100th HAND HILLS LAKE STAM­PEDE Legacy of Ladies present in Hand Hills

The count­down is on - 57 days June 3, 4 & 5, 2016

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Patrick Ko­lafa

This sum­mer the Hand Hills Lake Stam­pede is turn­ing 100. This event cel­e­brates more than the cow­boy cul­ture, but the heritage of the com­mu­nity.

A big part of the com­mu­nity has been the Ladies Aid.

Al­most as old as the Stam­pede, the Ladies Aid was founded in 1928. Orig­i­nally known as the Hand Hills United Church Ladies Aid, they or­ga­nized with the pur­poses to deepen the un­der­stand­ing of the church, en­cour­age growth in Chris­tian knowl- edge through wor­ship, Sun­day School and Bible Study, pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for fel­low­ship, de­velop Chris­tian lead­er­ship and pro­vide a com­mon build­ing to wor­ship in.

One of the goals the Ladies Aid ex­celled at was pro­vid­ing funds through giv­ing and ac­cept­able money-rais­ing projects.

Ac­cord­ing to the Hand Hills Heritage his­tory book, as re­counted by Ju­lia Len­festy, one of its first projects was to secure a church build­ing. Un­til then, ser­vices were held in pri­vate homes and the Elmer School. Around this time, a num­ber of ru­ral schools were clos­ing due to lack of pupils. The Ly­man School near Pol­lockville was lo­cated and was pur­chased by the Ladies Aid for the sum of $250; the mov­ing alone cost $300.

The ded­i­ca­tion of the church took place on Oc­to­ber 17, 1933.

The Ladies Aid also cre­ated so­cial buzz and were re­spon­si­ble for many so­cial events, from plays and tal­ent shows to Christ­mas con­certs, they catered many pri­vate events

such as par­ties and fu­ner­als over the years.

Many of these events were fundrais­ers, as the Ladies Aid was re­spon­si­ble to pay church ex­penses, main­te­nance and the Min­is­ter’s salary.

One place the Ladies Aid has a last­ing pres­ence is the Hand Hills Lake Stam­pede booth con­ces­sion. In the early days, some of the men built a booth with a wil­low branch roof. In 1935, the booth was en­larged and a build­ing was added as a cook­house. There was also a small booth on the west side of the track that sold re­fresh­ments, ice cream and candy. That year they cleared $195.

For many ladies in the Hand Hills get­ting in­volved in the Ladies Aid was just the nat­u­ral thing to do, and get­ting in­volved at the Stam­pede fol­lowed.

Irene Mor­ton, who joined the Ladies Aid in the 1950s, cer­tainly took her turn work­ing in the con­ces­sion booth. She has fond mem­o­ries of the Hand Hills Lake Stam­pede.

"My hus­band and I did not miss one un­til our grand­daugh­ter was mar­ried on that week­end,” she said. “We only missed one in 75 years.”

Years later, another com­mit­tee was formed to pay the church ex­penses, but the Ladies Aid re­mained ac­tive, and has sup­ported in the area of 26 sep­a­rate char­i­ties and com­mu­nity groups.

Af­ter the church was closed, it was moved to the Hand Hills Lake Club site.

Ella Beck was a long time mem­ber. She said in a small com­mu­nity it was a ne­ces­sity to get in­volved and the Ladies Aid was the ve­hi­cle. There was also ca­ma­raderie and friend­ship.

Beck and Len­festy said their fi­nal legacy project was the mil­len­nium his­toric marker project. They raised the funds to place sig­nage at many sig­nif­i­cant ar­eas in the com­mu­nity in­clud­ing school­houses, churches and grave­yards.

To­day, the Ladies Aid is no longer ac­tive, and it has been about six years since they have had meet­ings but for Beck, Len­festy and Mor­ton, they are all look­ing for­ward to the cen­ten­nial of the Hand Hills Lake Stam­pede.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.