Reverend Leonard Gaetz
Reverend Leonard Gaetz was born
in Nova Scotia, and worked as a minister in Ontario. In 1883, the Gaetz
family traveled from Ontario to Calgary and then Leonard Gaetz took his three sons to
settle in Red Deer. The western push of settlement continued, and in 1884, what is now
downtown Red Deer was being farmed by the Reverend Leonard Gaetz.
The first signs of permanent
settlement began to appear; a school, church, post office and store. The first
industrial development started up, milling lumber along the river. At this time
there was also the original settlement encamped up the river at the Crossing.
A mill was set up in 1889 by
Reverend Gaetz in anticipation of the railroad that was to go from Calgary to
Edmonton. His mill consisted in part of a swing saw, an edger, a
planer, a matcher and a thirty horse power engine.
This settlement faded away with the arrival of the Calgary & Edmonton
Railway (which crossed the river on Gaetz's farm) and the survey of a new town
site on the Gaetz lands in 1890.