The History of Vulcan County


Homesteaders began to settle the area of what is now Vulcan County in the early part of the 20th century. Large numbers of farmers from Eastern Canada, immigrants from Britain and Western Europe, and many from the Central United States came to seek land and set up homesteads in the west.

The earliest record of local government in Vulcan area is that of July 7th, 1906. During the early 1900s, the area was divided into small municipal districts (with an elected council) or special areas (with an appointed council). During the 25 year period prior to 1943 the various Councils were busy administering ordinary business of the district. Tax levies were watched and were maintained at a fairly low level. Road machinery was being acquired and a substantial number of miles of roads graded and repaired.  One item of major importance was the building of Highway No.23.

The Great Depression of the 1930s:

The Lomond area was one of the hardest hit parts of the County during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Residents were moving away. Taxes, seed grain and relief liens were not being paid and land forfeited for taxes.  Special attention to this area was needed and in 1935 Improvement District No. 156 and 126 were added to Municipal District of Clifton No. 127 and in 1937 the Municipal District was disorganized and put into Special Areas No.4. This arrangement continued until 1951 when the residents were rehabilitated, and the area was ready for self Municipal Government.

A picture of the original Municipal Office in Vulcan. It served from about 1918-1949 when it was sold and used as a storage shed. Standing in front are Mrs. Marge Weber, a long time employee, and D.D. McQueen.

Expansion over the Years:

The Municipal Districts were enlarged commencing in January 1943. The Municipal Districts of Harmony No. 128 and Royal No. 158 were amalgamated. That portion of the Municipal District of marquis No. 157 South of the correction line and West of Lake McGregor and that portion of Twp. 16, Range 21, West of the Lake McGregor were added into the Municipal District of Vulcan No. 29.

In 1950, the Alberta Legislature passed an “Act to provide for the establishment of local Government Units to be known as Counties.” In January 1951, County of Vulcan No.2 was officially formed. The County was divided into nine electoral divisions, and 9 councilors were sworn into office. Although, Vulcan was the first county to be created in Alberta, it did not receive the number ‘one’ designation, owing to the fact that the original idea in respect to Counties came from the Grand Prairie School Division, which was promised the first number and was formed a day or two later.

All councilors were elected by acclamation except divisions three and seven. The following were sworn into office at the first meeting held on March 8, 1951:

Division 1     Allan McLean
Division 2     J.E. Carlson
Division 3     Richard A. Clements
Division 4     C.W.  Loose
Division 5     Donald B. Smith
Division 6     Jack Deitz
Division 7     M. Willard
Division 8     J.M. McKay
Division 9     Donald A. McNiven


The County undertook to up-grade the schools in all centres. New schools were built at Carmangay, Champion and Milo, as well as a new High School in Vulcan. The County built a new repair shop and hired a staff of mechanics to maintain road machinery and school buses. The new Vulcan administration building opened in August 1967.  The County of Vulcan No. 2 became Vulcan County in 1999.

1)Photos and content taken from "Story of Rural Municipal Government in Alberta 1909-1969".

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