1850-1899


1882 – The Hudson’s Bay trading post, Fort Edmonton, had already relocated to the area that would become known as Rossdale but there was, as yet, little settlement beyond its walls; and South Edmonton, located on the opposite banks of the North Saskatchewan River, was still a scattered collection of farms and coalmines. However, when speculation arose that the Canadian Pacific Railway might take the Yellowhead route through Edmonton and on across the Rockies, the Dominion Government sent out a team of surveyors to prepare for an economic boom. The CPR eventually went through Calgary instead, but it was upon this particular survey that future land sales were based. River lots 21 and 23 were later to form the present day community of Strathearn. Originally these lots fronted the river and extended inland for a distance of one mile. George Donnell held the first title to Lot 21 and Donnell Road in the northwest corner of the neighbourhood pays tribute to this early homesteader. The north half of Lot 23 was purchased by James McKernan, Edmonton’s first telegraph operator, while A.W. Bird owned the south half. William Bird set up a flourmill on the creek just east of where the Low Level Bridge is now. Although the mill was situated there for only one season, this creek is still known as Mill Creek.

1899 – The Clover Bar Trail, an established Aboriginal fur trade route, followed the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River to the mouth of Mill Creek, up Scona Hill and over to Whyte Avenue. Towards the end of the 19th Century, the Zero Coal Company mined on the riverbank in the northeast corner of Lot 23 by Dowler’s Creek. Primarily, though, this area was agricultural and would remain so until the construction boom following World War II.