Pioneers settled in the Barons area as far back as 1902 but it wasn’t until the spring of 1909 that the Canadian Pacific Railway bought the present town site of Barons. The station was called Baron, named after a railway official.
Since everyone referred to the businesses in the community as Baron’s bank and store, the name Barons soon evolved.
Barons was incorporated as a municipality in 1910. The new brick school opened in 1912. From these humble beginnings livery stables, hardware stores, a pool hall, three lumberyards and blacksmiths shops all came into the little community over a period of years. The pool hall is now located in Heritage Park in Calgary.
The CPR station played an active part in the growth of the community as did the drilling of the first oil well about eight miles southeast of Barons in 1932.
Barons and the district have been a wheat producing centre and the quality of the grain, produced here have won honors and awards in Chicago, Toronto and Calgary seed fairs.
Barons continues to thrive as an agricultural centre for the area. The community has a population of 341 (2016 Statistics Canada) with solid industrial businesses. It is the home to excellent parks and recreational facilities for everyone to enjoy. Sports have always been very popular with baseball and curling being two of the favorites.
The Barons brick school was turned into the Smallville school for a young Clark Kent during filming of the first movie Superman in 1977.
Located along Highway 3, Barons is just a short distance of 50 km northwest from the City of Lethbridge.
Village of Barons
Ph: (403) 757-3633
Fax: (403) 757-2599
Although Coaldale never had a coal mine, it did get its name because of the coal industry. In 1883, Elliot T. Galt, son of Sir Alexander T. Galt, built a residence in the river bottom south of the high level bridge. He named his new home Coal Dale after the family’s summer home in Scotland and to distinguish it from the community Coalbanks (Lethbridge).
When the CPR was constructed to connect Lethbridge with the CPR line at Dunmore, the CPR honoured the Galt family by naming the first siding east of Lethbridge after their home.
The first stop the train made on its eastern run was at this siding, Coaldale. Around 1905, the Southern Alberta Farms Company owned nearly a township of land including the present site of Coaldale.
Through extensive advertising across Canada and the United States showing hundreds of haystacks from crops grown on irrigation, settlers began buying land and settling in the area.
In the early years, cattle companies located large ranching operations in the area to take advantage of the tall nutritional native grasses that grew in the fertile loam soils.
Soon homesteaders moved to the area and as the sod turned over, fields of wheat, flax, oats, rye and barley became a familiar sight. The railway brought more settlers to the area and the community became a major service centre for farmers and settlers.
Harry Suggitt, one of the owners of the Southern Alberta Farms Company, encouraged the first church, the Methodist, in Coaldale. The first school was built in 1908. In 1916, Mr. Suggitt was responsible for the consolidated school district idea.
In 1917, Coaldale underwent a building boom: stores, hardware, a post office, a butcher shop, a billards store, hay market shed, restaurants, a laundry and the Ellison Milling Elevator.
In 1919, 25 veterans from the war came from all parts of the world and settled north and west of the community. This settlement which was a block of farms was called the Van Horne Colony. Also that year the first Fair and Exhibition was held.
In 1952, Coaldale was incorporated into a town with a population of over 2,000. In 1964, it became part of the County of Lethbridge.
Considered the “Gem of the West”, it was once noted that Coaldale was “the premier wheat producing land in the world”. Coaldale continues to flourish and grow as the centre of irrigation and to be an agricultural gem in this corner of Southern Alberta.
Known as the “Gem of the West”, Coaldale has plenty of attractions to offer visitors. Located 12 km east of Lethbridge, it has a population of 8,215 (2016 Statistics Canada).
Today, almost every need can be filled by the businesses of Coaldale.
Town of Coaldale
Ph: (403) 345-1300
Fax: (403) 345-1311
Coalhurst was named for its imperial coal mine, which opened in 1911, and for an early settler named Jimmy Hurst.
On the morning of Dec. 9, 1935, Coalhurst was a thriving coalmining town of 1,200 people. But that afternoon, a major mine disaster struck resulting in the death of 16 miners. The closing of the mine followed and dealt a blow to the Town that would take years to recover.
In the years that followed businesses and houses were moved out and the town became a virtual ghost town. It was unincorporated and reverted back to hamlet status.
The 1970s saw a renewed interest in the area and people started to look for a quiet place to live away from the city but close enough to have the benefits. Coalhurst was the perfect answer.
The Town of Coalhurst is six miles west of the City of Lethbridge on Highway 3.
Reincorporated in 1979, Coalhurst is a relatively new town rising from the prairies: a small, residential community of 2,668 (2016 Statistics Canada) where residents enjoy the amenities of a large city.
Town of Coalhurst
Ph: (403) 381-3033
Fax: (403) 381-2924
In 1901, the Alberta Railway and Coal Company had title to the land now known as the townsite of Diamond City. The mine officials in the new village applied to have it named Black Diamond after the coal seams that were found by the Diamond Coal Company, but another town in Alberta had already applied for the name, so officials named the village Diamond City. Homesteaders settled on quarter sections of land and if they improved it and lived on it for a year, it was theirs.
Each year more and more prairie was cultivated, the biggest land breaking taking place in 1923. Having the promise of good crops because of the irrigation systems, many new settlers purchased land. Schools and churches were built and the community blossomed. Over the years the mine began to dwindle and the town of nearly 800 people began to diminish. The town status was changed to a hamlet.
A total of 184 live in Diamond City (2016 Statistics Canada) and is approximately 13km north of Lethbridge.
Fairview is located on the eastern boundary of the City of Lethbridge. In the 2016 Census, Fairview had a population of 154.
