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      Home > Background > Regions > Venice Hylo  > World War I and Interwar Period

      Venice Hylo:  World War I and Interwar Period

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Introduction

Early Years

World War I and
Interwar Period

World War II
and After

Cultural Life

Pioneers

 

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School house in Venice, Alberta.  Photo courtesy of the Bonifacio family.In 1920, the residents of Venice-Hylo began discussing the possibility of building a local school.  The proposed site was on the homestead of Julius Rossi, as he was willing to donate the land required.  Another site was the area where the Venice cemetery sits today.  However, no consensus among the residents could be reached and so a few years later both settlements built their own schools.  The school in Venice was built in 1925 on the homestead of Gambacorta.   Mary Biollo standing in front of her first school - also first teacher in Christy Creek School district.(1934).  Photo courtesy of the Biollo-Doyle FamilyArthur Lemay was the carpenter in charge of the project.  Frank Rycroft, a returned soldier, lived on two quarter sections of land about one mile north of where the school was located.  The Venice sawmill supplied dressed lumber for the school. Before the school was built, children of school age were taken to the Lac La Biche Mission Convent boarding school until 1925.  These children had to learn French.  The Venice school opened its doors to local school children in 1926.

Father Carlo Fabris.  Photo courtesy of the Bonifacio family.The community continued to acquire amenities.  In 1921, a sawmill was built with Felice De Angelis and Augusto Marini running it. By 1922, the community had a grain elevator.  Trails continue to be developed in the region making it more accessible.  These include a trail from Berny to the Venice Station south to the Lac La Biche Station on the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway.  Plans for a church were made in 1923, originally to be built on Julius Rossi's land; however, it is eventually built on the original Gambacorta land (later owned by Angelo and O.J. Biollo) where the school is located.  The elevator burn down in fall 1923 and is rebuilt with a flour mill.  First church in Venice, Alberta.  Photo courtesy of the Bonifacio family.The year 1924 sees enormous construction activity including the church and Father Carlo Fabris, the priest arrives.  Both the Biollo sawmill and the De Angelis/Marini sawmill donate lumber.  Labour is donated by Pio Bonifacio, Salvatore Giacobbo, Joe Michetti, Augustor Marini, Frank and Attilio Macor, Angelo and Leonardo Guerra, Eric Parent and Joseph Benoit.  The church is finally completed in the summer of 1925 and a banquet is held.

Community Hall, Venice, Alberta.  Photo courtesy of the Bonifacio family.Fire is a terrible enemy with the elevator burning down again in January 1926.  The Michetti sawmill also burns down but, fortunately, the steam engine and saw remain undamaged.  In 1927, a community hall is built with donated labour and materials.  A picnic is held, which is the beginning of the famous annual Venice Picnic, which is still held in June though most of the Italians have left the community.  

With the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929, the community had to apply to the local police for relief.  They received $5-$14 per month.  Grain prices continued to fall and jobs were difficult to get.  The community had earned to work together for the benefit of all and this stood them in good stead at this difficult time.  They co-operated in the sawing of logs, grain threshing and construction.  Medical services were non-existent and herbal remedies were shared and acted as midwives.  Serious injuries presented major problems.  In May, 1925, Rudolph Michetti shoots himself in the arm while hunting for ducks.  His companions, Batista Fabbro and Angelo Bussato, get him home.  Someone goes to Lac La Biche using a handcar on the railway and convinces a nurse to come; eventually, Rudolph is moved to Edmonton.

 

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