History shaped by settlement, agriculture, Depression and oil and gas
Rolling mountains, winding rivers and a carefree country lifestyle are the impressions that remain with visitors who experience Sundre and all her glory. But it’s the area’s rich history and pioneer spirit that has set the stage for it to become the Central Alberta gem of today.
The settlement of Sundre occurred over three main periods. The original settlement occurred from 1890 to the beginning of World War I, bringing pioneers eager to test out the tales of the ‘Wild West’. In 1907, N. T. Hagen, the first postmaster, named Sundre after his Norwegian hometown, Sondre, meaning South.
The 1930s were a dark period in Sundre’s history. The drought of the Great Depression ravaged the land, forcing settlers to leave their farms in search of work. For the next 20 years, Sundre experienced little growth. But the arrival of rural electrification in 1951 and a booming oil and gas industry sent the town on an upward swing. It remained a settlement until 1950 when its status was upgraded first to a village, and then to a town in 1956.
Today, Sundre’s population is approximately 2,500. The town continues to attract people looking for quiet and solitude without having to sacrifice modern amenities.
For complete information on our community, please visit the Town of Sundre website or phone 403-638-3551.
Museum Highlights “The Good Ol’ Days”
Step back in history with a visit to the Sundre Museum and Pioneer Village. The large grounds feature a Norwegian log cabin, the area’s oldest schoolhouse and a blacksmith’s house and barn. Displays donated by long-time residents highlight the history of the area, and a fully equipped pioneer home allows you to experience life in the good ol’ days.
Chester Mjolsness’ World of Wildlife Centre
View more than 150 animal mounts from all continents of the world, displayed with backdrops painted to depict the animals’ natural habitat. Come see the Exhibit at the Sundre & District Pioneer Village Museum! For opening hours please visit the website.
History. But with a GREAT view!
Let curiosity take you up, up and away to the Blue Hill Lookout Tower south of Sundre. The skyscraping tower, situated 1,846 meters above sea level will fascinate young and old.
When it was chosen in the 1920s by the federal government as a fire detection site, operator George Pearce built the tower. Before building could begin however, Pearce and his pack horses had to haul the required lumber up terrain so steep that Pearce had to wear hobnail boots to keep from sliding backwards!
Once the pillars were in place, the determined workman built the ladder stick by stick until he reached the top. For many years, Pearce manned the tower, providing weather reports and fire warnings for the government.
Today, Blue Hill is one of the few remaining lookout towers. It is still manned during summer months and times of heavy fire alerts. Vehicle access is not permitted directly to the site. It can be reached however, by taking Highway 584 west to the Coal Camp Road. At the Red Deer River Ranger Station, walk out and follow the signs.