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Eastern Irrigation District fonds

1900-1981, predominant 1915-1934

Physical Description:
43.5 cm of textual records. -- 295 photographs. -- 2 audio cassettes

During the Canadian Pacific Railway's construction of the national railway in the 1880s, it became involved in the sale and settlement of land. Part of the provisions made by the government to the company was a belt of land along the railway. Land grants were administered by the company's Land Department in Winnipeg until 1912 when the responsibility was transferred to its Department of Natural Resources. The administration of land grants was linked to the construction of large irrigation works which were increasingly being centred in Alberta, therefore the department headquarters were moved to Calgary. In 1903 the company selected a grant in southern Alberta, called the Irrigation block, within which to develop irrigation systems. Surveys of the Eastern Section of the block began in 1910 and construction was completed in 1915. The section covered an area of 1,250,000 acres (500,000 ha) of which 400,000 acres (160,000 ha) were irrigable. The system included 2,500 miles (4,000 kms) of constructed water ways, and included the Brooks Aqueduct and Bassano Dam. The system was monitored by operations and maintenance staff stationed in Brooks who reported to the Chief Engineer, Engineering Branch, Department of Natural Resources in Calgary, A.S. Dawson; and after 1931, Augustus Griffin. In 1934 a new organization, the Eastern Irrigation District, was formed when the CPR wrote off the farmers' indebtedness and allowed them to run the system as a cooperative. The works, headquarters, land contracts and unsold land were transferred to the Board of Trustees of the Irrigation District. The CPR retained mineral rights and right-of-way for the railway. For further information see Tapping the Bow / Renie Gross and Lea Nicoll Kramer. - Brooks : Eastern Irrigation District, 1985.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of annual reports (1915-1934); extensive plans of water sources, lakes, irrigation works, railway crossings, canals, siphons, flumes, headgates and other irrigation structures, including the Bassano Dam and Brooks Aqueduct (1912-1972); topographical and townsites maps for the area within Ranges 11-18 and Townships 14-25, west of the 4th Meridian; and photographs of a wide range of irrigation structures (1900-1940s) as well as the 1915 floods in Calgary and Edmonton. Includes an interview with former general manager Robert T. White (1981).

Source of Acquisition:
Gift of Eastern Irrigation District and Federal Water Resources Branch, 1964-1988.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Additional records, and originals of the microfilmed material, are in the EID Archives, Brooks, Alberta.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-2396, M-6188, M-6388, M-7036, NA-4389, NA-4930, NA-5200, PA-2856, Microfilm-EID, Microfiche-EID, RCT-383

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