Archive Finding Aids

Here are detailed file-by-file descriptions of the contents of specific fonds and/or links to scanned documents.

Columbia School near Airdrie, 1908
Columbia School near Airdrie, Alberta, 1908

Stephen Wilk Airdrie History collection

To view brief history of collection and summary of contents click here.

Table of Contents

indicates that the series includes scanned documents or photographs.
Sound recording indicates that the series includes digitized sound recordings.

Series 1 Historical documents compiled by Wilk. -- 1886-1963
Series 2 Pioneer biographies and questionnaires. -- 1962
Series 3 Audio GuideRecorded interviews with early settlers. -- 1962-1963
Series 4 Photographs. -- [ca. 1890]-1960


Series 1

Historical documents compiled by Wilk. -- 1886-1963

M-4712-1 Correspondence re Wilk's book, One Day's Journey. -- 1961-1963

Agriculture in the Airdrie area. -- 1895-1962. -- Consists of the following:

Excerpts from Mr. J. Robertson's diary, 1895-1911
Balance sheet from Clem Perry
The Webster enterprise, Yorkshire hogs; registers for purebred animals; brand records

M-4712-3 United Church history in the Airdrie area. -- 1959 and n.d. -- Consists of a panel discussion re the history of Columbia United Church; and a brief history of the Airdrie United Church.

Airdrie United Church property. -- 1917-1925. -- Consists of the following:

Letter re log registered by Methodist Church, 1917
Agreement of sale of Methodist Church land and buildings to Airdrie Schook, 1923
Receipt for certificate of title of further land in Airdrie in the name of United Church, 1925

M-4712-22 Airdrie United Church Women's Aid. -- 1922-1948. -- Consists of minutes of meetings; accounts including notes re Chautauqua catering; and brief history of organization.

Airdrie United Church - Miscellaneous papers. -- 1912-1948. -- Consists of the following:

Cradle Roll certificate, 1912
Letters of congratulations on anniversaries
Letters of sympathy on death of Reverend Bosomworth
Letter from George H. Barrett, applicant minister
Letters re change of ministers
Lists of members and contributions to funds
Minutes of meetings
Reportsof Visitations Committee
Papers re amalgamation of Balzac Church with Airdrie
Financial accounts

M-4712-4 United Church in Alberta - General history. -- [ca. 1940] and 1955. -- Consists of "The Story of Rundle" by Reverend J. Travis; and program of the Alberta Conference of the United Church of Canada historical evening (May 1955), including a chronological outline of events in the church's history and list of ministers.
M-4712-5 Calgary Knox Presbyterian Church history by Reverend Angus Robertson. -- 1886
M-4712-6 Airdrie Church opening service program. -- January 1922
M-4712-7 Airdrie Church of the Brethren history. -- 1960. -- Consists of a dramatization for the 50th anniversary.
M-4712-11 Westminster School District. -- 1908-1927. -- Consists of daily attendance register (1913); assessment and tax roll (oversize); teacher's agreement (1912); poll book page (November 1908); and minute book (1908-1927).
M-4712-12 Historical survey of school districts. --n.d. -- Consists of questionnaires sent out by the Alberta Department of Education.
M-4712-13 Articles about Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) training in Airdrie. -- 1939-1945. -- Includes story of a plane crash.

These articles have been scanned. Scanned Document View now.


Miscellaneous documents. -- 1903-1915. -- Consists of the following:

Life insurance certificate
Marriage announcement, 1907
Promissory note to International Harvester Company, 1906
Transfer of land, 1915
Calgary Herald subscription acknowledgement, 1903
Letter re Airdrie's incorporation as a village, 1908

M-4712-15 Airdrie Story records. -- 1962, 1963. -- Consists of records re Wilk's book, One Day's Journey, including minutes of Airdrie Story executive meeting, program on completion of book, map of area, and lists of place names and railway stations.
M-4712-16 Place names information (not found in the book Place Names of Alberta).
M-4712-17 Poems

Newspaper articles. -- 1922-1963. -- Consists of the following:

The Airdrie Recorder:
Church news (1924-1926)
Classified advertising (1922-1925)
Clubs (1922-1926)
Town and district local news (1922-1925)

The Calgary Herald:
Mrs. R.L. Hawkey obituary
Article re Mr. and Mrs. F. Collicut, 1960

The Edmonton Journal:
"Five Days to Calgary", 1961

The Rocky View News and Market Examiner:
Opening of G. McDougall High School, 1963

Unknown sources:
Article re Addison McPherson
Michael D. Soper's obituary
Mrs. J. Stevenson's obituary
Reverend H. Bosomworth's obituary
Article re Mrs. Kinniburgh
Article re Yankee Valley

M-4712-19 Excerpts from Reverend A. Sutherland's book, A Summer in Prairie Land; Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) reports; directories, etc.
M-4712-20 Booklets about Airdrie, Scotland. -- 1937-1957. -- Consists of official guides and centenary calendars from Airdrie, Alberta's namesake.

