Tag: Early Kooka

617. Monday 28th May 2018. Heritage Park…

Monday 28th May

Today has enough information and photos to deserve its own post.

The head cold which gave notice of arriving two days ago attached itself to me with lots of venom and took over my life. I ignored the early warning signs but it was no use. Donnis and Joan dosed me up with preventatives and symptom easing lotions, potions, vaporub and Panadol.

The day dawned sunny but not warm until about 10am.

Along with Joan, Andrea and her two boys Miles and Evan, we went to Heritage Park Historical Village.

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The log cabin Opera House with an early model still operational truck.

The park is built on part of what is known as the Glenmore Reservoir, water supply for the city of Calgary. The reservoir is built on the Elbow River which drains snow melt from the Rockies some 60 Klms to the west. The park is a 127 acre prime real estate on a peninsular of land. It has 180 different exhibits including an Amusement Park for younger children.

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The BIG ferris wheel. Miles was adamant he wanted to go on the small ferris wheel.
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We called these Swing Outs when we were kids. Notice the Rocky Mountains in the background.
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The attractive young lady in charge of this ride was bored and must have had a heavy night the night before.
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Joan and Miles are enjoying this still functional 100 year old ride.

First up I should mention that the train ride which travels around the peninsular was closed. No reasons were given.

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We really liked the timber work in this carriage. It’s a pity the train was not running.

Next the steam driven paddle wheeler was not operating. For this we were given an explanation. The reservoir dam wall further downriver is being extended so the water level has been lowered to allow work to proceed…for the next three years. Basically the area the paddle wheeler operates is not much more than a few sandy waterholes.

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Normally the water level is as high as the tree line. That is the reason the paddle wheeler was not in operation. Note the Rockies in the background.

Also closed off is an area of wonderful statues of native animals. Although they can be seen through the wire fence it is not suitable for photos . My other disappointment is the three levels of early car exhibits is confined to only two floors and much of those two floors are about early 1900’s cars plus hundreds of old fuel bowsers. There was a third floor with signs encouraging people to go to the top level to see the display. We did. The floor was empty. The rest of what we saw was fascinating  but regrettably we ran out of time.

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The 1931 Cord L29. Amazingly by 1932 it was phased out as consumers could not afford the $3,000 price tag and the newly released Fords were a tenth of the cost.

The theme of the park is the changing Calgary/Prairie life encountered since the day of the Blackfoot Tribes amongst others.

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First Nation Teepee

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Grain Elevator
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Another grain elevator

The theme follows through with life in the early days of colonisation, settlement and urban life up until the early 1950’s.

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This three level house was dismantled and brought to the park and re-assembled on site.
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Inside the house was evidence of the fashion of having animals killed and stuffed for putting on the floor or hanging on the wall.

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Early settlers often referred to as sodbusters made simple dwellings from sod. They were usually dark and smelly but were cheap and relatively easy and quick to make and required few tools or even skills.

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A small but functional sod house.

Lined with canvas painted with whitewash they provided a one room dirt floor basic habitation with room for a bed, a table, chairs, a wood burning stove for meals and were reasonably dry and warm. Root cellars were usually a separate underground bunker style larder held upright with rough sawn timber and without windows all of which was covered with dirt and grass. All the winter staples, such as potatoes, pumpkins, beans, beetroot, apples and whatever grain was available were stored underground where it remained cool all year round. Just to see these dwellings gave an idea of the absolute hardships people endured. Usually the sod huts were considered a temporary dwelling to get the family through a season or two until something more substantial could be built.

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Front Street
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The other side of front street.

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Log cabins and slab huts were also featured. Slab huts were rough sawn timber with any gaps (and there were usually lots of gaps) were filled with a mixture of mud and whitewash.  Often these were used as a barn.

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Notice the moose antlers on top of the gate posts.
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A fine example of a slab barn with a mix of mud and whitewash rammed into the gaps.

Miles enjoyed his time at the Amusement Park going for a ride something which spun a car around while going around. He also enjoyed being on the smallest ferris wheel all by himself.

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We had an old fashioned lunch here served by young ladies in fashionable clothes of the era.
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Another example of trophies from a by-gone era.
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Inside the saloon bar at Wainwrights Hotel. Notice the fashionable pressed steel ceiling which was in vogue 100 years ago.

Looking around the park the staff paid and volunteers were all dressed in period costume from the late 1800’s through to about 1950. Even the staff at the Hotel Wainwright where we had lunch were all dressed in period costume.

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All the workers in every job, ride or service were dressed in some sort of period costume.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police moved around the park giving little talks pointing out sights of interest and generally adding colour and photo opportunities.

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Yep folks. That’s a real live current serving Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Horse and hay wagon rides were popular today especially as the paddle wheeler and the train were not operating. Most people, like us, had gone to the park expecting a train and boat ride.

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The staff moved around on buggies or in early model utes and trucks.

All the old houses from the turn of the century, that is from 1899 to 1901 were set up with period furniture and staff in period costume were there to explain certain features. One farmhouse had a cake and bread making demonstration using only the equipment available at that time including baking in a wood fired oven. (it shows how old I am, growing up in Balmain we had a wood fired stove which was mainly used in winter as it heated the entire house. The stove was called an Early Kooka. )

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This is similar to the Early Kooka we had at our house when I was a boy.
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Andrea with baby Evan.
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When I showed this photo to Miles I asked who was in the photo he replied. “Me”. When asked who else was in the photo he replied “Nobody”.
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