Bow City seeks a savior

As residents of the Bow City district were agitating for the construction of any kind of bridge across the Bow in early 1914, the boosters of the village continued their promotional efforts, in-spite of the community’s obvious deficiencies.

The fortunes of the settlement appeared on the rise at the end of January, as the Brooks Bulletin reported that a Denver, Colorado businessman had made inquiries about locating a brick manufacturing industry in the city.

Hot on the heels of this news, C.R. Henderson, promoter of the Bow City Collieries Railway Co. offered assurances to the investing public that the railroad was still in the works, insisting that work on the rail road “[would] be pushed forward rapidly in the spring.”

There did appear to be something to this, briefly, as in mid-February the Lethbridge Herald reported that the promoters of the Prairie Coal Co. townsite had met in Lethbridge to ratify an agreement with H.M. Dunning, he of the New York capital, for the construction of a railroad line to Cassils on the C.P.R. main line. Unfortunately for those in attendance, both Mr. Dunning and his cheque book were no-show’s, as the financier was reportedly “detained in Edmonton.”

With it now appearing that the Bow River Collieries efforts to secure financing were derailed for good, reports again surfaced that yet another railway would be picking up where the previous venture had left off.

On March 21, 1914, the Brooks Bulletin reported that a new railway, the High River and Hudson Bay Railway Co., was being surveyed and would “be of considerable profit to Brooks.”:

“The High River, Saskatchewan railway, which was granted a charter by parliament last week, is having its right of way surveyed and will go through Brooks according to a surveying party who were in town recently, and who are expected back next week.

This railway is to pass through Bow City, coming from High River, and will continue easterly from Brooks to Saskatchewas [sic], Saskatoon being named the terminal the [sic]. The railway will be continued form Michel B.C. to High River, making complete connecting system from the mountains to Saskatoon”

Two days later, reports from the Lethbridge Herald’s correspondent in the Wheat Centre district, approximately 10 miles southwest of Bow City, seemed to confirm this development, as a survey party had been spotted making its way through the country four miles north of there. The correspondent offered much speculation as to the survey party’s destination (Bow City), who was behind the survey (Hudson Bay Railway) and why they were headed there:

“Some people say the officials of the Bow City Coal Co. have abandoned the idea of a railroad from Cassels [sic] to Bow City, and intend building it to Retlaw, so as to avoid constructing a bridge across the Big Bow River. “

With the future of the Bow River Collieries Railway Co. (and by association Bow City) looking solidly in-doubt, the Bow City Board of Trade received a boost from an unlikely source: Jno. Perrie, Deputy Minister of Municipalities. Perrie, who had twice turned down requests from the Bow City Board of Trade to incorporate their community, requested on April 24 that municipal inspector A.D. Fidler visit the settlement and report on the actual number of dwellings in the settlement:

“Also look into the questions as to whether or not there is likely to be a permanent settlement as it would appear for the advertizing (sic) they have been doing that it has been a sort of real estate scheme, and as we have been up against several similar propositions as of late, I wish to be very careful about recommending incorporation in any case if this kind where there is any doubt as to the stability of the place or as to the actual number of occupied dwelling houses, and also as to the area.”

Mr. Fidler would set off for the village shortly afterward, arriving in Bow City on May 2, 1914.

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