Drumheller’s ar­chi­tec­tural

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In a piece for the CBC’s fea­ture series Cal­gary at a Cross­roads re­cently pub­lished, author Aritha Van Herk com­pared the iden­tity of her city to the char­ac­ter of some of the world’s best known and, of­ten, overblown me­trop­o­lises. She wrote, “Lon­don re­sides in its stately im­pe­ri­al­ism, New York swag­gers on size. We’re nei­ther, not nearly as staged or as ven­er­a­ble. Our fan­tasies are lo­cal, del­i­cate in their un­fold­ing. We think of neigh­bour­hoods and dy­nas­ties smaller than cul­tural mega­liths or em­pires.”

The protagonists in our sto­ries are small com­pared to those he­roes of Europe’s grand his­to­ries. The prairies are founded by the strug­gling mer­chant with keen busi­ness savvy, sweat-browed ranch­ers and farm­ers liv­ing a life of sub­sis­tence, set­tlers stum­bling ass-back­wards onto pro­duc­ing land. Drumheller is not founded as a re­sult of some great bat­tle for ter­ri­tory even­tu­ally named for the win­ning king – Drumheller was named after a sim­ple coin toss be­tween two sim­ple men.

Our Euro­pean prairie nar­ra­tives are young and still de­vel­op­ing, most no more dis­tant than a pal­try one hun­dred years – our be­gin­nings are of­ten not much older than our first build­ings. Our his­tory and the build­ings it de­vel­oped in are, un­like the re­main­ing ru­ins of other, more an­cient civ­i­liza­tions, still present and es­sen­tial in un­der­stand­ing our roots, our his­tory, and our di­rec­tion.

Cat­a­loging the his­tory of our prairies is of the ut­most im­por­tance, and this his­tor­i­cal project is look­ing for as­sis­tance from the peo­ple of Drumheller in keep­ing and record­ing our all too frag­ile his­tor­i­cal record.

Cen­tury 21 is con­tin­u­ing the work of ear­lier lo­cal his­to­ri­ans in a blog on their web­site, “Sto- ries Be­hind Down­town Drumheller Build­ings,” which aims to keep a record of the sto­ries and de­vel­op­ments tied to Drumheller’s ear­li­est build­ings lo­cated in the down­town. It con­tin­ues the work of lo­cal his­to­rian Michael Gaschnitz, who pub­lished a

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