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Keystone

A house of worship was the first institution to be established in Keystone, located southwest of Edmonton. The opening service of the Good Hope Baptist Church took place in September 1911, in a little log cabin built by the settlers for that specific purpose.

Life in Keystone was difficult and profoundly isolated, but the settlers learned to survive by working and playing together. The land was poor and it was impossible to make a living independently. In order to get enough food to eat, the children would pick berries and the adults would hunt and plant gardens. The men usually worked in Edmonton in order to get money for supplies. When pioneers first arrived at Keystone, the nearest town was Leduc, and it would take anywhere from four days to over a week to complete the round trip journey for supplies. According to author Gwen Hooks, however, the hardships were healthy ones, and life had its many simple joys.

William and Mattie Allen were responsible for much of the continuing settlement in Keystone. They were among some of the first settlers in the area, and, from 1910, encouraged the settlement of many other black families, including the Kings.

Despite its vibrancy, the community at Keystone began to disperse after WWI. Many of the settlers' children joined the army or moved back to the states. The railway brought many white settlers into the area, and much of the town's cohesiveness disappeared. There are only a few black families in Keystone today.

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            For more on the history of settlement in Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.