Fresh off the momentum of a well-attended presentation on the history of a local high school, the Chestermere Historical Foundation (CHF) is gearing up to host its next lecture on Jan. 18, focusing on an oft-forgotten legacy in Alberta’s provincial politics.
At 2 p.m. at the Whitecappers 55-plus room in Chestermere that afternoon, CHF member Kay Clarke will present on the history of the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA). Her talk will centre on the 1920s, when the UFA entered politics and actually became the governing party of Alberta.
“I think there are a lot of people who don’t realize the farmers were in power back then, so it’s quite interesting,” said Clarke, who grew up in a farming family just outside Chestermere. “There was a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes goings-on, as I’d put it.”
She said her personal life has some linkages to the UFA, as her father was a member of the party and her brother belonged to the UFA after it became a non-political entity. Clarke still lives in the old farmhouse her grandfather built in 1912, south of the Chestermere neighbourhood of Kinniburgh – she added it's possibly one of the lakeside city's oldest houses.
According to Clarke, most of the information in her one-hour lecture will come from a book called Deep Roots, Promising Future, which was written in 2009 to commemorate the UFA’s first 100 years as an organization. Nowadays, the UFA acts as a farm supply retail cooperative and a supportive association for Alberta’s agriculture industry.
The book is an interesting read, Clarke said, and is available in its entirety online.
The Jan. 18 presentation will mark the CHF’s third presentation in recent months, following lectures on the history of Chestermere High School and Ralph Klein Provincial Park. Founded in 2011, CHF is focused on promoting the history of Chestermere and southeast Rocky View County.
According to Kay, the presentation on Chestermere High School – which marked its 50th anniversary in 2021 – was particularly well received. CHF president Jen Peddlesden said more than 50 people tuned into the presentation either virtually or in person.
Clarke added it is an important endeavour to document and promote local history, which is the CHF's primary objective.
“If we don’t document our own local history, no one else will,” she said. “We’re the ones who know the local history, so we have to be involved in documenting that. I think it’s important in the general scheme of things to each document our local history.”
The Jan. 18 presentation will be offered both in-person and online via Zoom. The lecture will follow the CHF’s regular board meeting at 1 p.m., and all attendees must comply with the Whitecappers' COVID-19 protocols.
The Zoom meeting ID number is 846 0024 1715 and the pass code is 024420.
For more information on the CHF, visit chestermerehistoricalfoundation.org