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Carstairs, Settlement

Carstairs was named after a town in Lanarkshire, Scotland. The early settlers of the village were ranchers due to the abundance of hay in the area. The Sam Scarlett Ranch was the stopping point for the stagecoach from Edmonton to Calgary from 1881 to 1900. With the arrival of the railway from Calgary in 1889, the settlers came to Carstairs in large groups. In 1901 the first school and church of Presbyterian faith were built. Early storekeepers in the village were the Fraser Howe Brothers, M.R. Shantz and Son, J.T. Musgrove, Scott's Grocery Store, R. Sterling; R. Budgeon operated the first blacksmith shop in the early 1900s. Simon Downie operated the Carstairs Land Company. Dr. Robinson was the first resident doctor and Dr. H.L. Large was the first dentist.

By the 1900s, Carstairs was stirring as settlers began arriving in great numbers. The railway station - as it was the only building - was a busy centre of activity. It was used for church and mail service. E.W Stone was Carstairs' first businessman and first citizen. In 1901, he built a general store and then the Albion Hotel. With the abundance of settlers in the area, a livery barn was established by Big and Little Jim Murray near the post office. Perspective land seekers rented horse and buggy often to explore the surrounding area. Carstairs was incorporated as a village in 1903.

In 1904, the population was 101 people. In 1905, Dr. Thomas Hays, a medical doctor from St. Louis, Missouri, arrived to assist his brother Dan in real estate. He established a dairy ranch, married and fathered eight children, one of whom was Harry Hays, born on Christmas Day, 1909. Harry settled on a dairy farm south of Calgary, which later became
Haysboro, a district of Calgary. He was mayor of Calgary, federal agricultural minister, and later appointed senator. Also in 1905, another famous Albertan (as a member of the United Farmers of Alberta) Henry Wise Wood established a ranch at Carstairs. Pat Burns Ranches of Calgary had established a finishing steer-feeding camp on land south-east of town around this time.

In 1906, 20 businesses were built and about 30 homes. Businesses included the Rosebud Creamery, a lumber company, two implement dealers, a flour and feed store, the Methodist Church, the United Church, the Merchant Bank and a $10,000, four- room school. More grain elevators were added in later years. On September 7, 1906, an editorial appeared in The Carstairs Journal - "Wives Wanted in Carstairs", plus "Grand Clearance of Bachelors" with a list of names. There is no information available as to the success of this venture! Fire equipment was purchased for the village in 1908.

In 1910, the Albion Hotel burned to the ground. Sam Scarlett sold his herd as open range was negligible. Grain and dairy farming was added to the ranching around this time. Businesses continued to multiply until WWI (1914-1918).

Ranchers

Ranchers

Main Street

Main Street