Long-term Chestermere residents, the Soderberg family gave the Chestermere Historical Foundation (CHF) material from the Men’s Club, to fill multiple binders.
The materials, including minutes, correspondence, finances, three ledgers, and a stamp belonging to the Men’s Club will be stored until it can be displayed when possible.
“CHF objects of incorporation state that the CHF will preserve Chestermere history and also educate citizens about what happened here to make Chestermere such a vibrant community,” CHF President, Jen Peddlesden said.
She added, “Displaying and telling about the Chestermere Men’s Club shows how Chestermere area people pulled together, enlivened and enriched their community. It echoes today that the same community building characteristics are with still with us.”
On Dec. 5, in 1944 C.W. Ellis, Pete (RG) Lester, Bob Carlyle, Gordon Soderberg, and others decided to create a club where men in Chestermere could socialize.
“As farmers, they missed what their ‘city brothers’ took for granted with the many city-based organizations they had for socializing,” Peddlesden said.
On Jan. 10, 1945, Soderberg was elected the first Secretary, with Lester being the first President, A Brown as Vice President, and Lionel Timmins as Treasurer.
The Chestermere Men’s Club would provide social activity, and a place and equipment for the activity, as members of the club installed a pool table, darts, and bowling alley in the basement.
Membership was $5 per year, and in the ledger, each member was given a page and a membership number.
The founders of the Chestermere Men’s Club set a goal of 40 members. However, the goal was quickly surpassed, with 60 members coming from Chestermere, Langdon, Indus, Conrich, Shepard, Balzac, and Calgary.
In 1945 at the instigation of Timmins, curling was started.
Ice was rented at various locations in Calgary, and this activity also included many of the members’ wives.
Many family outings were held, called smokers, where men were allowed to smoke.
In 1953 a turkey shoot was held, and members purchased a trap that was installed on the three acres of land that Carman Ellis donated to the club.
In 1955 a building was acquired from Stryker and after a successful auction sale of donations of items such as grain, saddles, and farm machinery, enough was raised to cover many of the building’s expenses.
“The history of the club in these materials shows that social life in Chestermere was active, everyone participated, and the Men’s Club has roots in many other Chestermere clubs and activities,” Peddlesden said.
“They planned other activities involving wives and children, and the new clubhouse was open for other organizations to use for meetings,” she said.
In 1972, the building was rented out to the local kindergarten class, it was a polling station for elections, members made donations to local charities, and held a picnic each year.
“The curling which started with the Men’s Club is still going on here in Chestermere with the Chestermere Curling Club,” Peddlesden said.
“This little club has a lot of roots in many other Chestermere organizations,” she said.
The club closed in 1980, and in 1985 the land was sold for $47,500 and any remaining club funds went to the Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA). The clubhouse is now a private residence.
For more information on the history of Chestermere please visit www.chestermerehistoricalfoundation.org.