Council approves grant for historic marker
The Burnt Lake Community Association is one step closer to obtaining a historical marker meant to recognize the former hamlet of Stockholm.
“We were so excited,” said association member Kay Johanson on hearing the news.
During a Red Deer County council meeting April 24, council approved the application for $500 towards the purchase of a marker.
“I think it’s important we remember our history,” Mayor Jim Wood said before the vote. “It’ll be lost if we don’t keep it up to date.”
Stockholm, located about eight kilometres west of Red Deer on Highway 596, was originally known as Swea Colony after a large number of Scandinavians settled in the area in the 1890s, attracted to the pasturage and trees.
In the early 1900s, Stockholm became a thriving and active hamlet after the Red Deer Land Company created the Stockholm townsite in 1903. It became renowned for its cheese factory. As well, a general store, post office, school, stopping house, blacksmith shop and three churches were built and a town survey plot was drawn up.
Its growth was thwarted and the town folded shortly after 1911 when the Alberta Central Railway bypassed the hamlet and people moved away. The hamlet became a ghost town.
Today there are four dwellings on the townsite. The old school is the current community centre where the marker will be placed.
Johanson said there’s still a lot of work to be done. The $500 is just a third of the overall amount they need to pay for the sign. The association is now applying for a government grant, due in June.
“We have a design done up that we like but if we don’t get the money we will have to change it,” she said of a 23-by-60-inch plaque that explains the history of the area starting with information about Swea Colony to the hamlet’s eventual demise.
Johnanson said she would like to find a way to showcase the town survey plot as well and may try to create a secondary sign if possible to hang from the plaque.
“They had streets and avenues that weren’t in Scandinavian names. I think that’s interesting. And I think (Stockholm) in general, is significant."
The Burnt Lake Community Association was the first application for the county’s new historical marker program approved last August. The program allows applicants wanting to designate a site with heritage significance to seek support from the county, including a $500 grant towards historical signage. The policy is an extension of Red Deer County’s Heritage Management Program.