Bragg Creek History
We’re Showing Our Roots
One of the distinguishing features of the Bragg Creek Team is their connection to the community. We’ve lived and worked here for many years. Our roots in the community are deeply seated. We know that you’re not only looking for a home, but also a place where you feel comfortable and where your family can live, grow and build relationships.
You can share our love for this community in these stories that trace the development of the area, from the pioneers to the people who shape the current character of the community.
Winding Paths of Bragg Creek History
Beginnings of the Fullerton Legend
by Jean Williamson
Born in Northumberland, England in 1852, Thomas Kerr, known as T.K., Fullerton is the patriarch of the Fullerton family so prominent in Bragg Creek He played a vital part in its development, although he never actually made his permanent home in Bragg Creek. Emigrating to Marquette, Michigan in 1881 with his wife and three children, his fourth son, Jake was born there in 1882. Since the home was on stilts above a marsh, the Fullerton’s decided to move west although little Jake was less than two months old.
Traveling in a covered wagon pulled by oxen they arrived in Canada and T.K. found work on the C.P.R. The railroad was being pushed west as fast as possible to Swift Current and then on to Calgary. Arriving in Calgary in the spring of 1883, Mrs. Fullerton sat down and wept. T.K. homesteaded a quarter section (later owned by W.E. Griffith) on the bank of the Elbow River just east of Twin Bridges. T.K. built the Spruce Vale Farm and was the first tax collector in the area. His wife raised chickens and pigs and sold eggs in Calgary while T.K. made all the deliveries with a horse and buggy. They endured great hardships and had frightening experiences in this new, wild land. There were prairie fires and the nearby Sarcee Indians were most unhappy when the North West Rebellion broke out. Again, tensions were high in 1885 when the Riel Rebellion erupted
In the Calgary Weekly Herald, in 1902 there was the following announcement:
“T.K. Fullerton’s cab is in good demand these days. It is quite a novelty for the people of Calgary to see a hack waiting for orders in the city and a number of people are taking full advantage of the convenience. Mr. Fullerton is deserving of credit for his enterprise.”
Living near Twin Bridges, T.K. began investigating the Bragg Creek area due to the great potential of the forests. He and his family began logging operations and a sawmill. By 1906 T.K. homesteaded NW quarter of section 12 in Bragg Creek. He built a small log cabin on the banks of Bragg Creek near its confluence with the Elbow River. (Most Bragg Creekers would know this area as Elkana Estates and Elkana Ranch). Jake Fullerton, the fourth son, becomes a legend and the impetus behind the beginnings of the Round Dance Hall and the homestead that becomes Elkana Ranch.
Sadly, in 1913, on the first day the Calgary street cars were using the First Street East subway, T.K. Fullerton was driving his horse and rig along 9 th Avenue East when he was struck and killed by the street car coming our of the subway.
Reference: Our Foothills 1976
Home on the Range at Circle Five!
by: Jean Williamson
Only the Old Timers remember the property called Elkana Ranch was once Jake Fullerton’s Circle Five Ranch. This fourth son of T.K. Fullerton was born in 1882 at Marquette, Michigan while the family was “en route” west. He was a year old when they arrived in Calgary the following spring.
By 1906 his father had homesteaded NW ¼- 12-23-5W5 (Elkana) and had built a small log cabin on the banks of the meandering Bragg Creek near its confluence with the Elbow River. This cabin was used, as a bunkhouse for many years while the land was headquarters for the family to run several hundred head of cattle and horses throughout our area. By 1912 Jake bought his father’s quarter and his cattle brand was the Circle 5. Jake was successful in breeding and raising big work teams that hauled for the oil wells, did road building and hauled timber for the first government bridge across the Elbow.
In 1915 a start was made on a new house that eventually became the Circle Five Ranch House. This family home is still inhabited to day. It was made completely of lumber from Jake’s own sawmill. He hauled the rough lumber to Cushing’s Mill in Calgary where it was planed and then hauled back to Bragg Creek. A path from the back door led to the “bathroom” and was complete with Eaton’s catalogue. Jake’s wife washed the family clothes on a scrub board.
