2017/18 Edson and Area Visitors Guide 2017 Visitor Guide electronic - Page 7

Edson received its first passenger train on August 10,1910. In 1911, the people of Edson placed a request to the Post Master General to have the post office renamed from Heatherwood — a name it had carried for about a year — to Edson, in honour of Edson J. Chamberlain, the then general manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. On September 21, 1911, Edson was officially incorporated as a town and by 1912, the population had nearly tripled to a staggering 1,233 people and 32 local businesses. Edson was born of the railway, during the height of transcontinental rail construction heading toward BC. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTP) was ferrying hundreds of railway workers west and initially it looked as if Wolf Creek would be the established divisional point. However, Wolf Creek fell victim to real estate speculators and the GTP refused to pay their overinflated prices. Instead, the GTP moved the divisional point eight miles west, to the home of modern day Edson. For all its prosperity, Edson also became a hotbed for unlawful activities that followed many frontier towns. In the spring of 1913, a fire claimed the wholesale liquor store building and another fire consumed the Old Edson Hall. It was a night of destruction that demolished much of Edson’s ‘Red Light’ district. The fire and a later riot would prompt the hiring of the Royal North West Mounted Police to patrol the streets and bring order back to the community. With law and order in place, families came to settle the area, encouraged that they would be safe and protected from the lawlessness following the rail construction. By 1920, the town had power, water, sewer systems and a telephone switch board. Soon Edson had a dentist, long distance service and improvements made to the postal service, along with better roadways in and out of town. These economic foundations stayed strong throughout Edson’s history and were augmented by an extended forestry industry, trap lines, oil and gas development, coal developments to the south, and dynamic small businesses that continue to flourish in Edson today. www.gallowaystationmuseum.com 5