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Reverend Leonard Gaetz

Reverend Leonard Gaetz was born in Nova Scotia. He 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.