This Shoal Lake History weblog is my creation. Its intent is to provide historical background and depth about the town’s development and to act as an open forum for Shoal Lakers and other interested people to tell their historic stories about Shoal Lake and district.
I spent eleven formative years of my life in Shoal Lake – from age 8 to 19 – and will always be indebted to the little town for the quality of life and upbringing it afforded not just to me but to everyone who lives there. I am grateful too for the pantheon of interesting characters who lived in Shoal Lake and whose stories I have sometimes used as inspiration for my writing.
Before and during Shoal Lake’s centennial, I wrote a series of articles for Crossroads This Week about interesting aspects of local history. While researching the feature articles, I found vast amounts of fascinating information and stories that needed to be told but didn’t fit the format. I settled on shorter articles under 300 words that could be read in a minute, more or less. I called them Shoal Lake Minutes. There are sixty of them on the blog.
In addition, all the published features, a picture gallery and a few of my Shoal Lake-inspired fiction pieces are included on the blog. The features contain dozens of pictures from Shoal Lake’s past.
The blog has 77 stories and articles about Shoal Lake and over 100 pictures from its past. What you see here today is largely going to be my contribution to the blog. While I will be adding features infrequently, I feel I’ve done my part. Now it’s up to you.
I see this as an Onus Blog, meaning I’ve done the fieldwork and writing on the history and on my stories, now the onus is on you, the readers, to contribute your Shoal Lake stories. That’s what will provide new content and keep the blog fresh. While most of my features focus on the early years, from 1870 to 1960, I want you to share your hometown stories no matter when they happened. It doesn’t have to be long. It could provide further details to one of the existing stories in which case I will add it to the blog at the appropriate place. If you have a historical bent, you could create feature articles about a person, event, anything from Shoal Lake’s past. Add more SL Minutes, write a feature on the town’s schools, hospitals, The Shoal Lake Star or the North West Mounted Police, any of which would flesh out the history. Create a historical entry as a school history project. The possibilities are endless.
The Shoal Lake History blog is not a forum for current Shoal Lake issues unless related to history and heritage. Rather it’s a place to share and store memories, to discover who we are by seeing who we were and to connect the past with the future.
I am the administrator of the Shoal Lake History blog and all communication comes to me first for clearance before it is uploaded onto the site. The process for submitting your story is easy. A reply form follows every post and page. The blog also has a Contact page. Type or copy your story or comment into the box, supply required fields and send it. Writer credit must accompany responses. Pictures accompanying stories can also be sent. I am not going to edit any stories sent to the blog, nor will I be checking facts. That onus rests with you, the writer. In that vein, I am open to corrections or updates in any of my stories.
The timing of the blog coincides unintentionally with the new government of Shoal Lake Municipality. In this post-amalgamation era, one of my strong hopes for Shoal Lake History is that people from Oakburn and Kelloe will contribute, as there is a dearth of stories about them. Perhaps this is a stock taking time, a time to review the town’s history while looking toward the future with hope and determination.
So let’s go back in time to the early days of Shoal Lake, laugh and cry with the pioneers, without whom this blog would just be blank pages, and figure out who we are. Shoal Lake History needs your stories! Start typing!