrs. K. MacPhail, Stanley Burfield, Dale Doyle, Headley Boschma, Barbara Caldwell, and Nannette Whitford; and then seated in front is: Karen Caldwell, Robert Backus, Karen Emas, Shirley Feist, David Phillips, Patrick Turner, Heather Campbell, and Bonnie Raho. Enjoy your Christmas party and concert to the fullest, be on your very best behaviour for dear old Santa,                                 and then have a very happy holiday.                                 Photo from December 1954 Ponoka Herald

The joyful traditions of Christmas…past and present

Ponoka News’ Reflections looks at the fun Christmas days of Ponoka

  • Dec 20, 2017
The wonderful expressions of the joy and                                 anticipation of children tell the whole story of this                                 delightful photo of the 1954 Ponoka Kindergarten class enjoying their annual Christmas party. Giving their very best performance for family and friends were (back row l-r): Mrs. K. MacPhail, Stanley Burfield, Dale Doyle, Headley Boschma, Barbara Caldwell, and Nannette Whitford; and then seated in front is: Karen Caldwell, Robert Backus, Karen Emas, Shirley Feist, David Phillips, Patrick Turner, Heather Campbell, and Bonnie Raho. Enjoy your Christmas party and concert to the fullest, be on your very best behaviour for dear old Santa,                                 and then have a very happy holiday.                                 Photo from December 1954 Ponoka Herald
Remember When: Featured in these photos is the 1987 staff of the sewing room at the Alberta Hospital, who were always busy all year round making and repairing all sorts of clothing items, uniforms, and accessories for the hundreds of patients and staff of the provincial psychiatric treatment and training facility near Ponoka. Shown from left to right are: Doreen Rausch, Kathy Schmidt, Jo Nichols, and Mary Holman, and there were many others who performed their sewing and design magic and skills for many decades at the very busy hospital. Photos courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum

Remember When: Looking at the sewing room crew in Ponoka

Back in the day, there was a whole crew of sewers repairing clothing at then Alberta Hospital

Remember When: Featured in these photos is the 1987 staff of the sewing room at the Alberta Hospital, who were always busy all year round making and repairing all sorts of clothing items, uniforms, and accessories for the hundreds of patients and staff of the provincial psychiatric treatment and training facility near Ponoka. Shown from left to right are: Doreen Rausch, Kathy Schmidt, Jo Nichols, and Mary Holman, and there were many others who performed their sewing and design magic and skills for many decades at the very busy hospital. Photos courtesy of the Fort Ostell Museum