HIGHLIGHTS OF THE HILDA AREA HISTORY

Unearthing dinosaur bones in Hilda Bonebed

1871 – the land in the western prairies was divided into townships – that’s only four years after Confederation in 1867

1903 – the earliest activity in the area -the founding of the Mitchell Ranch and the Beatty Ranch, when this area was still a district in North-West Territories

1906-1913 – the largest influx of homesteaders, many ‘Germans From Russia’

1905- Alberta became a province

1910 – the first post office was established, operated by Stan Koch, who named it after his infant daughter, Hilda

1911-1997 – Austin’s General Store operated in Hilda: The building still stands, but now it is in Pioneer Village at the Medicine Hat Stampede Grounds

1911 – the Baptist Church built that year was called Germantown but in 1919, the name changed to Hilda Baptist Church

1922 – Hilda had a significant business district with six elevators, several grocery stores, lumber yards & restaurants, one central telephone

1923 – CPR line came to the Hilda area from Saskatchewan and the Hilda town site moved closer to the rail line (was 4.5 miles further west)

1924 – NM Patterson elevator was constructed, (one of the few still standing ) and operated until about 2000; now owned by a local farmer for grain storage

1924 – Hilda’s first golf course was located on a stretch of prairie in the SW corner of Hilda

1928 – the population in Hilda was 175, compared to 37 in 2016!

1928 – Hilda Hotel operated until about 2010. It has a 100 year lease which extends to 2025. A unique clause provides it can be the only hotel in the area between the Alberta/Saskatchewan border and the South Saskatchewan River. Also there is to be no hotel between Hilda and Medicine Hat.

1932-1959 – Hilda had an RCMP detachment which is said to have closed because by that time crime in Hilda was almost non-existent

1942- a two classroom New Hilda School was built for 90 students Grades 1-8. -The Hall was the original school.

1949 – fire destroyed the south side of Main Street; businesses never rebuilt

Helicopter lifting dinosaur skull out of the Hilda Megabonebed.

1959, 1964, 1999, 2017- paleontogists studied the Hilda Mega Bonebed, which is along the South Saskatchewan River 25 km west of Hilda. A mega bonebed is a dinosaur graveyard, and Hilda is one of the biggest in the world. It was created when thousands of Centrasaurus apertus (cow-sized species of horned dinosaurs) that lived 76 million years ago drowned in a sudden catastrophic tropical storm.

Centrasaurus apertus. Wikipedia

2010 – approximate year of the first annual Mudbog

2017 – October 17th, an unforgettable wildfire: tens of thousands of acres of grassland burned, hundreds of cattle died and a volunteer firefighter lost his life.

2017-2020 – science fiction movie showcased Hilda & the surrounding area; the filmmaker arrived just in time to capture wildfire footage. Homebase was the burned out yard of Andy & Sarah Kirschenman. This Fall (2020) local residents have been extras in the movie, “Father of Nations” which will be released in about a year.

Movie being made: a ragtag group of survivors of a post- apocalypse, on Main Street in Hilda

Story by Sam Krasnoff:

Sam owned Krasnoff General Store in Hilda. Statistics show it operating in 1922 but it was there years before that. Austin’s General Store can also tell many such stories of credit given, especially during the depression years. Some debts got paid years later and some were never paid back.

“In 1942, a man came into the store and asked what he owed me. I told him I didn’t remember him so he couldn’t owe me anything. But the man went on to say that he was the man that I had given supplies to ten years before, when no one else would.”

“I got rid of all the bills because I didn’t expect I’d get paid.”

The man went on, “The bill was over $60 and less than $70.”

“The man gave me $70 and told me to keep the change.”

“Until now I had no money but now I can pay you. We will never forget what you did for us. Thank you so much.”