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Kleskun Hill Museum

Post Offices From the Past

Featuring: Kleskun Hill

By Wanda Zenner

Kleskun Hill is an unincorporated locality in Northwest Alberta within the County of Grande Prairie No. 1. It is located approximately 20 kms north-east of Grande Prairie on Highway 43 close to Bezanson. Kleskun Hill Park protects some of Alberta’s most northern badlands, wapiti rock formations, wildflowers and the last surviving native grasslands in the Grande Prairie Region. Within the Park, sits the Kleskun Hill Museum.

Truman & Hubert Manning – Acting Postmasters
(no record of formal appointment therefore dates unknown)
Hubert and Truman Manning, originally from Ontario, had been living in Saskatchewan when they decided to move to the Peace River District. They traveled by the Athabasca Trail in 1911 and Hubert filed a homestead application and Truman purchased 640 acres by means of South African Scrip on land in the Kleskun Hill area. It is written that the Mannings operated the Post Office in their residence on behalf of James Brims who had been appointed as the official Postmaster.

Manning house, built in 1914, at original location SE 16-72-4-W6
Manning House located at Kleskun Hill Museum.

It was interesting to note that the Manning’s had ploughed two furrows from Crystal Creek to the Smoky River that eventually became Highway 43.

The Manning house was donated to the Kleskun Hill Museum by Elvin and Tillie Gordon. It has been completely restored and contains a “Mail Slot Box” that may or may not be original.

Kleskun Hill Museum

James Alexander Brims – Postmaster 1913 – 1915
The Kleskun Hill Post Office was established on May 15, 1913 with James Brims being appointed as “Postmaster”. James was originally from Scotland and arrived in the Peace River District in 1910 and subsequently filed a homestead application on SE 17-72-4-W6. He was on the land in March 1912. As he had served in the British army in the South African War and was still a reservist, he went back to England to once again join the British army when WWI commenced. It is assumed that in his absence, he had the Manning Brothers provide Postal Services for Kleskun Hill at the Manning residence.
Mr. Brims resigned on August 29, 1915.
After the war, James moved to Arizona due to his health. He married Alison Dick Cullen in Phoenix on September 14, 1921. They had one son. James passed away in Phoenix in 1951.

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Thank You

Kleskun Store Wendy Smith

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped at the Kleskun Hill Museum this summer. Although the museum is now closed for the season, we hope you will still walk through the grounds during the off season.

County Park day use hours starting October 15th are Saturdays and Sundays 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Please follow us on FaceBook   @KleskunHillMuseum  for special events and anouncements. Have a wonderful fall.

Kleskun Hill Museum Days was a success!

We would like to thank everyone who came out to enjoy the afternoon with us, to all the Volunteers and our Sponsors who made the event possible: County of Grande Prairie #1, Peace Draft Horse Club, Gas Drive, Fillmore Construction, Fenton Greenhouses, Tod Loewen, Rebel Steam, Vintage Band, Prairie Signs and Rahcar Power Corporation.

Silent Auction: Sandy Fraser, Marlaine Hessler, Fenton Greenhouses, Bob Patterson, Jim Robertson, Eleanor Ford, Theresa Moon, Bob and Dorene Binks, Barb Prevost, David and Erika Robertson, Maxine Robertson, Lynne Oe, Kathleen Bulford, Gale Mellon, Don and Donna McNally

Sign Sponsors: Bezanson General Store, Our Lady of Perpetual Help- Bezanson Parish, Eleanor Smart and Warren Moore, Forgefire Metalworks Ltd., Noreen Ford Family, Lazy B Livestock, Bezanson School, Danny and Mary Antonio Family, 7B Farms, Henry and Mrytle Diederich Family

Kleskun Hill Museum Days

Situated in Kleskun Hill Park near Bezanson, approximately fifteen minutes east of Grande Prairie on Highway 43. Turn North on Range Rd. 41. Drive 4 kilometres. Turn West on Township Rd. 724 and drive to the top of the hill.
Hours of Operation: The Museum is open on the weekends from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. June 1 to September 1. Group Tours may be arranged through the week. The Church and Boyer Hall are also available for rental.
Phone: Tel: (780)-567-2221 or (780)-539-7651

This year on June 24 the classic in the hills annual picnic occurred at Kleskun Hills. Every year this is a picnic that the community comes together to appreciate the museum and to show how things were done in the past. The lunch was served in Roy Boyer hall, as well as ice cream sold outside for two dollars. The weather this lovely day was beautiful with a very nice breeze to keep everyone cool. This year the event started at noon and continue until four o’clock, many people from around the community came to this event to see the cool activities and events happening. The Kleskun Hills rise 100 metres above the plains surrounding Grande Prairie. The layers of clay, sandstone and coal are all exposed here, in Alberta’s northernmost badlands, which date back to the age of the dinosaurs.

