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
The Story of Roseanne Jackson and her HUGE Pike 1964
One of the errata for the 2005 history books is the omission of the story that goes with the picture on page 192. Unfortunately the story of the OTHER big fish caught in Chestermere, and which was stuffed and is hanging in the City of Chestermere Municipal Building unfortunately got missed. Here it is, so you can hear what happened the fateful day she put her rod into the water.
In June of 1964, Roseanne Jackson of Calgary landed one of the largest fish ever caught in Chestermere Lake. It was by chance that Roseanne was fishing that day. She and husband Harvey were visiting Doris and Bob Kane ( West side of the Lake) who had just bought a new motorboat. After the first spin around the lake, the four decided to try a bit of fishing. Roseanne’s rod was baited first and while the rest of them were still attaching worms, Roseanne was shouting, “I’ve got a fish!” Nearly 100 feet of line was quickly run out from Roseanne’s salmon rod. After an hour of manoeuvring through the weeds, the big pike was finally near the boat. They had to use a hand net at each end to haul it in. This all took place about 200 yards off shore from Orley and Mildred Brinker’s cabin. Excited about how much the pike might weigh, they took it to the Chestermere store for a check. It was 23 1/2 pounds. Such a prize is worth keeping, so they immediately had it mounted by a taxidermist by the name of Erickson. Unlike the techniques used today, he used the whole fish, not just the skin over a foam core. Nearly two years later, 1966, Roseanne was pleased to receive a trophy from Sick’s Brewery Ltd Lethbridge, recognizing her feat. The problem was, the trophy said 23 lbs, yet the fish was really 23 ½.
On July 20th, 2009 at 5:30pm Roseanne and Harvey presented this fish and trophy to the Town of Chestermere for the historical display in the Library. It hangs there today, along with the framed trophy which Roseanne also donated to the Historical Foundation.
An Even Bigger Fish Story
February 20 2018 – Thanks to Dave Ladner for digging this story out of his files.
From “The Calgary Herald, Heading Out This Weekend column Friday Aug 14 1992. Chestermere Lake ( east of Calgary): Could be a hot spot this weekend. Wednesday, a 13-pound Lake Whitefish was brought into a Calgary fishing store. Unfortunately the angler had run over the fish with his boat and scooped it out of the water. Had he caught the fish it would have been a world record. The current world record is 14 pounds, six ounces. (The Chestermere fish had been cleaned before it was weighed.) The current Alberta Record is just over 10 pounds. Try wire worms or maggots or both.”
There was a follow up printed in The Calgary Herald Saturday September 5th 1992 ” MYSTERY SOLVED The mystery of the Chestermere Lake Monster has been solved–sort of. Our Heading Out fishing report a few weeks ago told about a 13-pound lake whitefish brought into a local sporting goods store. It sparked considerable interest since the world record is just more than 14 pounds, the Alberta record just over 11. The fish had been cleaned, the head removed. Chestermere resident Jfff Badyk read the report and chuckled. A few days earlier, he and his son Jeffrey, were fishing in their boat when they heard a thud. Shutting down the outboard, they found a huge injured whitefish–silver-scaled flank slashed by the prop–floating in the boat’s wake. They cleaned the fish and tried to give it away to neighbors. When all refused the offer, Badyk threw the headless whitefish in the lake for the seagulls. That’s when it must have been picked up by other anglers who bought it to Calgary. Doug Lowe, Fisheries biologist with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, says he didn’t know Chestermere held any whitefish. He suspects the monster was so big because it had non-functioning sex organs, meaning all its energy was used for growing rather than reproducing.”
1440 17a St SE, Calgary
Another ‘Fishy’ Story about Chestermere Lake
At one of the recent Chestermere Historical Foundation programs, a long time resident on East Chestermere Drive commented that the lake had been stocked by her neighbour with Walleye years ago. It turns out that that neighbour was Roland Paquette, who worked at the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery in Calgary 1440 – 17 A Street SE. Roland was father to Wayne Paquette former fire chief for the Volunteer Fire Department of the Summer Village of Chestermere, and grandfather of Brent Paquette, who presently works at the Chestermere Fire Department.
Of course, as the title belies, it is just another fishy story! According to Wayne, ” It was one of those things Grandad said he always wanted to do but he couldn’t get the OK to do it. The story got around that he did it but it never happened there are a few Walleye in the Bow river and that is where the lake is filled from so there is the odd one here and that is why the story was believed to be true but it is not…he did not, I repeat he did not, put [fish] into the lake. He always wanted to put some Walleye newly hatched in which was highly illegal. So it never ended up happening.”
There is much more about the fish that inhabit Chestermere Lake in the pages of ‘Chestermere A Home for All Seasons’. There are still a few copies of this history book available, contact us for information or buy one through our webpage.
Busses and Horses – School Bus Stories from Len Baldwin Senior.
Rockland School Horse Barn ( as told to Jennifer Peddlesden by Len Baldwin Jr. Aug 2003)
Len Baldwin Jr recalls clearly remembering when he was a youngster helping his Dad Archie Baldwin and Uncle Len ( Len Baldwin Sr) move the horse barn from Rockland School. They hauled it at night, on a skid behind on of his Dad, Archie’s gravel trucks. The horse barn was taken to the farm property owned by Len Baldwin Sr., now on the SE corner of East Chestemrere Drive and Merganser Drive East. In its former life, this barn would shelter the horses used by the children attending Rockland School . Later, on Len’s property, it became the bus barn for the school buses that Len drove over the years. One can still see the little barn as the largest of the outbuildings on the property along East Chestermere Drive, just south past the four way stop.
Len Baldwin Jr also recalls two stories about Uncle Len and horses. First, Uncle Len had to transport a Shetland pony. He decided the easiest way was to load it into the school bus for transport! And that was not the only thing that connected his bus to a horse—Len was travelling east of Chestermere in the bus and came across a dead horse on the road. He immediately tied it behind the bus, dragged it home and as it was winter and the horse was frozen, cut it up to use for dog meat.