History

The Municipal District of Spirit River was incorporated on November 8, 1916. This area was built by the rugged and independent spirit of her pioneers; a spirit that continues to this day to shape a region of promise and progress.

history-threshinghistory-MISSION

Spirit River Milestones

  • The name Spirit River comes from the aboriginal name “Chepe Sepe”, or Ghost River.
  • In the late 1880’s a Hudson’s Bay Company post was established with a Roman Catholic Mission across the river
  • Ranching in the area started as early as the 1840’s – Farming in the late 1880’s
  • In 1909 the area was surveyed for the Federal Government by J.B. Saint Cyr, who left glowing accounts of the land’s fertility and beauty
  • With the Peace River country open to settlement by the turn of the twentieth century, the population of Spirit River expanded with the addition of farmers, ranchers, a sawmill, a store and a postmaster/justice of the peace.
  • Freight was hauled by team from the railhead in Edmonton, a trip that took 20 days empty, took anywhere from 25 day to two months when loaded.
  • In 1906 an Anglican Mission was established by Reverend M. Johnston
  • In 1910 ‘Spirit River School District No. 2109’ established
  • The railroad arrived in 1916
  • The hamlet of Spirit River became a village June 13th, 1916
  • Pamphlets and pictures were circulated throughout the United States and Europe to encourage settlement with offers of cheap, fertile farmland, cheap transportation, and plenty of employment due to an expanding railroad, and a mining boom.
  • In 1923 the Wheat Pool was organized
  • For more information and a wealth of historical vignettes about the Spirit River region, visit the Our Roots website.