1918-1949

In 1918-19 a severe epidemic of Spanish Influenza swept through the area. All local gatherings were suspended, and the school, which by this time had been rebuilt and enlarged at the present site, was converted into a hospital. All the local people who could be spared, if not sick themselves, were used to help nurse, cook and housekeep. Close to a dozen people of Chipman district died of the flu during that time. The winter of 1918-19 is also remembered by the old timers as the coldest on record. The snow was deep, and many farmers lost livestock from the bitter weather and lack of feed.

Early in 1920, the original school was moved to the site of the town hall, and was extended to serve as a community hall and town office. A one-cell jail was added to accommodate those who ran afoul of the town "cop". The first moving pictures (silent) also made their appearance at that time.

In the 1920s sports flourished in Chipman. The baseball team was well known, and traveled to tournaments in all the surrounding towns. The winters were dedicated to hockey, which, of course, was played on an outdoor rink. Flooding and cleaning of the ice was done by hand by volunteer labour. In those days the rink was north of the present National Hall, and later was moved to west of the Town Hall. The women had a sports outlet too - basketball -, which in those days was played outdoors. By 1929 their team was successful enough to be invited to play an exhibition game in Edmonton.

In the mid-twenties, Chipman was served by electricity - the ultimate technology! The man who brought this luxury to town was Mr. William Elniski, who operated a diesel powered Delco plant. Service was from dusk until midnight, and each night before service was shut down, Mr. Elniski would flick the lights as a warning. By our present standards the lights were dim, and with each throb of the motor the lights would pulse. In 1928 a contract was made with Calgary Power Ltd. by the village council to provide Chipman with continuous electrical service.

All transportation of goods into and out of Chpman in the early days was by railroad. The drayman's team of horses became a familiar sight as the freight was delivered to the hotel, stores and other businesses. Another vehicle known to all was the two-wheeled cart that was used to push the mail bags to and from the station before midnight and again at five o'clock in the morning. There was also a milkman who used a buggy or cutter to deliver milk from door to door. A genuine trucking service was eventually established by Hilly Hockertz, who had a 1928 International truck that would seat three passengers with the driver, one of them to the left of the driver.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

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