Last modified: 2011-08-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: drumheller | alberta | dinosaur | corn ears |
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image by Arnaud Leroy, 15 October 2006
Source: town hall
Named after an early settler, Samuel Drumheller, the town was incorporated as a village in 1913 and became a city in 1930. Significant growth of the downtown occurred during the two decades following the First World War with the development of the local coal industry. It became known as the "Wonder Town of the West - the Fastest Growing Town in Canada". As oil and gas superseded coal as a source of energy in the 1950s, the local economy shifted its emphasis to agriculture and tourism. The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology opened in the valley in 1985 and is a major area attraction.
60 - 70 Million Years ago
Located in the heart of the Badlands, Drumheller Valley has an interesting history which spans back some 70 million years to a time when the area was very different looking than it is today. The land was flat and the climate was tropic, providing the needed habitat for plants and animals alike to flourish. These vast plains crossed by many rivers originating in the Rocky Mountains and spilling into the Bear Paw Sea, were the home of what we today know as the Dinosaur.
The arrival of the Ice Age covered the region with thick layers of ice. As glaciers as think as one kilometer melted, lakes and valleys were formed leaving us with what is know today as the Red Deer River Valley.
11,000 years ago
At the end of the ice age this newly formed Valley became home to new inhabitants. First came animals and plants, and then the Native people. Living in both the Valley and prairie that surrounds it, they made for themselves a quiet, serene existence. Buffalo jumps, ceremonial sites and campsites mark their existence in the area. They stayed for many years, with the land and river providing for them.
White explorers did not discover the area until the 1880's. J.B. Tyrrell, in his search for coal deposits along the river, discovered a skull of a dinosaur. That dinosaur is today known as the Albertasaurus. This marked the beginning of the collection of dinosaur remains that are sought after by museums all over the world, including the Royal Tyrrell Museum located in the Drumheller Valley.
The Calgary-Drumheller railway was opened in 1913 and the coal industry boomed. As the supply of coal diminished and the mines closed around the mid-1900's, a new source of energy was discovered. Oil was found in the area and Drumheller became home to a new industry. Oil companies competing for their share of the oil made Drumheller a busy town once again.
Drumheller Valley Today
Drumheller is a town of approximately 8,200 people, with agriculture, energy and tourism as its economic base. With the opening of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in 1985, the area sees thousands of visitors each year, wanting to experience all that the Valley has to offer. With the scenic drives, unique landscape and many attractions, thousands visit Drumheller every year
Phil Nelson, 15 October 2006