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A history of the town and district of Coronation, Alberta Goulson, Carlyn F.

Abstract

The history of the town and district of Coronation, Alberta, was written with two objectives in mind. The first was to recreate the beginnings and growth of a prairie town in an attempt to portray the general tone, character, and purpose of country living, as well as the hopes, thoughts, and feelings of rural and small town folk. This was to be achieved by tracing in detail the development of a special prairie community, but, at the same time, it was felt that such a story of one settlement in a semi-dry area would typify the history of dry belt pioneering throughout much of the West. This was my second aim. Typical of the West was the diversity of language and national origin of Coronation's early settlers. Typical also were the reasons for leaving their homeland and their methods of travel. Like most pioneers of the semi-dry belt they had been led to expect a land of everlasting plenty; instead they found hardships almost impossible to overcome. In common with the rest of the West their fortunes rose or fell according to the crop year, but, typical of the dry areas, their crop failures were far more numerous than in districts more blessed with rain. Typical, too, was the overdependence on wheat and the overinvestment in land -- factors leading to ruin in the hungry Thirties. And, as depression and frustration took the place of wild expansion and unbridled optimism, the people of Coronation joined their neighbours in the fight for a farmers' government to oppose the suspected dominance of eastern big-business interests. Finally, with the rebounding faith so typical of the West, Coronationites were quick to forget the hardships of the past with the promise of good times to come. In order to set the stage for my detailed study I have purposely included a fairly extensive introductory chapter. Here I have discussed briefly the main steps in western development, from the time of Confederation up to the early 1900's, when Coronation's story really begins. By first presenting a general picture of what was happening throughout the entire West, I felt that my story of one community could slip more readily into proper perspective.

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