Series 2

Pioneer biographies and questionnaires. -- 1962


Summaries of interviews with the following Airdrie area pioneers. -- 1962:

Mrs. Archie Atkin
Reverend A.T. Bell
Mrs. and Mrs. Black
Billy Brandon
Mrs. Clayton
Mr. Bert Clayton
Nina Cole
Dr. Frank Collicut
William Croxford
Joe Davy
Mr. Evans
William Evans
Mrs. Fletcher
Fred Fletcher
Lillian Graham
Henry Nothcott
Mrs. Henry Northcott
Clam Perry


Pioneer biographies. -- 1962:

Neil Beaton
L.R. Blair
Reverend H. Bosomworth
Albert Carlson
Dr. Edwards
Bob Hardy
W. Harrison
S. Howe
M. Kidd
Lloyd Koffsky
Mr. and Mrs. G. Leahman
Dan MacDonald and the Airdrie Hotel
Addison McPherson
Mr. Martinussen
G. Matzen
Nelson family
Thomas Pole family
A.R. Price
Ada Ryan
G. Simpson
Andy "Shorty" Smith
S.J. Smith
Mr. Stokes
Mr. and Mrs. J. Thorburn
Watson family


Pioneer questionnaires. -- [ca. 1962]. -- Consists of questionnaires deailng primarily with schools and churches in the Airdrie area. They were completed by:

Oliver Elky
Sarah Fletcher
May E. Gump
LLoyd Malyk
Mary L. Oberholtzer

Series 3

Recorded interviews with early settlers. -- 1962-1963. -- 10 audio cassettes. -- Note: The four original reel to reel tapes have been copied onto 10 cassettes, and it is not clear where one interview ends and another starts, but the list below indicates the order of the interviewees and topics of discussions.

RCT-28-3 has been digitized.   Audio Guide Listen to part 1.Audio Guide Listen to part 2.


Mrs. John Fletcher (Sara Fletcher) interview. She discusses:

  1. Arrival in 1894 from Nebraska, covered wagon to border, train from North Portal to Olds
  2. Early home and work
  3. Calgary 1894, Indians [First Nations] and cowboys
  4. Methodist church and services
  5. The Fletchers, her marriage to John
  6. Homestead at Airdrie, CPR land, $3 per acre
  7. Early church at Airdrie, ministers of the church
  8. Engagement story of Mary Fletcher to Reverend Wood
  9. Reverend Wood's background and drowning
  10. First church service at Airdrie
  11. New church dedication, some early members
  12. Church picnic
  13. Description of Mr. Wood and dress
  14. Early houses and buildings in Airdrie

Reverend A.T. Bell interview. He discusses:

  1. Being Minister in Airdrie, 1948-1950
  2. Airdrie, Columbia and Balzac his charges
  3. Church and choir
  4. Manse
  5. Columbia school building purchased and converted to church
  6. Balzac, pianist, church members
  7. Church board meetings at Airdrie
  8. Minister's salary
  9. Early church concerts
  10. Town hall issue, Saturday night dances to finance, gambling

Mrs. E.M. Clayton (first teacher at Airdrie) interview. She discusses:

  1. Arrival in Calgary from Edmonton, train trip
  2. Early trip to Strathcona, homestead near Edmonton at Sturgeon River
  3. 1899 to Airdrie as school teacher
  4. First school, furnishings, pupils
  5. School procedure
  6. Wages $15 per month plus board, Collicuts, Stevenson's house, layout, furnishings
  7. Airdrie in 1899, Calgary as the shopping centre
  8. Recreation, riding, visiting
  9. Church services, ministers, both Presbyterian and Methodist
  10. Amusing story re men and school teacher
  11. Social life, McKenzie home, Collicut home, mail service
  12. singing, dancing, music
  13. Jim Robinson story, dinner, radio, hiking
  14. Marriage, other early teachers
  15. Airdrie ranches
  16. Pat Burns' cattle
  17. Blizzard, ranch problems, cattle losses, Pat Burns' sheep
  18. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stories and man hunts
  19. The Indians [First Nations]
  20. Prairie fires
  21. McPherson's coulee, Fort McPherson
  22. Myer Siding, Shorty Myer

Mr. Joey Davy interview. He discusses:

