Reflections Project

1reftext77_1_36.gifIt was definitely decided on October 14, 1975, that we would publish a history, and that we would form a society and, therefore, we should meet shortly to look at the requirements to form one.

The following expresses our philosophy:

"We are at the crossroads in terms of publishing this documentary because we are looking back nearly seventy years in terms of white settlement. If the book does not become an accomplished fact immediately, we will have lost our resource people who actually were alive in the pioneer era.

The history will be in response to the nostalgia that people are experiencing now, the desire to enrich the present through knowledge of the past, to acclaim the labors and contributions of pioneers, and, in addition, to more clearly understand ourselves through perception of the shaping influences of the past.

But we are looking at succeeding generations; the richness of their heritage cannot be apparent to them unless it is collected in a form that will be readily available to them to read and view and interpret. In essence, we are giving our local history the element of perpetuity.

The preparation of this book is for us an act of devotion to the pioneers and builders of our community; the history will as well comprise a treasured inheritance for those who follow us.

Furthermore, this book will generate an interest and a determination to continue compilation of events and activities and accomplishments so that the position of historian will become a continuing reality. Never again will anyone need to express concern over the lack of information about this unique community."

It was necessary to establish a time frame. In terms of prewhite settlement, we could go back as far as legend or written record permitted. Developments of the community relating to white settlement would apply to the years 1907 to 1977, a span of seventy years. Pioneer memoirs would be encouraged from residents of the area between 1907 and 1957 and, in fact, would be welcomed from any person who lived within the total trading and service area who wished to be included.

Ila Borowsky was appointed historian for the society. This ensures that there will now be continuity in the process of accumulation and preservation of the story of events that occur in this community, events that either have caused or, alternatively, that touch the lives of residents.

The society executive was first formally created on November 4, 1975. Mr. J. Singbeil, director for the Department of Youth, Culture and Recreation in St. Paul, chaired the portion of the meeting related to election of officers. Mr. Singbeil was in attendance to provide information concerning grants and resource possibilities.

Elected to the executive were, chairman - Mr. S.A. Holthe; vice chairman - Mr. L. Sumpton; secretary . (Mrs.) I. Borowsky; treasurer-Mr. L. Modin. A temporary committee was elected to prepare a recommended Constitution. The following committees and memberships were approved:

Publication: M. Fedorus, I. Borowsky, M. Dumont, M. Aarbo.

Historic Sites: S. Pelech, L. Sumpton, P. Stepa.

Membership: I. Borowsky, M. Aarbo, L. Modin.

Finance: L. Sumpton, L. Modin, M. Aarbo, P. Stepa.

Program: M. Dumont, S. Pelech.

The chairman was to be a member of each committee.

At the meeting on December 8, 1975, committees brought in their reports and recommendations. The Publications Committee verified recommendations that the book be written. The following were considered relevant in the accumulation of material: taped interviews, written reports, biographical accounts, autobiographical accounts, research from books, research from newspapers, research from Provincial Archives, time lines, maps, charts, sketches, songs, pictures, cartoons. In all things there must be a sense of history.

The Constitution, as proposed by the committee, was approved after minor amendments were made.

The Finance Committee recommended that a local canvass be carried out and that a donor of $50.00 or more receive recognition in the book.

The society accepted an invitation to participate in the program at the Annual Banquet and Meeting of the Elk Point Chamber of Commerce on January 14, 1976. Dr. Lunn, Assistant Minister of Culture was the main speaker. He discussed means of preserving Alberta's history. Information regarding the society and its committees, as supplied by S. Holthe, I. Borowsky, M. Dumont, S. Pelech, M. Aarbo and L. Modin, related to this theme particularly well.

On January 24,1976, a most intensive and comprehensive workshop was structured by Ian Pattison, Ermiline Ference and Sherry Ingram, all from the Provincial Museum and Archives. They outlined the aim, objectives and methods of collection and documentation of historical information. The encouragement and motivation exhibited by this trio certainly energized us at this early stage, and impressed upon us to a greater extent the significance of the task we were under-taking.

Committee members agreed to take turns in preparation of a news item for the weekly edition of the St. Paul Journal.

An application to the Department of Internal Revenue was prepared to secure authorization for donors to exempt contributions from Income tax.

Mr. Don Mayne, New Horizons, met with representatives from the Historical Society and the Elk Point Pioneer Circle on June 5 and outlined application procedures, the nature of a potential grant, the type of expenditures that could be approved, and the suggested composition of the administrative committee. This grant was of greatest assistance in financing compilation. The cooperation and encouragement of the Pioneer Circle can only be described as excellent.

Following is a listing of the members of the administrative committee, whose function it is to monitor and approve all expenditures under the terms and conditions of the grant:

Arthur Miller, Anne Kates, Hazel Hannah, Ila Borowsky, Max Borowsky, Nellie Merrick, Bea Sumpton, Lawrence Sumpton, Marion Smith, Harold Smith.



