Evansburg and Entwistle are full of history in and outside of the museum. Some of the history is easy to see. Some is secretly lying beneath our feet. And some has been erased by our hands at different points in time.
You can view "Our Hamlets as a Museum" by either touring to each location on the map to view it in its current iteration, or read the profiles and view the photos below as you imagine the difference between our hamlets today and our hamlets in the past. This is a living project and we would love to add more locations! If you have suggestions for locations to profile please fill out a form at the bottom of the page!
If you have vintage photos of any of the locations featured here, or ones you wish to see profiled, get in contact!
When walking around our hamlets we can consider all of this history together: the geological history that is laid bare for all to see in the Pembina and Lobstick river vallies, the history that we cannot see in our townsites, the history of the indigenous peoples whose territory is occupied by our hamlets, and then perhaps the easiest way to think of our hamlets as a museum is when we look at any still standing structures, or still existing marks on the land. Explore Evansburg and Entwistle's history by visting the locations profiled on this page. A map has been provided to show you where each location is. View two old maps of Evansburg below to compare the Evansburg of the past to the one we see today. Each location off of our google map is profiled below so that you can see photos of the location in the past and compare to how the location looks today!
Our hamlets occupy land in Treaty 6 territory, on traditional lands of Métis, Cree, Stoney, Nakota, and Tsuu T’ina people. We are neighbours to the Paul First Nation and mânitow sâkahikanihk. Learn more about the territories you interact with by visiting this map
In our hamlets much of the tangible evidence of the indigenous people that have lived here for tens of thousands of years has been covered or removed. Settlers disturbed much of the historical items and places that were used by indigenous people in any given area. We have to ask ourselves questions as we walk around our communites such as: What was this place called before Europeans settled? Is the abundance of one type of food plant in this area due to cultivation by the indigenous people? What did the land look like before European settlers? Questions like these can help up begin to see the marks that were left on the land as the indigenous peoples lived on and cared for it.
The beginnings of the settler history in our hamlets is also now unseen. Though some evidence of our mining past may be found if you keep your eyes to the ground, the buildings and infrastructure from this industry are now gone. As you walk around the hamlets, especially Evansburg, consider the intricate network of mine shafts under your feet.
When you stand in Tipple Park you are standing in the location of the coal mine that once operated in Evansburg. The park, and the museum, is named after the coal tipple (the thing in the photos that looks like tall scaffolding), that once was used here. The tipple works similiarly to a grain elevator and allowed the coal to be loaded onto train cars. Since mine operations ceased almost all traces of the coal mine have been erased. Can you find any indications in the park that point toward its coal mining past?
This building is now a private residence but at one point in time served as the police barracks in Evansburg. In the twenties when the house was first purchased by the government for use as a police detachment Alberta still had the Alberta Provincial Police. In the thirties the APP was dissolved and duties were taken over by the RCMP. The house served as a police barracks until 1937 when the detachment moved to Entwistle.
The main floor of the house is where business concerning policing the citizens of Evansburg took place. This floor had an office for the officers, a jail cell, and when needed a space to hear court trials.
If you compare these photos to the house that you can see today it will appear different. Some of the most recent owners of the house undertook extensive renovations, and during that period put an addition onto the house. The addition contains the structure that looks a litlte but like a castle turet, while the part of the house shaped somewhat like an old barn is the original structure.
Advent Lutheran Church
Formerly the Evansburg United Church. Items that belonged to the United Church including the pulpit, bible, banners, and projector can be seen on display at the museum. The church opened in 1926 and many of the building's original features can be seen inside and out. An addition eventually added space to the back of the building for the pastor's office. Today the Advent Lutheran congregation meets in this building. For more information about their events and services visit their webpage.
Evansburg Legion and Cenotaph
The Royal Canadian Legion - Evansburg Branch No. 196 was granted charter in 1946. The cenotaph that remebers local military personel can can found north of the legion hall. The legion originally met in the community hall but when it burned down the legion raised funds to rebuild "The Royal Canadian Legion Community Hall" and in 1949 the hall re-opened to the public. The legion has been very active in the community throughout the years and have enriched the community by donating to many local causes. Today the lounge in the legion is open to the public and holds events throughout the year. For more information on their events, check out the legion's Facebook page.
The ferry steps can attribute their name to the ferry that allowed people to cross the river before any bridges were built across this section of the Pembina. Before the first low level bridge was built across the Pembina River a ferry service operated to get people across the river, and between Evansburg and Entwistle. Today this piece of our community's past is preserved in the walking trails in the river valley, part of which consist of the "Ferry Steps" from Evansburg down to the river. A full map of the trails in the Pembina River Provincial Park can be found via Alberta Parks.
The site of the Pembina River Provincial Park campground was once the location of a National Defense Camp. The camp opened in 1933 and housed single, unemployed men during the depression. The men were provided with a place to live, meals, clothing, and a small amount of money in exchange for completing work to widen the highway. As the strain of the depression eased, the men found employment elsewhere. In 1937 the camp became a Rest Camp for unemployable or destitutue men who could live there for free until they started receiving their Old Age Pension, then they paid $25 of their pension per month to live at the Rest Camp. The camp closed in 1953 and the buildings were moved away.
CNR Bridge Pilings
Remnants of the Canadian Northern bridge can be seen in the Pembina River Provincial Park campground to this day. The Canadian National Railway crossed the Pembina River before its stop in Evansburg. Beginning at Evansburg the Canadian National Railway and Grand Trunk Railway ran almost side by side on their northern route toward mountain passes, and eventually, the Pacific Ocean. It was not uncommon for the national rail lines to run so close to each other at this time as many companies were racing to connect Canada from coast to coast. Rail travel connected the small, rural communites of Alberta at this time. The later closure of many of these train stations and railways contributed to the decline of many rural communites.