  1. Bower's store, first building
  2. Countryside, open, no fences
  3. Mail day in Airdrie, visiting in stores
  4. Hay business
  5. Blizzard
  6. Runaway, child killed
  7. Entertainment, social life
  8. Blizzard, school children
  9. School dances, dance steps
  10. Bower's Hall, dances
  11. Calgary, English church and the city
  12. Cattle inspector
  13. District animal pound

Mrs. Archie Aitken (nee Emily Constance Blankley) interview. She discusses:

  1. Arrival in Airdrie, July 12, 1905
  2. Airdrie Literary Society
  3. Coyote hunting, wild birds

Mr. Archie Aitken interview. He discusses:

  1. Arrival in Airdrie in 1904
  2. Early employment
  3. Johnsons Lake and fishing

Mrs. Lillian Graham (nee Lillian McDougall) interview. She discusses:

  1. George McDougall, 1872, and the Morley Mission
  2. John McDougall and first Calgary church
  3. First Calgary visits
  4. Trips to Hobbema
  5. Reverend Wood

Mr. Bert Clayton (1885-1962)interview. He discusses:

  1. Family background
  2. First impressions of Calgary
  3. Move to Balzac and Airdrie
  4. Calgary, the Indians [First Nations], dress, weapons
  5. Sod buildings
  6. Ranch versus farm controversy
  7. Churches attended, organization
  8. Reverend Wood
  9. Work at Calgary Saddlery, trips to ranch'
  10. Settlement in Airdrie area
  11. Cattle round up, ranching
  12. Buffalo bones
  13. Indian burial customs, camp grounds
  14. Buffalo jump
  15. Reverend John McDougall
  16. Early impressions of Airdrie, dances, baseball, hockey, Bower's Hall
  17. Animal pound, police, schooling
  18. Church services, Reverend L.R. McDonald, funerals, Reverend Pike, Reverend Forrester, J. Howie, Mr. Hodgins
  19. The Boer War [South African War]

Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Black interview. They discuss:

  1. Early schools, first settlers
  2. First impressions of area
  3. Church ministers: Mrs. Hodgins, Reverend Andrews, Presbyterians
  4. Lay preachers, Mr. Shaver
  5. Bible Society, Finlay, T.A. Bowen
  6. Ford car, Mr. Wiggins, L.R. McDonald, S. Pike, Reverend Forrester
  7. Changing times

Mr. W.H. Harry Northcott interview. He discusses:

  1. Arrival in Canada and Airdrie, 1902
  2. Early recollections of Airdrie, unloading settlers' effects
  3. Shopping in Calgary, neighbours
  4. The Indians [First Nations]
  5. Prairie fires
  6. Nose Creek, the Lewis family
  7. Ministers
  8. Teachers, the school
  9. John Northcott
  10. Threshing, haying

Mr. Willian Croxford interview. He discusses:

  1. Arrival in 1892 in Innisfail, 1900 to Airdrie
  2. First born, $12-$16/1000 feet for lumber for Bower's house
  3. Bower's store, section foreman
  4. Fletchers, Claytons, Stevensons, McKenzies, Chambers, Coopers
  5. Butcher shop, coal business, lumber yard
  6. Early church services, Methodist and Presbyterian
  7. Ministers: Wood, Shaw, Hodgins, Johnson, Finlay
  8. Church, Ladies Aid
  9. Bower's Hall, Literary Society, grain grinding, livery
  10. Early Justices of the Peace, blacksmiths
  11. Grain growing, medical facilties, first doctor, Dr. Edwards
  12. First school, veterinary service
  13. Les Farr, auctioneer, first auction sale, Ford cars
  14. Draying, first garage, cars
  15. First telephone, newspapers, hotel, barbering
  16. Other business, main bank, early bankers
  17. Fires, fire fighting
  18. First survey of lets, the early church

Mrs. E.M. Clayton interview. She discusses:

  1. The tall tale about Chinook winds, other stories
  2. Halloween at Collicut-Stevenson private school
  3. Chinook story, tobacco and substitute
  4. Women's Institute and its promotion, cemetery work
  5. Minutes of town meetings, town weigh scale
  6. Travelling entertainment, poundkeeper for animals, other minutes of town meetings
  7. Interurban railway proposal, other minutes
  8. Minutes regarding the 1918 influenze epidemic [flu]

Mrs. Edith Duncan interview. She discusses:

  1. Mr. Duncan, postmaster 1921-1928, Mrs. Duncan appointed postmistress 1928
  2. Mail service, rural mail service
  3. Wages $600 per year in beginning, help in the post office
  4. The Christmas mail, social life at the post office, the bulletin board

Mr. Tom Farr interview. He discusses:

