Lögberg-Heimskringla - 03.06.2005, Blaðsíða 5

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 03.06.2005, Blaðsíða 5
Lögberg-Heimskringla • Föstudagur 3. júní 2005 • 5 PHOTO: STEINÞÓR GUÐBJARTSSON The Historic Markerville Creamery in Alberta is a popular meeting place, and coffee is ready at 10 o'clock every morning. The hub of the community Steinþór Guðbjartsson Markerville, AB At 10 o'clock every morn- ing the Historic Markerville Creamery in Alberta, Cana- da, fills up with local people and other guests. "This is our meeting place," says Bernice Andersen, one of the main forces behind the Stephan G. Stephansson Icelandic Society of Markerville. Markerville is between Calgary and Edmonton, and Icelanders were the first resi- dents. Fifty of them crossed the Red Deer River on June 27, 1888, after Sigurdur J. Bjorns- son from North Dakota had recommended the area. He was sent west to look for a place were Icelanders in North Da- kota could move to and fish and farm. In a letter, he described the land that Ólafur Goodman in Calgary had shown him. "I like the country north of the Red Deer River, the soil is good and lots of grass, alternately plow land and hay meadows, with clumps of trees here and there. Good fishing in the lakes and rivers. The winters are said to be shorter and milder than in Manitoba and North Dakota." Soon after the settlers ar- rived two schools were built. One was at Tindastoll on a land offered by Johann Bjornsson and the other, Hola, was built on Stephan G. Stephansson's property. In 1904, Hola School was replaced with a new school built next to Stephansson's land. The third school was Heckla. In 1892, 23 men created the debating society of Lestrar- félagið Iðunn. The members met regularly at the Tindastoll Post Office. They purchased new books, subscribed to the newspapers Lögberg and Heim- skringla, now Lögberg- Heim- skringla, and established a library. The women of the com- munity founded a fundraising club called Vonin, or "Hope," and it is still going strong. In the early part of the 20th century, Markerville and the surrounding area was a flour- ishing community of about 400 people of Icelandic descent. After the bridge over the Medi- cine River at Markerville was constructed, other ethnic groups started moving to the commu- nity and the railway track from Stéttler to Nordegg, laid in 1911 and 1912, also attracted many new settlers, whose roots TO EDMONTON HP— TO ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOU8E CAROUNE RA\ -—<£pi AVEN ^-^ CALGARY were mainly from Scandinavia and Germany, to the area. The late Johann 'Halldór Johannsson, "Little Joe" as he was called, got the Stephan G. Stephansson Icelandic So- ciety of Markerville going in 1974. The Society was named after the poet who was one of the first leaders of the commu- nity and, among other things, helped organize the Tindastoll Butter and Cheese - Manufac- turing Association in 1889, the Co-Op that started the Marker- ville Creamery. About 60 people live in Markerville, and although only a few of the members of the So- ciety are of Icelandic descent, there are many other commu- nity members interested in the history and the culture and they want to preserve as much of Markerville as possible. Last year members and other volunteers accounted for more than 5,000 volunteer hours for the Society and with the push to finish the Fensala Hall, they will provide more hours this year, according to Kathleen Raines, Manager of the Creamery. The Stephan G. Stepha- nsson Icelandic Society of Markerville is a chapter of the INL of NA and enjoys a kinship with the Edmonton and Calgary clubs. Events in Markerville The Stephan G. Stepha- nsson Icelandic Society of Markerville's biggest re- sponsibility is the operation of the Markerville Cream- ery. It has also undertaken the restoration of Fensala Hall, among other yearly held activities. The main activities ahead are the fol- lowing: The Markerville Creamery opened for the 2005 season on Saturday, May 14 and will be open daily until Labour Day. The Creamery, a farmers' co- operative, was formed in 1899 and was the commu- nity's economic mainstay until 1972. It was restored, and the museum, with a gift shop and a coffee shop, was officially openedin 1986. "Modeling A Cen- tury Along the Medicine- Hola to Markerville" is the Markerville Creamery's centennial exhibit. Guests will step back a century as they view the scale models of buildings that were in the community a century ago. June 10: Farmers' Day Community Barbecue at the Crearaery Museum. Co-sponsored by Viking Energy. An evening of food and fun starts at 5:30 p.m. Call (403) 728-3006 for in- formation. Jfune 18 -19: Icelandic Picnic at the Creamery Mu- seum. Saturday afternoon's schedule starts with games at 1 p.m. in the picnic grounds. The program at 3 p.m. features the crowning of the fjallkona, selections by the Saga Singers and the unveihng of a 'Woman of Aspenland' panel honour- ing Helga Stephansson. A potluck supper will follow. Call (403) 728-3006 for in- formation. June 25 - 26: Pioneer Days. July 1: Canada Day at the Museum. August 14: Cream Day. September 1: Volun- teer Celebration. November 4 - 6: Christ- mas In Markerville. February: Annual General meeting and win- terfest. May: Viking Cup Golf Tournament and auction and yard sale. Visit us on the web at http://www.lh-inc.ca

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