Editor's Note: On February 25, 1907, the Historical Society of Alberta was formed by an Act of the Alberta legislature. At that time, the province was only two years old and many of its services and amenities were just being established. A land rush by homesteaders was underway and urban real estate was beginning to rear its brazen head. At the beginning of 1907, Edmonton had no street cars, Calgary had no door-to-door mail service, Lethbridge as a city was just one year old, and Red Deer boasted a population of two thousand.
To provide some glimpses of Alberta in 1907, we have drawn upon the news and editorial articles that appeared in The Saturday News, a newspaper out of Edmonton that called itself "Alberta's Provincial Weekly." Besides gathering its own news, editor A. Balmer Watt drew upon news and human interest stories that appeared in local weeklies all across Alberta.
Here are some samples:
Lethbridge celebrated its first birthday as a city last week in suitable fashion, a procession and a programme of sports taking place during the day time and a banquet in the evening. The southern city is making great strides. With its many natural advantages and its progressive citizenship, nothing will hold it back. (May 18, 1907)
Paul Purddis, of Calgary, has resigned his post as engineer of the waterworks and sewer construction in progress at Red Deer. The council decided to stop work for the winter, contrary to his advice. Their decision, he claims, means a loss of $3,000 to the municipality. He urged that it would be difficult to break in the inexperienced gang in the spring, that the trenches if left as they are until then, would collapse and that there would be a lot of trouble in draining them. (January 19, 1907)
The Alberta Navigation company's new steamboat, "City of Medicine Hat," was launched at Medicine Hat last Tuesday in the presence of a concourse of citizens and residents of the district. Miss Isobel Cousins, daughter of the mayor of the city, christened the boat and the mayor made a short address after which Captain H. H. Ross gave the word and the ropes were cut, allowing the big steamer to gracefully glide into the water. The council presented a silver service in honor of the event. The boat will be used on the South Saskatchewan for freight and passengers and can accommodate 58 passengers. (June 15, 1907)
The Government was wise in not leaving the question of a site for the provincial university open for any length of time. The choice narrowed to Strathcona and Calgary and the decision in the former's favor has given no small measure of satisfaction to the people on each side of the river. The advantages which will accrue from such an institution are by no means small. Ten years from now, the university and its affiliated colleges should have between two and three thousand students in attendance, while those employed on the various staffs will number several hundred. But there is not only the addition to the population to consider. The presence of large academic bodies in a city has a broadening and refining influence which is worth a great deal. On the other side of the Saskatchewan from the parliament buildings, an excellent site may be obtained, one that could not be equalled, we believe, elsewhere in Alberta. (April 13, 1907) …