"Those Years from Rail to Oil; A History of Hardisty and Surrounding Area,"
© Copyright 1981, Hardisty History Book Committee.
The Town of Hardisty was named after Senator Richard Hardisty. It began in 1906 as a Hamlet, and officially became a Town in 1911.
The first people we know of to live in the Battle River Valley were the First Nations Peoples. This country was the wintering grounds for thousands of buffalo, moose, elk and deer, which attracted these people to the area.
The Town of Hardisty owes its existence to the CPR. About 1904 the surveyors began to survey the railroad from the east and decided to locate a divisional point at Hardisty because of the good water supply from the river.
Although this was a trading centre as early as 1904, it became a boomtown by 1906, spawned by the influx of workers who were building the CPR. By the fall of 1906 the rail line reached Hardisty from Daysland. Then began the task of building the bridge, a task which took about three (3) years.
Settlers also began arriving in large numbers. During 1906 to 1907, Hardisty was referred to as a tent town because people lived in tents until lumber could be hauled in. Business places sprang up overnight and, as with many towns, they were built along the railroad track.
We quote from the Hardisty Enterprise of February 13, 1908:
Listen to Hardisty GrowingThe noise of the builders in heard all around.
From daylight to darkness, their hammers resound.
The workmen are busy, the town's growing fast
And the beautiful part is, it's growing to last.
Listen to Hardisty Growing.
And, grow it did, to serve the needs of the ranchers, the farmers and the townspeople. The rail lines brought to all the means to travel quickly, communicate regularly, obtain supplies more cheaply and to obtain the little luxuries that would improve the quality of life.
The ownership of businesses did change; homesteaders who could not adapt to the harsh conditions sold to new farmers who could. Services to all gradually improved until the great Depression struck bringing with it a decrease of business from near disaster in the farming and manufacturing community. Not until World War II was over did the area begin to prosper again and then with great changes brought about by a need to be more energy efficient. Gone were the teams of horses and the need for large numbers of men to drive them in favor of larger and larger tractors and trucks. Next went the faithful old steamers and the need for a roundhouse, a coal dock, or a water tower, or large train crews on hand to man even a pusher.
For a time it appeared that the town would follow the downward path of many another town on the prairies when one of its main industries was lost. But oil, one of the causes of the drastic changes of the late 1940's, became of great value to the area in providing employment, plants and revenue to land owners and our government. Little did our forefathers realize that beneath our whole province was another resource in addition to our good soil that would bring us an unknown prosperity and security unknown to any other land.
Hardisty School History