The Turner Barn represents a bit of history of the Turner Family that arrived in the area in 1911 and in 1928 built the barn we see today.

Some of the many activities included bouncy castles, music, and rope making. There were two bouncy castles to enjoy,  a train as well as a western styled one. The people at the kids enjoy these bands girls and they were for the entire time. The Bezanson Fire Department had a tent in the shade with plenty of things to hand out to the kids who came and stopped by. During the afternoon a band was playing, which played great music, the genres were some Scottish tunes, old folk, and some old country, they also told some funny jokes and there was couples dancing on the sides. A tour that occurred as well, they lead us around all the old buildings, some that had been moved up to the hill for the museum, in all of the buildings there is old belongings from the past.  In the afternoon there were wagon rides for families to enjoy, they had two wagons going during the afternoon. Each wagon had two strong horses pulling the wagons around the hills to get the scenic view of the hills. Around 3 o’clock rope making was out by the barn and many kids and adults went to learn and see how rope was made back in the day. As well as another activity for the kids was sparkle tattoos being done by Tanna Howarth and Keira Dorner, there was many different cool designs and colours and the girls were great tattoo artists.

The Hubert Manning House Built in 1914 Donated by Elvin & Tillie Gordon

“This is an event that I look forward to every year, like how people look forward to Christmas, I look forwards to this. As well as visiting, the atmosphere is so nice, these people that you used to be neighbours with, you see them again and it’s just like old times” -Dorothea Bulford

Kleskun Hills, many people from around Bezanson know this beloved, scenic area. Located right beside the historic Edson Trail, the Kleskun Hills Museum has old farming machinery, memorabilia, nine restored, and original buildings from the area. These include East Kleskun School and Teacherage, which came from Nico and Harriet van der Giessens land, as well as two homestead houses, a store, barn, blacksmith shop, the church and information cabin.

Written By: Netisha Zacharias


Kleskun Hill Museum Summer Programming /Summer Maintenance Position

Do you have enthusiasm for history, weaving a good tale and talking to people from every walk of life? Are you creative, energetic, and looking for a unique summer position that you can return to next summer?  Does this sound like you? If so then you’re the person we want at the Kleskun Hill Museum.

When it comes to making local history fun and fascinating for visitors to the Kleskun Hill Museum, the Summer Programmer /Maintenance Person plays a pivotal role. You will be responsible for the following:

  • Opening & closing the Museum
  • Provide tours of the Historic Buildings
  • Work with Board to develop and deliver new programs
  • Provide information to visitors on Kleskun Hills very Unique History
  • Keep Heritage Buildings and grounds clean and inviting.
  • Accessioning, inventory, and data entry of Museum collection.
  • Accept donated items for the Boards review
  • Minor maintenance and painting in buildings as assigned by the board
  • Mowing trails
  • Aid in special events
  • Work with volunteers on building and artifacts
  • Aid in construction of exhibits

The Kleskun Hill Museum welcomes diversity in the workplace and encourages applications from all qualified Canadian students with a passion for history.   Superior communication skills, both written and presentation, is essential. The candidate must have a willingness to learn, to work independently and ideally, have experience creating and delivering public programs.  Due to the location of the Museum, the candidate must have a valid driver’s license or reliable transportation.

The position of Summer Programmer/ Summer Maintenance Person is a 16 week position, beginning on May 14 and ending on August 31, 2018. You will work a 5-day, 40-hour week, at $20.00 per hour, with a rotating schedule to allow for some weekends off.  This position will provide visitors with a memorable interpretive experience on the site during the 2018 summer season.

Please email your resume or inquiries to:

Only successful candidates will be contacted.