Tales from Highwood Cemetery


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High River author Larraine Andrews will lead a tour of the cemetery July 23 at 11 a.m. Andrews recently published his book Tales from the Highwood Cemetery in May.

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The tour is hosted by the Chinook Country Historical Society as part of their Calgary History Week.

How did Andrews come up with the idea to write about Highwood Cemetery?

She says former Alberta Lieutenant Governor and respected history professor Dr. Grant MacEwan would advise his students to take a stroll through Highwood Cemetery, saying, “There’s enough history there to fill several books.

The cemetery has its share of famous and infamous people, including George Lane, WO Mitchell and his fiery wife Merna; and Calgary Stampede founder, Guy Weadick, and his famous wife, “Flores” LaDue, to name a few.

“But look past the obvious list and the untold stories of the extraordinary and the ordinary soon emerge,” Andrews said.

Like opera singer Odette de Foras, whose European career was cut short by World War II, so she returned home to sing and ranch; or the young women who created the world’s first all-women-owned credit union using their chicken and egg money.

“They were visionaries in their own way, essential to the evolution of the community, the province and the country. This is clearly not your usual rural cemetery.

Richly illustrated with color and archival photos, the book tells some of these remarkable stories in twelve thematic chapters, each with an introduction for historical context and a detailed map.

Readers can stroll through the cemetery, find a marker of interest and read the commentary, or simply stroll from the comfort of an armchair.

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“By the time you finish the book, you’ll have a good introduction to the history of High River and Highwood Country,” Andrews said.

The author said that at the start of this project she received ideas from Highwood Museum Director and Curator Irene Kerr, who suggested she write about the many fascinating stories of the cemetery.

“The museum has organized many cemetery tours over the years and has often been asked if there is a book on the subject,” Andrews said.

“It was ideal as I live a block from the museum and archives and the cemetery is a short walk from me.”

To register for the cemetery tour on July 23 at 11 a.m., those interested can register on the CCHS website at www.chinookhistory.ca.

I will be leading the tour this year, which is called Remembering “The Missus”. It will focus on one of the chapters that tells the stories of some of High River’s most notable women,” Andrews said.

To purchase the book, those interested can find information on the museum’s website and Facebook pages. It is available for sale at the museum bookstore as well as other fine bookstores in the area, including Bar U Ranch, Pixie Hollow, and Bluerock. Gallery. Larraine can also be contacted at [email protected] for additional ordering information.

Andrews lives in High River and is the author of three previous books: Ranching under the Arch: Stories from the Southern Alberta Rangelands, Great Walks of the World, and The Cowboy Trail: A Guide to Alberta’s Historic Cowboy Country. She has written extensively for international and national magazines and newspapers and contributed to the 2008 edition of Defining Moments in History.


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