The people in and around the little community of Iron Springs comprise mostly of Dutch immigrants who came to the area just after World War II.
With the immigration to the area by these Christian Reformed settlers, the countryside took on a whole new appearance. Dairies, chicken and pork producers, feed cattle operations blossomed all over the prairie and down into the coulees of the Little Bow River.
Kipp is a locality, located approximately 29 kilometres northwest of Lethbridge between Highway 3 and a Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) line. Kipp originally began as a trading post called Fort Kipp. Although not at the same location as the fort, Kipp takes its name from Fort Kipp. The original Macleod Trail which came to be known as the Red Trail, and later as Highway 3 went through Kipp. It was first graded in 1918 and graveled in 1928.
Once the road came to the community, population dwindled and today it has only a spattering of residents, but still has one of the largest rail yards in Southern Alberta.
By 1910, Monarch was a thriving hamlet with a branch of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, a one room school, two hardware stores and with all passenger and mail trains stopping there. A brickyard which produced varying qualities of clay bricks kept the community going for a short time.
Highway 3 used to go through Monarch but now bypasses the community completely and over the years population and industry have declined with people moving to larger areas. There are 227 people (2016 Statistics Canada) who reside in this community that is 23km northwest of Lethbridge.
The first settlers to the Nobleford area came in 1904 to take up homesteads on what is now the Picture Butte Road. In 1909, Charles Noble, from Claresholm, purchased a large acreage in the Noble vicinity and opened a branch office of Milnes and Noble Real Estate. At the time, Matt McGregor opened the first store which brought a post office to the area.
In 1913, the name of the area was changed from Noble to Nobleford to differentiate between Noble and a town by the same name in Ontario.
Charles Noble eventually purchased more land and formed the Noble Foundation Company. Because of two years of record breaking crop yields, the little hamlet was growing and in 1918 Nobleford was incorporated as a village. At that time there were 100 residents and Charles Noble was elected the first mayor.
In 1935, Charles Noble invented the Noble Blade and it went into production the following year with a new factory being built in 1941. Over the years, Noble Blade was later sold and changed its name to New Noble, which closed its doors in the fall of 1998.
Nobleford is a growing town located 32 km northwest of the City of Lethbridge. It has public parks, Nobleford Skate Board Park, 3 km paved walking path, Tennis Court, Baseball Diamonds, Soccer Fields, Curling Club, Water Park, and a large Community Centre.
The growing community of 1,278 (2016 Statistics Canada) has a solid, expanding industrial and residential base.
Town of Nobleford
Ph: (403) 824-3555
Fax: (403) 824-3553
With the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District bringing in the endless miles of irrigation systems in 1923 and with the railroad providing access to markets in 1925, settlers from the dryland areas of Southern Alberta came to Picture Butte.
Named by the early settlers because of the excellent view from a knoll southeast of the present town, the community grew rapidly.
In 1947 the historical landmark fill, where First Nations tribes once sent smoke signals to other tribes in pioneer days, was flattened to make room for the present businesses of the town. The dirt from the hill was used to dyke the shoreline of the nearby lake.
The first post office was opened in 1926 and construction of a sugar factory began in 1935. By 1943, the hamlet was incorporated into a village and in 1960, it was big enough to be incorporated into a town.
By 1996, the population of the town had grown to 1,669 residents and it is still growing. By this time not only were there sugar beets, potatoes and corn but farmers were now making a living with grain and forage crops, livestock feeding and dairy farms. Poultry farms and pork producers also added to the economy. Oil companies also had oil batteries and pipeline spotting the prairie.
This prairie community no longer has a viable sugar factory in operation but sugar beets are trucked to loading stations nearby to be shipped to the factory in Taber.
Picture Butte has a population of 1,810 (2016 Statistics Canada) and is a thriving community with urban amenities in a rural setting and is a wonderful place to visit and live.
Town of Picture Butte
Ph: (403) 732-4555
Fax: (403) 732-4334
Pioneers came to the Readymade, Tempest and Chin districts as early as 1912, settling on the prairies.
Though farms are scattered over the now prosperous area, these three areas are still important agriculture centres. Businesses such as hay plants, trucking trailer companies, sod farms, potato processing manufacturing and others have sprung up along Highway 3 making the area one of the most productive in Southern Alberta. The area of Readymade is home to the Readymade Community Centre, where people from the area gather for events and celebrations.
Shaughnessy is a hamlet located approximately 17 kilometres north of Lethbridge. It is named after Baron Shaughnessy, chairman of the mining company that ran the town. The population of Shaughnessy is 415 (2016 Statistics Canada).
The Turin community, located northeast of the City of Lethbridge, got its name from a stallion imported from Turin, Italy.
Most businesses in the Turin area are privately owned and run from local homes and farms. Farming consists of specialized crops on irrigated lands including sugar beets, corn and potatoes.
There is dry land wheat farming and irrigated forage crops, ranching, and chicken, cattle, dairy and pork operations.
Some farmers have diversified into raising llamas and alpacas, boar meat goats and the odd buffalo.
It is a lush farming area with numerous agricultural opportunities.
Wilson Siding was named after E.H. Wilson of the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company in 1908 when a train stop was built on the CPR line.
As trains were run by steam they had to often to take on water, and Wilson Siding, 13km south east of Lethbridge, was one such stop.
The Hutterite colonies have added to the success of the Wilson Siding history having arrived in the area in June 1918 with 45 people and 7 carloads of goods and livestock. Since then colonies have expanded throughout the area.
The Alberta Wheat Pool was formed in 1923 and quickly a Pool elevator was built at Wilson. Today the Alberta Wheat Pool is the only elevator that remains, and it is a large automated grain terminal.