Paper, envelopes, etc.                               $ 75.00

Postage-books                                         $500.00

letters $100.00                                        $675.00


Office space and storage of files            $300.00


Long distance telephone                       $300.00


Rental-typewriter at $9.00 per mo.      $100.00

Purchase-tapes                                     $ 50.00

filing cabinet $150.00                         $300.00


Copying photographs                          $100.00

Filing folder, wrappers, etc.  $100.00   $200.00


Typing 1,800 pages at 50 cents            $900.00

Seminars on writing histories $100.00

Mileage for gathering information  $300.00 $1,300.00

    TOTAL:                                          $2,975.00

In keeping with our desire to fully inform our community concerning the book, and as well to share our experience with others, (Mrs.) I. Borowsky was a guest speaker at the annual conference of Women of Unifarm in Elk Point on June 9, 1976.

Government House, Edmonton, had been undergoing renovations and was formally re-opened on August 2, 1976. The names of a number of Elk Point residents were suggested by the Historical Society to receive invitations. Some of these were able to attend and share in the dedication of this beautiful building. Among these were Mr. and Mrs. L. Sumpton, Mr. and Mrs. P. Stepa, (Mrs.) M. Dumont, (Mrs.) Jan Srinivason and Miss Linda Dinnan.

Communication with potential publishers was commenced in September, 1976. This required a great deal of deliberation. We looked very carefully at printing costs, quality of sample books, the amount of prepayment, the nature of ad-vice and guidance that would be forthcoming from the representative of the company, the firmness of his committments to meet deadlines, and we also considered most carefully possible instances of variation in the printing cost structure due to matters beyond our control, or concerning which we lacked knowledge or expertise.

A panel of society members participated in the program at the annual Elk Point Night in Edmonton on October 23, 1976. The capsule account of our progress was supplied by M. Dumont, I. Borowsky, M. Holthe and S. Holthe.

It proved advantageous to shop around for financing. In our case, we found the Treasury Branch at Bonnyville to be the most considerate of our needs.

Deadlines were established for submission of material. These are essential if the editor and the printer are to meet their respective deadlines. We were most appreciative when Mary (Loftus) Bennett consented to accept the task of editing the book.

Alberta Culture will consider an application for a grant consisting of up to 50 per cent of the editor's fees and 10 per cent of printing costs. However, the maximum grant is set at $5,000.00.

A brief was prepared and presented to M.L.A. Grant Notley on the occasion of his meeting with the Chamber of Commerce on December 1, 1976. Recommendations for government consideration included increased publication grants due to inflating printing costs, increased funding for local museums and heritage centers.

A new regional Learning Resource Centre was formally dedicated at St. Paul on December 6, 1976. On that occasion the chairman, S. Holthe, spoke briefly, outlining the steps in the preparation of the history book. A copy of the total process is to be stored in that centre when we have finally completed our project.

We have supported the Chamber of Commerce in their efforts to secure the restoration of the Fort George-Buckingham House furtrading complex. To this end, for example, a brief was read by S. Holthe to the Northern Development Council when it appeared in Elk Point on March 18, 1976. This brief urged the reconstruction of the structures on the original site. Actually, Alberta Culture is quite interested in this project, but future developments will depend upon the availability of funding.

The deadline for completion of the last material was established as March 31, some thirteen and a half months after we started our research.

It is to be noted that (Mrs.) Anna Mae Warren became a director of the society at the first annual meeting, November 25, 1976, replacing (Mrs.) Myrna Fedorus, who had withdrawn from major involvement quite early in the project.

Research toward this book has been completed, and we are looking beyond the immediate project. A great deal of work will still be required before the history is in the hands of the reader but some long-range planning is desirable at this time.

We are determined that this book shall not be the sum total of our historical activities. As stated previously, we appointed a historian to act as custodian of subsequent records and information relating to the development and extension of this community, and of the accounts of events that affect the people who are part of it.

It is apparent to us that we must do more than collect information; we must compile it in a form that can be reproduced and made available to any persons who will value a continuous record. Accordingly, we plan to print an annual supplement which can include correction of incorrect data in this book if such occurs, and which will, each year, summarize the activities and expansions of the town, of local government, clubs and organizations. We cannot be certain right now of the exact form in which the material will appear, but we are resolved to provide this service to all interested persons whether they are resident in the community or remote from it.

The perpetuation of the Elk Point Historical Society will therefore be ensured as well.



BACK ROW, Left to Right: M. Fedorus, A. Warren, P. Stepa, M. Aarbo, S. Pelech.

FRONT ROW: L. Modin Treasurer, L Borowsky -Secretary, L. Sumpton - Vice-Chairman, S. Hoithe - Chairman. MISSING: M. Dumont.