Welcome to Camrose Founders Days Festival Website

Celebrations at Camrose Founders Days Festival August 9th - 11th, 2013, will mark 100 year milestones for many Camrose organizations. Daily activities take place Downtown on Main Street, Camrose Centennial Museum and the Camrose Railway Station Museum & Park. See the schedule for details. At Founders Square we will honour several Founders with plaques added to the walls of the fountain.

1913 Highlights:

  • With record construction - the town hired a building inspector in 1913
  • John Russell resigned to become an Inspector of schools in southern Alberta.
  • On June 26, 1913 Camrose Lutheran College Old Main was dedicated with impressive and appropriate ceremonies to the cause of Christian education.
  • Staff at the Normal School increased and was still housed in the Camrose High School (later to be named the John Russell School). Music, physical training, manual training and household arts were added to the existing curriculum. Leo Pearson came to Camrose from Columbia University and Miss Haughan, from Edmonton was hired as librarian. There were 30 students.
  • The Camrose Canadian ran a contest, dominating the news for several weeks. Prize was a Younge Bros Canadian Piano.
  • Camrose Seed Fair was held in the town hall with $130 in prizes awarded.
  • Curling continued to play a major role in the community. There were many rinks lined up to play for the Tuxedo Trophy that dominated the news.
  • The Camrose Youngsters Hockey team was the pride of Camrose sports community over the winter of 2013. They worked well together, earning them the Canadian comment “They work like beavers.”
  • Local undertaker Hiram Burgar added a hearse to his equipment.
  • A by-law was carried unanimously by town council to subscribe to $5000 worth of stock in Camrose Natural Gas Co.
  • A front page story in the Canadian reported that a group of school boys wandered away from the watchful eye of their teacher and broke a neighbors window. They were assessed 10¢ each and it was suggested that they would be good candidates for the cadet corps.
  • Council became concerned about back taxes owed with a headline that read “Delinquents will receive notice of this on embossed note paper sent out by town solicitors.”
  • Geology lecture attracts a crowd.
  • Citizens looked forward to the Department of Agriculture bring a “School for Agriculture” to the door of Alberta farmers; scheduled in Camrose Feb 17-22. The 1913 Ski Tournament, organized by the Fram Ski Club, brought excitement to Camrose – a 75 foot high scaffold was constructed for it, 25 feet higher that the 1912 jump – expectations were that the competition would be thrilling! Stores and businesses closed in the afternoon in consideration of the tournament. A great banquet and dance was held in the David Theatre where the trophies were awarded. Unfortunately the weather was frightfully cold and the tournament was not as well attended as anticipated.
  • Town Council was treated to a new meeting place – the luxuriant offices of Mayor Layton. With a donated box of cigars by Constable Carter, the meeting proceeded with good cheer. It was expected that council will enjoy the winter meetings.
  • On March 5th, Rev. J.R. Lavik was appointed president of Camrose Lutheran College, following the resignation of Professor Tandberg.
  • In 1913, College, school and church notes were front page in the Canadian. On January 30 it was reported that the total number of students registered at Camrose College was 107.
  • The water rate was set at a moderate level so all households could afford it, with an expected monthly bill less than $2.
  • There were reduced rates on all railway lines operating in and out of Camrose for a June 7th Sports Day celebration, leading to the headline “All Roads Lead to Camrose.”
  • The 2nd female mayor in North America was elected in a little “cow town” called Dayton, Wyoming.
  • Council determined there would be no reduction to the College electric light bill.
  • Citizens began to suggest ways to beautify Camrose, concerned with the number of empty lots that were infested with weeds and old rubbish.
  • A February article suggested that a New York hotel had a scheme to overcome tipping. “The best remedy would be not to build them so high.”
  • Western Canadian farmers began to diversify into sheep, 2013 seeing about 100,000 range sheep brought in from Montana. Money was made.
  • A local machinist, Chas. B Eltrich invents and patents clothes washer, said would prove very popular with housewives.
  • The dedication of the Camrose Lutheran College on June 26 proved to be the largest gathering of Norwegian Lutherans in the history of the province, including 100 pastors.
