It’s finally on paper.
Several Mount Ida residents put their writing skills where their mouths were to create The Many Faces of Mt. Ida, a history of local families from the early pioneer days to recent times.
It was an entirely volunteer effort, say contributors Jim Holloway and Shirley Timpany.
The book, which will be ready for Christmas gift-giving, is dedicated to the late Betty Jackson, who initiated plans to undertake the project of a history of the Mount Ida area.
“She did a lot of the groundwork by getting maps of the area,” says Timpany, of the woman who was the daughter of Bob and Mary Jackson. “She died a few years ago in her 50s and it was her wish to see the project completed.”
Timpany says Vince Reed, the son of pioneers Brook and Mary Reid, returned from service in the Second World War and, while he settled in Calgary, he came home regularly.
“He was very interested in the Mount Ida area and returned two or three times every summer,” Timpany says. “We would have conversations about the area; his mind was really good and he remembered things and said, we have to get this on paper.”
Timpany says she called a few friends to see if she could get people interested in the project.
About 20 people showed up for the initial meeting at the home of longtime Historical Society member Mary Wetherill, resulting in the formation of the Mount Ida Historical Group.
A core group of 12 to 15 continued to work on the project, gathering family stories and images.
The book, which details the history of as many families as volunteers could get in touch with, includes maps that were surveyed for the original homesteaders in the 1800s along with several photographs.
Neskonlith Band member Louis Thomas contributed a history of the area from a First Nations’ perspective.
“It has been rewarding work for all involved, and resulted in many renewed friendships and family connections,” says Timpany. The title of the work, The Many Faces of Mt. Ida, reflects the diversity of the original pioneers and settlers and comparing them to the many different ‘faces’ of Mount Ida.
Mount Ida Historical Group members will be selling the book at the Mall at Piccadilly on Friday, Dec. 16 from 1 to 6 p.m. and on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.