The towns of Lacombe and Bentley sit between Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta and have been home to First Nations peoples like the Cree, Sautleaux, Blackfoot, Dene and Sioux for at least 12,000 years. Today, On This Spot is featuring its Lacombe and Bentley content in celebration of the nation-wide initiative of Culture Days. In addition to dozens of historical then-and-now photo sets that show the changes Lacombe has gone through over the years, On This Spot has launched a self-guided tour of Lacombe and three virtual museum tours, two in Lacombe and one in the nearby town of Bentley. All are available for free online and through the On This Spot app.
Our Lacombe walking tour explores the sometimes surprising drama and intrigue of small town life on the prairies. Despite its size, the community has been the site of mysterious fires and deadly snow storms, kidnappings and epidemics. Its people have come together to build hospitals, churches, and schools, all while bravely facing the hardships that come with life on the prairies. On this fifteen-stop self-guided walking tour, we will explore what life was like in the early days of this dusty town, discovering the stories of Lacombe’s first doctors, businessmen and politicians. We will delve into the tragedies of the many fires that struck the town, not all of which were caused naturally, and hear the tale of a Lacombian blacksmith kidnapped by the Ku Klux Klan in a case that shocked the province. And we will discover the many acts of kindness and bravery, both big and small, which shaped the identity of Lacombe. This tour begins at the Lacombe Museum at 51 Street and 51st Avenue and takes readers on a loop throughout the town.
For those unable to get out and explore Lacombe in person, On This Spot also has two virtual tours. From the comfort of your home and computer, you can explore the Michener House Museum and the Blacksmith Shop Museum with 360 views of the rooms and exhibits of the these interesting locations. The historical Michener House was the birthplace of former Governor General Daniel Roland Michener. It was built in 1894 to serve as the Village of Lacombe Methodist Church Parsonage. The Blacksmith Shop Museum is the oldest operational Blacksmith Shop in Alberta today and was built in 1902. While some additions and alterations have been made over the course of its hundred years, the shop’s original forge continues to be used in blacksmithing demonstrations to this day.
In Bentley, On This Spot’s virtual tour of the Bentley Museum allows app users to explore this thriving community museum. The Bentley Museum is housed in a 1924 farmhouse with an additional agricultural building. The exhibits depict the experiences of the first settlers from 1898 onward through the years. The collection is made up of approximately 4,000 artifacts, including household, agricultural, medical, and athletic artifacts along with books, photos, cameras, newspapers, typewriters, telephone equipment, general store memorabilia, military artifacts, and an antique organ. Additionally, the Earth Sciences and Geological collections include paleontological and fossil collections. Explore all of this virtually online or through the On This Spot app, or else journey to Bentley and see it all in person!