High River museum director takes a walk through the town’s history

More than 80 per cent of the Museum of the Highwood’s archives were destroyed when High River flooded in 2013, just three years after a devastating fire damaged the building.

But, like High River itself, the museum is resilient, and has become a hub for not only local history, but the film and TV productions — both past and present — that have filmed in the small Alberta town.

Museum of the Highwood director Irene Kerr gave CBC Daybreak Alberta host Russell Bowers a glimpse of the southern Alberta town’s history in advance of the museum’s annual historic homes tour on Saturday.

Items from the television show Fargo are on display. Parts of the show were filmed in High River. (Russell Bowers/CBC)

Kerr — who is a third-generation Calgarian and worked at the Glenbow Museum before moving to High River — said one of her favourite things about being a museum curator is discovering the characters that inhabited the town. And she’s not the only one who delighted in the local personalities.

“W.O. Mitchell wrote about them in his books,” she said. “When he first moved here, he’d go to the post office and call it mining his trap line … he’d meet all these old characters and they’d make their way into his books.”

At one time, Kerr said, High River was actually bigger than Calgary, due to its spot on the historic Macleod Trail.

And the town’s western heritage never really went away, making it the ideal setting for Mitchell’s stories.

The novelist lived in High River for more than two decades, and is buried in the town’s cemetery.

W.O. Mitchell’s characters aren’t the only ones that have inhabited the town.

Unforgiven, Superman III, and more recently, Tin Star, Fargo, and Heartland have all filmed there. 

Maggie’s Diner from Heartland is actually a log building annexed to one of the town’s first stores — Bradley’s Men’s Wear and Leather Works, which was built in 1900.

“Tourists from all over the world make the pilgrimage,” said Kerr. “It probably still smells like leather in there.”

The museum is open year-round, seven days a week, and admission is free.

In 2013, the museum in High River was devastated by the epic flood that swept through southern Alberta. Over 80% of the museum’s archives were destroyed. The facility has proven resilient like the town itself, and the Museum of the Highwood has become an unofficial hub for all the film productions that have used High River as a backdrop – whether that’s past movies like “The Unforgiven” of “Superman III” or current TV series like “Heartland” and “Tin Star.” On Saturday, July 15, residents and visitors alike can help celebrate High River’s history by taking part in the 10th Annual Historic Homes Tour. The event raises money for the museum and gives the public a glimpse inside some iconic local structures. Irene Kerr is Director with the Museum of the Highwood and she took Russell on a mini-tour. 16:57

With files from Daybreak Alberta

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

Originally posted 2018-09-15 14:05:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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