From the Beginning Fawcett

written by Dorothy Montgomery

Excerpt from the History of Dapp & Districts

The road to Westlock {Highway 44} was at that time really just a winding trail, following areas of least resistance, in and out from quarter to quarter, searching for a better and more solid footing, corduroying across swampy, muskeg places, until it reached a firmer, higher ground.

As settlers were moving more and more ever northward, the Provincial Government decided to make this trail into a connecting link between the main road from Edmonton and the Alaska Highway in the North as a two lane highway. The equipment used up to this was small and inefficient for this work. In those early days, the homesteaders could pay off their taxes by building and repairing the roads in their own areas and often have a little "to boot". Horse drawn slips and scrapers, men with axes, picks and shovels, stone-boats to haul boulders and rocks for a base in soft spots, chains clanking as trees were hauled off and stumps pulled out, with the occasional burst of dynamite to dislodge the tough ones that defied horse power to loosen them. It was a long, slow, tedious process building a road in those days, and weeks passed as it slowly progressed northward. To take a horseback ride each weekend to observe the progress of the new road from Westlock north was a "must" in our calendar.

In those days we didn't ever dream that passenger buses, school buses, huge lories and trucks, tractors, powerful farm machinery, cars of all types and descriptions would one day zip up and down a broad asphalt topped, two lane highway, into the far North; a day when horse drawn vehicles would be practically obsolete. But, we enjoyed those week end rides to view pioneer "Progress". Soon new powerful machines moved in and the road was quickly pushed to completion.

 Acknowledgements; Trail of '42' Stan Cohen
Trail of '42" by Stan Cohen -excerpt page 15 "The bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was to produce one of the great engineering feats of the century". The attack had prompted President Roosevelt to form the Special Cabinet Committee to study the problems of building a road to Alaska through Canada. The Canadians agreed to furnish the right of way, to waive import duties, sales taxes, income taxes and immigration regulations and to permit the taking of timber, gravel and rocks from crown lands along the route.

Hardships & Happiness - Editor - Elwood Boyd & Marianne Cochrane who wrote the following;
The History was conceived, to pay tribute to the pioneers, who came on foot, by ox team, and later by train, from many distant lands, to this tiny dot on the map of Northern Alberta, later to be known as Fawcett.
Especially, we pay tribute to the wives and mothers who managed with so little, to feed and clothe their men and children. One outstanding thing in their favor, they came young in years, strong of mind and body, with distant vision, and high hopes for the future.
Our pictures, of the past were most cheerfully loaned, that we, the reader, might look back into the past as well as read about it.  Our thanks go to all concerned.
We hope to perpetuate the memory of people who had the courage, strength and dedication, for generations to come.
Fawcett Our Community