History of Carvel - A Short Story of Carvel

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The Hamlet of Carvel, Alberta was a thriving centre of community and commerce in the first half of the twentieth century. In its heyday the Hamlet had a blacksmith, a water tower, a train station, 2 grain elevators, a station master's house, a priest's manse, a full time church, a school with teacherage, a stopping house and the store. The Hills of Hope Historical Society erected a sign to commemorate Carvel's important past.

The Carvel General Store was originally built in 1914 on the other side of the road until the CN expropriated the property to build the train station. Mr. Howat, the Misty Train Signproprietor recruited the locals to help roll the store across the road on logs and it then burnt down. Undaunted, the Howats rebuilt the current store in 1918. By many standards this is not particularly old but considering it is entirely constructed of wood and not burnt down is remarkable. The original store had the local post office until circa 1970. It catered to all the needs of the rural and farming customers carrying groceries, toys, clothing, fuel of all kinds, building materials, feed for a variety of animals, household furnishings. Gas pumps and bulk fuel were also added later.

The store was in continuous operation as a General Store until 1992 and had three operators over the years. The current and fourth operator has renovated the attached house and operates the "new" General Store in partnership with her daughter whose family farms "around the corner". The location of the "new" store is both our greatest challenge and our greatest asset. We have kept the building as original as possible with the exception of the lights and the porch which was added in 2001. It is our pleasure to celebrate local talent and approximately 40% of our inventory is produced by local artists, authors and artisans.

carvel4About 38 freight trains and two Via passenger trains pass by each day. Occasionally the freight crews are stopped on the siding and will saunter over for coffee and a chat. Also, from time to time the local "cowboys" on horseback will hitch up to the rail and stop awhile.

Next to the store is the stopping house where railroaders and cowboys were able to get a meal and have a rest on their journey. Later it was the home to two old bachelors. The Stopping House has been "fixed up" a bit. A diorama of a pioneer kitchen has been created that loosely spans the approximate time period 1915 to 1930 with a great-grandmother's kitchen in mind. It can be viewed through the front window.

Today there are seven residences and the store in the hamlet including two interesting homes built of upright poplar logs that were cleared and peeled from the site where they now sit. The Ukrainian Catholic Church still celebrates Mass one Sunday every second month as they share a priest with Manly Church on Secondary Highway 770 and a Ukrainian Catholic Church in Edmonton.

Year round the Hamlet of Carvel and "The Store" has something interesting to offer so we invite you to visit our small, quiet place. See you soon!

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