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Devon, Settlement

Devon's history is linked with the history of Alberta's oil development. Soon after the Imperial Leduc No. 1 oil well blew in on February 13, 1947, a new era was ushered in with the development of the Leduc oil field and the beginning of large scale oil production in Alberta. Many oil workers flocked into the area.

As the extent and importance of the Leduc discovery became established, Imperial Oil Limited realized it needed satisfactory living quarters for the oil workers. The company then sponsored an oil town which would be known as Devon, named after the Devonian oil producing formation. The site for Devon was a barley field overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. The 120-acre (48.5 hectare) field, owned by Frank and John Sank, became the original town site.

Devon Estates Ltd., a subsidiary of Imperial Oil Limited, handled real estate sales in the new town and guaranteed mortgages, while Engineered Buildings Ltd. developed an inexpensive pre-fabricated building which could be built simply and quickly. The houses were built to accommodate different levels of wage earners. Imperial Oil then installed water, sewer and natural gas systems on the town-site and with the co-operation of the Alberta government, sponsored the development of Devon as a model town. Devon was also the first community in the country to be labelled "Canada's Model Town," because it was the first municipality in Canada to receive approval from the Regional Planning Commission.

Al Dingman, an Imperial separator operator, was the first settler, moving with his family to a home on Saskatchewan Avenue. Dick Yee, an Edmonton restaurant man, was the first businessman in the area. He operated a tarpaper shack from which waitresses served food to hungry roughnecks and construction workers. In the fall of 1949, the Yee shack which had earned the nickname of the "The Bucket of Blood," was replaced with a modern cabaret-style restaurant known as "The Pagoda."

Although Devon was sponsored by Imperial Oil Limited, the company wished the town to develop as a permanent, self-sufficient, self-owned and self-governed community.
In late 1949, Devon applied for incorporation as a village and the Alberta government granted its request on January 1, 1950. George Thompson, one of the first residents, was elected mayor of the town. On March 1, 1950, Devon officially became a town and a special school district was formed on June 1, 1950.

After gaining self-government, Devon arranged to take over its own utilities. Through the co-operation of Imperial Oil Limited, which offered utilities at a price below initial cost, Devon purchased the water, sewer and natural gas systems for $300,000. In 1950 the Imperial Oil absorption plant was completed in the townsite.

Leduc oil fields

Leduc oil fields

Royal Bank Devon

Royal Bank Devon

Atlantic #3 fire

Atlantic #3 fire