By the early 1920’s this cattle and horse operation led to the beginning of a “dude” business. Circle 5 hosted Stampedes, a yearly event. Pete Knight, just beginning his career in rodeos, won his first championship at Bragg Creek. Dances, held under a huge circus tent, always followed the Stampedes.
Jake Fullerton’s home always seemed to be swarming with people, strangers and friends passing and staying the night. He will be remembered for his involvement in sports. Boxing was his passion. In fact, as a young man, Jake held the Western Canada Boxing Championship for several years. He was endowed with exceptional promotional ideas. The old Round Hall and Camp Cadicasu are part of his legacy and part of Bragg Creek’s history.
History and Homestead Antiques
Bragg Creek today offers its residents all the amenities of an up and coming town site plus an abundance of recreational opportunities. We have a little bit of Paradise to enjoy!
But let’s stop and remember. What was Bragg Creek like fifty years ago? There were no paved roads, no street signs, no sidewalks and no traffic. Our little hamlet housed a few locally run general stores, one of which had the mail service, a gas pump, to receive or dial out on the telephone there was a country switchboard with an operator and house fuel was propane. There were a few resident families who are now our Old Timers and most have families still in the area. Many cabin and cottage owners from Calgary could be seen during their stay during the summer holidays.
Bob and Jackie McLennan moved to Bragg Creek in the mid 1950’s. Bob built a log home for his family and it was the start of a very successful career as a log homebuilder, cabinet-maker and antique furniture restorer. This building, as well as being home to the McLennan family, was also the Bragg Creek Post Office from 1962 to 1980 when Jackie was Postmaster. Jackie is the longest serving Postmaster in the area. Raising a family of six, Jackie served the community for eighteen years from the front part of their home and mail boxes on the outside of the building. Set back from the main road this building is the Old Homestead preserved today and still located among towering trees in an idyllic setting.
Homestead Antiques was established in 1977 and this old home became a very active store. Homestead started with a focus on pioneer antique items pertaining to life on the prairies at the turn of the century. However, Bob and Jackie soon developed a strong interest in beautiful oak furniture of the era. The strong sturdy furniture of the Golden Oak Era of North America, circa 1880-1920, dominated Homestead Antiques. The McLennans searched the continent for premium examples of this beautiful furniture that played such a large part in Alberta’s early history. Many of their pieces have been used in movies filmed in the area.
Homestead Antiques then moved to a beautiful new store on the same property called The Pine Loft five years ago.
Creekers With Bragging Rights!
Over the years, nestled in the foothills approximately thirty miles west of Calgary, Bragg Creek has developed into a “want to live there area”. In the hamlet area and the town of Redwood Meadows exist prime properties and then there are two acre and larger subdivisions in the surrounding vicinity. Bragg Creek has excellent access to the mountain parks, Banff and a rural lifestyle south of the area. Bordering Kananaskis, the extraordinary scenic surroundings offer hiking, camping, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, fishing and off road activities. The Wintergreen Resort and the Redwood meadows Golf Course are here. A full range of amenities including excellent restaurants and shops attract visitors looking for a friendly alternative to Banff/Canmore. Situated on the Elbow River, Bragg Creek is a popular destination spot. The area residents are virtually self-sufficient with excellent school access to Banded Peak and Springbank. Estimated population in an eight-kilometer radius including Redwood Meadows is approximately 4,000 people.
Albert Warren Bragg, the first settler on land that became the Bob Fullerton ranch, founded Bragg Creek in 1894. When the original land survey was taking place at that time, the surveyors met Bragg who had begun a cattle ranching operation, and they named the nearby “creek”, Bragg Creek. On May 1, 1910, the first post office was established just west of the Bragg Homestead. Mail was brought from the Jumping Pound post office by packhorse. In 1918 the Bragg Creek post office was moved to existing hamlet area. The earliest youth hostel in Canada was established here in 1933.
As “new-old-timers” (including myself) began to settle in Bragg Creek in the 1960’s, we were well aware of the beauty and the lifestyle inherent in the area. Sitting around campfires and enjoying our newly found heaven, we sang a song composed by a well-known area resident, Ursula Beckedorf.
The rolling prairie, the endless sky
and to the west the mountains high,
Now in the foothills around Bragg Creek,
We found a little bit of paradise
That we will always keep!
(From The Bragg Creek Song – circa 1966)