An on-going project of the Chestermere Historical Foundation is to interview people who have lived in the Chestermere Area or used the lake for recreation. CHF wants to preserve their stories through interviews, recordings and video. If you know someone who has been in the area a long time and could add to this interesting history, please contact us.
The George and Del Hampton Story – “Life Is Like Riding A Bicycle, To Keep Your Balance You Have To Keep Moving.”
After WWII where George Hampton served on a frigate he worked as an undertaker for a time at the Little Chapel on the Corner in Calgary, often ‘frightening’ his mom by parking the ‘loaded’ hearse in the driveway at lunchtime. He married Del Schram in 1948 and was employed by her father Lloyd Schram, building and working at a service station in Exshaw on the 1A highway. Moving back to Calgary in 1950 George built their house in Parkdale finishing his working career as a driver for Calgary Transit. In 1956, invited by Art McMann (friend of a friend), George and Del came out to have a look at the lake. They fell in love and bought Lot #158 SE complete with a one room ‘shack.’ No boat? No worries. George built a 12′ boat from a pattern in Popular Mechanics in the basement of their Parkdale home in Calgary, and when it was finished, took out the stair case and the landing to get it out of the house. Good thing he is an expert carpenter. The 1960 photo shows Del and George in their new boat with a 35 HP Evinrude and the ‘shack’ in the background. George recalls that two doors north, Shaws had a big 6 cylinder Evinrude on their boat. One day they decided to take out 8 skiers. George says he was the last one up and that rope was really moving — he nearly flew out of his skis! For daughters Bonnie and Sharon, he built a sail board using his own plan (who knew how far ahead of his time George would be!). Later he constructed two sailboats from, guess where, Popular Mechanics. In 1977 they tore down the ‘shack,’ saving the wood for George to build their first house. Del and George decided to move to Chestermere permanently in 1981, but the house was a bit small. York Shaw lifted the house onto blocks and George added a lower floor. They lived in the upper part for three months until the lower area was framed in. George recalls that it would often sway and there were waves in the toilet! Many of you recall seeing Del and George on their bikes or walking hand in hand to get the mail, smiling and enjoying each other and the joy of living out here at Chestermere Lake. The Hamptons were good friends of Sally and Joe Wilton who also lived on East Chestermere Drive. Though Del and Joe have passed on, Sally and George have remained friends. Sally was a Gr 1 classmate of George’s at Colonel Walker School. If a tall, handsome, grey haired gentleman gives you a wave and a smile as you drive down East Chestermere Drive, good chance it is George. He might be driving, walking, biking or on his motor scooter. You can also find him out with his drone – there is not much of interest that gets past George. One friend gave him a plaque saying ” Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you have to keep moving.” That’s George. Here’s to many more years of being a great citizen of Chestermere!
George and Del in their boat. Their cabin is in the background – circa 1960
George and Del’s story as told to Jen Peddlesden by George Hampton November 2015
The Story of Ralph and Doreen Ford’s House 579 East Chestermere Drive- as told to CHF by Gord Peariso, neighbour and friend of the Fords.
In 1966, according to Growing Through Time, page 107, Ralph and Doreen Ford and their three children, Murray, Jan and Nancy, decided they needed a cabin on their Chestermere lot. At that time, the address was 291 East Chestermere Drive. In Calgary in 1967 there were houses for sale at a good price (Gord recalls they paid $1000) up in northwest Calgary along the route that would become Crowchild Trail. In May of that year, Ralph bought one and engaged York Shaw Movers (the Shaw family were very involved in the early days at Chestermere Lake) to move the house. The roof was removed due to height restrictions during the move, and Ralph and Doreen only needed the top half of the house anyway, so it was cut in half horizontally with top floor arriving, then the roof. The roof was attached once the house was moved onto the lake lot. They had only bedrooms to work with, as the kitchen on the ground floor had been left behind. The first photo is the house as it looked in its original Calgary location. You can see a young man near a Dodge DeSoto car. According to Nancy Ford, that young man ended up meeting and dating her sister Jan.
Thanks to Kay Lowney, a long time cabin owner at Chestermere, many articles and information on the Calgary Yacht Club were preserved. One of these was an article in the Calgary Herald in 1969 reporting that Nancy Ford was the newly elected Secretary and Ralph Ford was the Staff Captain. Other items in Kay’s album indicate that the Fords were active in the CYC for many years.
Only recently has this cabin been torn down. Gord and Marilyn Peariso owned it for many years after the Fords and the lot is the home of Andrew Marriott, owner of the Chestermere Tim Horton’s, who recently completed a new house on that property which is now 580 East Chestermere Drive. Thanks to Gord Peariso for photos and story. July 2017