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Parkland Community History - Keephills

Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Darlene Homme 


According to Indian legend the Keephills district was named when it was offered to the Indians as a reserve and the Chief told them 'Keep hills.' Around the turn of the century Mr. Harry Collins came to the area and opened a General Store, as soon as there were enough people (in 1909) a post office was added and Keephills was suggested as the name by Mr. Collins after a place of the same name in Buckinghamshire, England. In 1900 Mr. Charles Cropley was looking for timber when he came across the broad river flat south of a big bend in the North Saskatchewan River. He set up a sawmill here which employed a large number of men who later settled in the area. These included John Lenny, Hyram Aikins, Kaisers, Henkels, Woodmans, Draves', Strettons, Bennetts, Tinneys, Dahlgrens, Greenhoughs and Bill Ibsen. Since the farmers that worked for Mr. Cropley lived on one side of the river and his lumber business was on the other side, a ferry was of the utmost importance. Charles Cropley obtained permission to build a ferry on the condition that he accommodate the public.  The Fraser brothers had a logging camp in Keephills, the sawmill at the camp burned down in 1905 in a fire which spread through most of the Keephills and Rose Valley districts. With the timber gone the settlers were soon breaking the land and growing grain. In 1917 the Provincial Government assumed control of the ferry and at this time the post office was taken over by Mr. Alfred Bryant until he passed away in 1946.  In 1922 the Keephills Athletic Association was organized and sponsored events such as sports teams, dances and picnics. 

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