The Village of Bow City

The Bow City townsite, likely summer or fall of 1914. L-R buildings: Bow City Hotel, background; General Store, Cook and Newton; Pool Hall with dance hall upstairs; Campbell Brothers hardware. (Glenbow Archives NA-1308-40)

Municipal inspector A.D. Fidler had no sooner bid farewell to Bow City before the residents of the community had renewed their quest for Village status.

On May 18, 1914, the secretary of the Bow City Board of Trade, Wm. Campbell, forwarded a petition bearing 19 signatures to Deputy Minister Perrie asking for the incorporation of Bow City.

As they awaited word from the minister, more good news would roll in for denizens of the expectant city along the Bow. In June, the Brooks Bulletin reported that the Prairie Coal Co. had reached an agreement with the Hudson Bay and High River Railway Co. permitting their surveyors to proceed on the Bow River Collieries right-of-way through Bow City, and that Surveyors had identified a site for a bridge across the Bow just east of the townsite.

As this was going on, the Bow City Hotel held its grand opening, with owners Miller and Doran holding the greatest celebration in the short history of the community.

Finally, reports surfaced that oil had been discovered at Bow City, and that several companies have been formed to exploit what was likely “the centre of a very rich field”, lending credence to the boasts of village boosters that Bow City was indeed ‘a city of natural resources’.

Then in July 1914 the news all had been waiting for finally arrived. On July 13, Wilfred Gariepy, Minister of Municipal Affairs issued a proclamation stating that three quarter sections (NE 9-17-17 W4; NW 10-17-17 W4; SW 10-17-17 W4) were to be organized into the Village of Bow City.

A nomination meeting for the first election of a Council was held nine days later, at which point W.T.P. Eyres (postmaster), Frank Vickers (baker) and David B. Campbell (hardware merchant) were nominated to serve as the inaugural Council for the Village of Bow City.

The Brooks Bulletin of August 1, 1914 heralded the arrival of a “Firstclass Council” in for the “full-fledged municipality”, and looked forward to them undertaking “the work of bringing the place into more the semblance of a well-ordered municipality district”. With the first meeting of scheduled for four days later, it appeared a bright future lie ahead for Bow City.

However, unbeknownst to all, a conflict a world away would signal the beginning of the end for the nascent Village.

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