|Picnic near Crichton in 1913
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Described as a happy community, Crichton was originally surveyed from July 25 to July 29, 1913 by David Thomas Townsend, who had been sent out from Calgary for the job. Once surveyed, the future community was named Crichton, in honour of James Crichton, a genius from the 16thcentury who made major accomplishments to the sciences before he was killed at the age of 21.
One of the first residents to the new village was Pete Perreault set up a store but, in his words, it all happened so far he didn’t know if he had a lumber business or a general store. Another early resident was Granny Westlake, who moved there because of its good water according to early settlers. George Buteau operated a blacksmith shop in Crichton, which he set up in 1914 and kept at until 1946.
Perreault had set up a café in 1914 as well, which became very popular. A pool hall was added with two tables, and tournaments were often held.
As for the CPR, it officially came through in January of 1914, with the first railway agent living in a train car in 1914. A station was built in 1928, and closed in 1956.
Naturally, since it was a prairie town, there were elevators. The Alberta Pacific Elevator was built in 1914, while the Pioneer Elevator came in in 1916. The State and Pool Elevators arrived in 1916 as well.
As for the post office, it officially opened on Sept. 12, 1914, operating out of the lumberyard shack for an entire year before it was moved to the general store. It would continue operating in Crichton until April 24, 1970.
Over the years, Crichton had several clubs including a community club organized in 1924, a Ladies Club organized in 1918 and more. Many clubs helped to not only entertain the residents of Crichton for many years, but also provide vital community services to those who lived in the town.
Sadly, as the years went on, Crichton began to suffer as residents began to leave. First, with The Great Depression, things took a turn for the worse as grain prices collapsed. This followed with an exodus of several families. Over the course of 70 years, the community saw 90 families come and go. In 1983, the community was no longer incorporated.
Today, one resident lives there.
During its heyday though, the community boasted three grain elevators, a café and pool hall, a garage, a boarding house, a blacksmith shop, a lumberyard, a post office, a water tower, a large warehouse, as well as tennis courts and a golf course.