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     Venice Hylo:  Early Years

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Early Years

World War I and
Interwar Period

World War II
and After

Cultural Life



Click on image to Read the Diary of Felice De Angelis

The first winter was extremely difficult and the leaders had to build cabins. First store in Venice. Lean to on side of store where Biollo family resided for 2 winters.  Photo courtesy of the Biollo-Doyle Family The first built were by Joseph Baldoni in Hylo on Section 33 SE and Antonio Piemonte in Venice at Section 1 NW.  The other cabin was built by Joe Michetti and it housed his brother Paul and Ascenzio Varze.  The colonists hunted for game for their table (mostly rabbits).  An appeal was made to the Italian Society who sent food in February.   A small store is subsequently built by O.J. Biollo.  With spring comes renewed hope.  Pike are found in the creek and many more animals appear.  Humour brightens their lives when a fur-bearing animal appears and the men chase it thinking that its pelt is valuable, only to discover it is a skunk.

The first train from Edmonton arrived in Lac La Biche in February 1915. Typical threshing outfit in Venice-Hylo area. Photo courtesy of the Biollo-Doyle Family. With the train coming through, it gave the settlers a sense of hope and moral support, as now they felt that they were not as isolated as when they first arrived. At the Baldoni settlement, the railway company erected a railroad siding and a station they named "Hylo."  This was a stopping point for the train, and newcomers to either settlement had to get off here as Venice did not exist at the time.  Some of the newcomers to Hylo were Felice Rizzoli, Carlo Meardi and many others.  New arrivals at Venice were the four Macor brothers-Pietro, Atillio, Francesco, Ferro and Aurelio, his father, Andrea Tuia, Andrea Simioni and others.  At this time, the Venice settlers had no railroad siding or a station for a train stop.  The railway company had put in a siding about three miles east of the settlement and was named Delgany and the only way to get there was to walk across the railroad trestle.  Hylo was the only alternative and it was not satisfactory to the Venice group, something had to be done-and it was done. 

Venice railroad station in the early 1920s.  Photo courtesy of the Bonifacio family.O.J. Biollo went to Edmonton and with the assistance of Felice De Angelis and the Premier of Alberta at the time they were successful at lobbying the general manager of the railroad, Mr. McArthur to have the siding moved.  Not only was the siding moved, the name Delgany was also left behind.  After the move was made, the settlers all agreed to name the siding and station Venice, as this would remind them of the homeland they left behind.

Early settlers at Hylo, Alberta.  Photo courtesy of the Biollo-Doyle family.Soon after, Mr Marini decided that he was not happy with the name Hylo, so he approached Mr. McArthur to have the name changed to Trieste.  McArthur did not accept the proposal so the name Hylo remained.  Mr. Marini was determined that if the Venice group have an Italian name of their station, so would the people of Hylo.  He and a friend made up two placards with the name Trieste on them and hung them over the Hylo name on the station.  The signs hung there for a few months and then disappeared, and so the name Hylo remained.  The impact the railway had on the Venice-Hylo settlement was quite significant.  More than simply bringing the mail, supplies and people it also brought with it the logging operation that employed many of the townspeople. 

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