Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My View #161 - Medicine Hat

Medicine Hat, "the town that was born lucky, with all hell for a basement." That was the quote from the writer Rudyard Kipling.

It was a wonderful place to be born in the year 1913, a very progressive, busy city, with a good climate, one thousand feet above sea level, with the South Saskatchewan River running through it, and gas (natural gas) by the ton under the land.

What a great place, said the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway,) let's build here, a hub city it will be, and it was. So they built a train bridge to cross the river, a Round House, freight yards, a beautiful Station and lovely gardens. This was the hub of the whole city, a CPR city, of about 6000 in 1913.
Photo by Parks Canada from 1976 of the Medicine Hat Railway Station

In the next few years, hundreds of people from Europe and the USA came to farm, build homes and communities and to work in the city. It was very busy and progress was fast. Even then it boasted three big flour mills, a general hospital, nurses' home, maternity hospital, isolation hospital, city hall, beautiful court house, 9 schools, 2 colleges, great library, ice arena, tennis and badminton courts, and more.
Medicine Hat Courthouse. Photo by Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, 2006
When I moved away in 1944, 10,000 people lived there. Now the population is over 44,000, not bad for a small town. My parents loved Medicine Hat, so do I.

Mom/Letty
July 5, 2009
(6 weeks to my 96th birthday - whoopee!)

It is 37 years since I was last in the "Hat" to see Dorothy. (Dorothy Crane, a friend from her youth.)
A view of Medicine Hat in modern times. Photo by JR and Jeremy Steinke
Canada's Historic Places describes the railway station and courthouse and some other historic places in Medicine Hat.
The current (2015) population of Medicine Hat is 61,180.
Medicine Hat was not a railway hub, as Letty believes. Calgary, now a city of over a million, rapidly outgrew Medicine Hat and became the major hub for Alberta. Medicine Hat had railway lines extending south to the US border, and southwest to Lethbridge. Now, many of these branch lines have been abandoned or turned over to other uses.