  • Work on the new Normal School building began in 1913 and by the fall of that year the foundations had been completed. They were banked with straw until the spring of 1914 when work resumed.
  • Dr. W.H Murray graduated from a Boston University in 1909 and came to Camrose to establish his practice in 1913. He became a town councillor and took part in many other activities in town.
  • Peter Borud came in 1913, primarily as a jeweller. During his life in Camrose he graduated from the British Columbia School for Optometry and began to practice his skill in Camrose. He retired from the profession in 1951.
  • The Camrose Transfer Co., owned by George M. Fisher and specialized in draying, opening an office in Camrose. John Adkins opened a livery stable.
  • In 1913 the town had matured to the point that the council considered payment to the firemen and advertised for a Chief, an assistant and six reel men. In the following year the town provided for extensions to the water and sewer lines and approved an extension to the fire hall.
  • A choir at the Camrose College, although it doesn’t actually say that it was the first choir, there is no mention of it previously.
  • From the earliest years of this existence, Camrose Lutheran College has been actively involved in the teaching and performance of music. The Announcements for 1913 states that “The College has a Band, which gives those interested an opportunity to get training as band players. It also has a Choir and several smaller musical organizations.
  • About 1913 John Kubbernus, who lived on his farm about two miles north of Camrose, delivered milk in cans and sold to his customers any quantity required.
  • Probably the best known veterinarian in early Camrose, was Dr. CWJ Haworth who had graduated from Ontario Veterinary College in 1905 and practiced in Camrose from 1913 – 1925 before moving to Edmonton to become a meat inspector.
  • Blacksmith JJ Smith, took over the original Haugen stand with the caption: “Horse Shoeing is My Special Line.”
  • In 1913 Peacock and Wade opened a fox-breeding farm in northwest Camrose. The farm was located on the banks of Stoney Creek almost north and little east of Pedersen’s greenhouse and north of the CPR tracks. The farm operated for a number of years. In 1913 the local fox breeders held a meeting and banquet in the Windsor Hotel at which time they organized, and Steven I. Peacock was elected president.
  • The first ice carnival was held in the rink in February 1913. (enclosed rink, previous ice carnival’s held on the outdoor rink).
  • In 1913 the firm of Jackson and Mc Isaac established a law practice in Camrose. Their office was over the Molsons Bank. Shortly following the establishment of the practice, McIsaac left Camrose and was later appointed a judge in the Peace River Country. LR Jackson then continued on his own until he was appointed to the position of Police Magistrate with headquarters in Camrose. Police Magistrate Jackson held court in the old Canadian Club Building which by the mid-1920’s had become a court house.
  • The first steam laundry was opened in Camrose in 1912 and was owned by C. Van Trakranen. A second steam laundry was opened in 1913 by Lars Larson.



Chester Ronning Chester Ronning

Chester Ronning was a respected Canadian diplomat who constantly strove for better relations between the East and West. For 25 years he was a pioneer in bridging communications between China and North America. Born in China in 1894, son of Lutheran missionaries, he grew up speaking Chinese. A portion of his childhood was spent on a homestead near Bardo.

In 1927, Dr. Ronning became principal of Camrose Lutheran College, living the next 15 years a few blocks from the College with his wife Inga and raising six children. During this time Chester Ronning took up painting, and sculpting, and also directed several choirs.

He left this position during the Second World War and served in Intelligence. Over the next 25 years he served in diplomatic posts in China, Norway, India and the United Nations. He participated in the international commissions on Korea and Laos and undertook special missions to Hanoi in attempts to mediate an end to the Vietnam War.

Among many honors, he was designated an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1967 and became a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1972. In Camrose an elementary school is named in his honor as well as the Augustana campus Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life.

Chester Ronning passed away in 1984 at the age of 91 years and is buried in the Camrose Valleyview Cemetery.