Markerville's first residents were Icelandic immigrants seeking
land in North Dakota and Wisconsin. In 1888, Sigurdur J. Bjornson, came across
land by the Red Deer River that he believed suitable for the
Icelandic settlers-the area was close to a lake and a river that
provided fish and water for livestock and farming.
The small community banded together to build their first homes,
constructed of logs, moss and clay, and survived many difficult
times, including harsh winters. The people of Markerville were
distinguished by their dedication to literature and learning and,
appropriately, rural schools were among the first community
institutions to be established. Though small in
numbers, Markerville became one of the first settlements in
Alberta to boast its own library. The town itself is named after
Mr. C.P. Marker, a dairy commissioner-in 1902, the Markerville
Creamery was established as a federal initiative
to help develop a dairy industry in the West.
Markerville was the most predominately Icelandic community in Alberta
until the late 1920's and 1930's, decades in which the Icelandic
people enjoyed shared customs and traditions, as well as their
most important social event in Markerville occurred once a year-on August 2, an Icelandic National holiday was celebrated with a
town picnic attended by families from miles around.
Between 1900 and 1914, however, immigration from the United States
and the rest of Scandinavia meant the proportion of people of
Icelandic descent in Markerville gradually declined.