A New Historic Site For Alberta
1926 to 1965
You may be asking, “Is Hattonford a place?” The answer is yes, it is. Hattonford is small but certainly real. Today’s blog is about an old church in the Hattonford area. The church is called, “All Saints Anglican Church” but if you say that to one of the locals they may respond with, “never heard of it”. So while the more formal name is All Saints Anglican Church, we will just call it what the locals call it which is the Hattonford Church. But before we even get to the church, let’s just make sure that Hattonford is really a place.
This came from an the Edmonton Morning Bulletin published on Tuesday 1918-10-01. It’s a list of those who gave their lives in the Great War. It actually describes how the soldiers died; died of wounds, gassed, killed in action, accidentally killed, or wounded. I’ve highlighted in yellow R.I. Strachan, who died of wounds, because you can see that he was listed as being from Hattonford, Alberta. So yes, it was a place to hail from. A place that some soldiers (oh yes there was more than one) dreamed of returning to but sadly never did except perhaps to be buried. A place to farm and start a family. A part of the fabric of Alberta.
Before we put the identification of Hattonford behind us, I’ll also share what the book, “Place Names Of Alberta”, Volume III, Central Alberta, says. According to the book, “A post office operated here from April 1917 through August 1970, but the precise origin of the name is unknown”. So there you have it. Hattonford is, or at least was, a place. It’s located in west central Alberta, in the general area of Wildwood. In 2022 Sandra Bowie sent the following comment.
This church was built on land donated by Arthur Onslow Ford which is my husband’s grandfather. We last visited the area in 2004 for the Hattonford reunion. The Hatton’s and the Ford’s were some of the first homesteaders in the area. Many of the Ford siblings applied for homestead grants in Hattonford in the 1910s and 1920s. Francis Ford and his mother Mary Ford are buried in the cemetery.Sandra Bowie
The outside of this church makes me think of an old English cottage. Perhaps that’s why it was being considered for designation as a historic site. Actually, not just considered but accepted.
A regional newspaper article dated 2020-09-07 that discusses the historical designation. This is from page eight of The Weekly Anchor, a newspaper for Yellowhead County. Soon there will be a place at the website for The Alberta Heritage Survey Program as entry number HS 104311. It is already there but when I last checked there were no images. The historians that work for the Province and contribute to that site provide the following description of the old church’s historical significance.
Mr. A. O. Ford donated the plot of land after years of church services being held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. F.J. Cundict, and later at Beaver Meadow School. With a grant of $25 and with funds raised by the Anglican Church Women’s Auxiliary (with Mrs. Cundict as the president), volunteer labourers constructed the church under the supervision of carpenter, Edward Strudwick. Mr. Cundict made the pews, Mr. E. Cox and Mr. A. Williams made the font and hymn board, the Women’s Auxiliary raised funds to purchase the organ and from England, Mr. Cundict’s brother donated the altar linens. The first service was held on June 12, 1926, almost a year after the establishment of the Hattonford Cemetery. In 1928, a Confederation Room was added onto the Church. Many winter services were held in homes, as it was too cold to hold services in the church. It is documented that due to cold and snow and mud, more services were cancelled. By 1965 regular services at the Church ceased. In March 1972, the Hattonford Memorial Service took over the building. The All Saint’s Anglican Church is recognizable with it’s distinctive high pileted [sic] gabled roof and with it’s [sic] projecting bay modestly marked with simple red, yellow, and blue stained-glass windows.Alberta Register of Historic Places
Now lets step inside and have a look around. No doubt that the first thing you will notice is that stained glass window. It’s interesting how it looks like painted wood on the outside, but definitely stained window from the inside.
Outside and across the road is the cemetery where many of the congregation lay in rest. Some markers are very old; just an old wooden cross, while others are marking more recent burials.
Today’s blog would not be possible without the contributions or assistance of:
- Donna Powell: A local lady who provided me with links and all sorts of information for this blog and especially the one about Donahoo School.
- Dale Stewart: A fellow photographer who likes driving almost as much as I like being driven around. He discovered this church and returned to it for more images and to show it to me.
- The Alberta Register of Historic Places, where I was able to obtain some of the historic details about this church.
- The University of Calgary – Libraries and Cultural Resources, for making available many on-line old newspapers and books about small Alberta communities.
- My wife, Evelyn for proof reading my blogs and removing the ever present errors and omissions.
Remember if you have any thoughts on this blog, have information or images that relate to the content, or just want to say that you enjoyed reading it, please comment below.
If you visit the structures shown in this blog, or any other old and potentially abandoned structure, please respect the landowners” rights and obtain their permission to access and photograph their structures. Always exercise caution when visiting abandoned buildings as there are potential dangers such as crumbling structures, deep wells hidden by grass, and even spores of mould in the air.