  1. Description of photographs and post cards
  2. Doc Smith, George Hat, Mr. Farr (senior)
  3. Photographs, cowboys, Airdrie ball team in 1907
  4. Photograph of first hockey team
  5. Early hockey, rink on the creek
  6. Harry Glover, manager of hockey and ball teams
  7. 1906 to Airdrie, Yankee Valley settlement, $13.50 per acre
continued on RCT-28-4

Mr. Clem Perry interview. He discusses:

  1. 1902 from London, England, came for health reasons
  2. First time to Airdrie for blacksmithing
  3. Crossing the prairie to Airdrie, hazards
  4. Lewis family, Bushfields, Barbers, W.M. Church, tribute to these neighbours
  5. Arrival in Calgary, early job in grocery store
  6. Business section of Airdrie, Bower's and location of Airdrie
  7. Early municipal jurisdictions, great freedom of action
  8. Story of honesty
  9. Brotherhood of St. Andrews, a lay reader, 1903
  10. [Interview continued on RCT-28-4]
  11. Early church services in homes, schools, church harvest festival
  12. Dry Creek services, Frank Davey, ca. 1904
  13. Listing of early weddings in homes by Mrs. perry, baptism, funeral
  14. Oddfellows organization
  15. Duties of chaplain
  16. Address at Airdrie School re Confederation

Mr. Harry Northcott interview. He discusses:

  1. Oddfellows hall, charter members, 1907, amusing story, reason for disbanding
  2. Hotel keepers
  3. Blacksmith shop ca. 1903-1904
  4. IOOF dances and socials
  5. Weigh scales for grain, coal and cattle
  6. Animal pound
  7. Legal land descriptions, naming of Yankee Valley, Calgary market
  8. The Buttes horseman, Bob Power, hauling fire wood from west of Airdrie
  9. Hauling hay to Calgary market
  10. Clothing and suits, $7 to $16

Mrs. Harry Northcott interview. She discusses:

  1. Wild duck supper at church
  2. Fowl suppers, potluck suppers

Miss Nina Cole (1890) interview. She discusses:

  1. Early impressions of Calgary, buildings, garage, water supply
  2. Trip north of Calgary, prairie scenes, wildlife, traffic on Edmonton trail, stopovers, Johnny the Frenchman at Lone Pine stopping house, mail at Red Deer
  3. Edmonton-Calgary train, 1891
  4. Train in water at Airdrie settlers excursion
  5. The "Pig Lady"
  6. Early Baptist Church in Calgary, Pinkham confirmation at Red Deer
  7. John McDougall

Mr. Bill Brandon (1894) interview. He discusses:

  1. Early arrivals, Mennonites, Mr. Detweilyler
  2. Other early church services
  3. McPherson's Coulee, home-brew, buffalo bones
  4. Ab McPherson, Davis, Stevensons, Pat Burns, Robertsons, Burt Freize
  5. Sam Scarlett, stoppig houses, Dickson's stopping house
  6. Cave in McPherson's Coulee, hide-out
  7. Ab McPherson and buffalo bones
  8. Early school pupils, freighting
  9. Sam Scarlett ranch
  10. Stevensons, Louis Jack, Bessie, the Collicuts, Freizes
  11. McPherson's Coulee, early settlers
  12. Stopping houses, cost, food
  13. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at Scarletts stop over, their duties and tours
  14. Coyotes and sheep, church services and dancing after
  15. Dance at Cochrane, journey from Crossfield to Cochrane, the storm
  16. Mail deliveries, first post office

Mrs. Sara Fletcher interview. She discusses:

  1. Reverend W.S. Brooker, 1914, Mr. Brown
  2. The Scouts
  3. Methodist Church, box socials

Series 4

Photographs. -- [ca. 1890]-1960. -- 59 photographs. -- The series consists of views of Airdrie buildings and personalities.

Many of the photographs have been scanned. View now.

PA-648-1 Flett's blacksmith shop, moved from Airdrie to Calgary's Heritage Park in 1964. -- [ca. 1910-1913]. -- 1 photograph. -- Copy negative NA-2466-1 below.
PA-828-(1-42) Airdrie views and personalities. -- 1910-1961. -- 42 photographs
NA-582-(1-2) Dickson stopping house and Johnson Stevenson's children. -- [ca. 1890]. -- 2 photographs
NA-598-(1-12) Views of Airdrie clergy, first teacher, early settlers and homesteads. -- [ca. 1900-1930s]. -- 12 photographs
NA-1213-1 Airdrie grain elevators. -- [ca. 1900-1903]. -- 1 photograph
NA-2466-1 Flett's blacksmith shop, Airdrie. -- [ca. 1910-1913]. -- 1 photograph. -- Copy of PA-648 above.
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