Friday, April 25, 2014

1937 Peace River Fire Department

PRMA AR89.29.1, Gift of Charlie Briscoe
The 1937 Peace River Fire Department is seen here, posed with new equipment. Charles Briscoe, Ray Lahey, and Earl Lahey are the last three men in the back row (from centre to right). Earl Boyd is third on the left in the bottom row. The identity of the remaining men is unknown.

One of the inaugural steps taken by the newly minted Council for Peace River Crossing in October of 1914 was to establish a volunteer Fire Department. Armed with lanterns, buckets, ropes, axes, ladders and two chemical cylinders, the twenty-five volunteers who stepped forward to fill firemen’s boots defended the town from the very real threat of flames. Fires have ravaged Peace River several times over the years, including large blazes in 1915, 1932 and most significantly in 1962.
This year, the Peace River Fire Department celebrates their Centennial Year (1914-2014). Come learn more about the Fire Department and other historic centenaries in the Peace River History Gallery at the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Waters Rise Again

Since Peace River Crossing was given village status in 1914, floods have been a frequent visitor. Coincidentally, Tuesday night’s flood occurred exactly one hundred years after Pat’s Creek flooded in 1914, killing a team of bay horses in the process. In addition to the floods of the 2000s, Peace River also flooded several times throughout the 20th Century. The following photos, from the archives, illustrate some of those occasions when Peace River has found itself under the rising waters.
A Bay Team
 Pat's Creek Flood
x87.1521.35 : Gift of the Alexander [Mackenzie?] Historical Society

Eric Piggott's Family
Possible Heart River Flood 
79.1075.19 : Gift of Barbara Crawford

The Filling Station, Near Current CKYL Building
Pat's Creek Flood
77.801.56 : Gift of William Plaizier

Building a Sandbag Barrier on Main Street
Pat's Creek Flood
87.1536.6 : Gift of the Peace River Record Gazette

West Peace River Home in Flood Waters
Peace River Flood
72.482.f : Gift of Mrs. J. Mitchell

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Artifact of the Week - HBC Fur Press

Our featured artifact this week is the Hudson's Bay Company fur press, used in Peace River until 1955. After that, Leonard McArthur, a former fur buyer for the Hudson's Bay Company, kept it on his farm. When Bruce McPhail bought the McArthur farm, he decided to donate the press to the Peace River Museum and Archives.

This fur press was made in the 1880s in England and sent to Canada for use in the Peace River Hudson's Bay Company Store. It was used to press fur from various animals into bundles (sometimes called 'packs') that were sent out of the Peace Country and all the way to England. Someone would have to climb up on top of the press and turn the top bar of the screw mechanism. Turning that top bar pushed a plate down on top of the furs, compressing them into 90 pound bails. 

In the 80 years that the furs were transported out of this area, 47 million pelts made their way from the Peace Country to England. Beaver was the most desirable of the pelts, though fox and marten were also trapped. Beaver pelts were made into fashionable hats in England, while fox and marten furs were made into fashion accessories. 

PRMA 68.11 - The fur press set up with furs in the Mackenzie Gallery.  
The fur press is on display in the Mackenzie Gallery at the Peace River Museum and Archives. Near the fur press lurk several animals that trappers would have been keen to capture during the days of the fur trade.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Artist of the Month - Rhonda-Lynne Lanctot

Featured this month on our art wall is Rhonda-Lynne Lanctot. She has installed a photography exhibition, specifically featuring close-ups and macro shots of flowers.

While Rhonda-Lynne's favourite subject for photography is flowers, she also enjoys photographing her children, her dog and horses, wildlife and landscapes. Photography was always an interest of Rhonda-Lynne's but it became a serious love in 2009 when she received her first DSLR camera for Christmas. Since then she has completed 3 years worth of 365 day photo challenges on the internet and is currently embarking on a professional course offered through The New York Institute of Photography.

Before getting into photography, Rhonda-Lynne was known for the teddy bears she designed under the name "Lanctot's Loveables Teddy Bears". Those bears can now be found in many magazines, books, homes and museums, world-wide.

Although Rhonda-Lynne was born and raised in Calgary, she and her husband Rob decided to settle in Peace River to raise their family.

This exhibit sets us up perfectly to welcome Spring and the flowers it will bring.

Rhonda-Lynne's work will be on display until April 30th and is free to view.