What was Hanna like in 1937? The majority of the sidewalks were wooden, the streets unpaved and rough. The homes were heated by coal, a heater in the living room, the kitchen by a cook stove. Water was delivered to many homes by horses and cart, later by truck, so much per pail. Plumbing, for instance, was only in the houses of the better-off people. The "wee house" in the corner of the back yard was more prevalent. Many of the homes needed painting but times were hard and there was no money for home improvements. Yes, our town was quite different from the Hanna of the 1980's! Relief or Welfare, as we now call it, was the lot of many families. Jobs were scarce and the rule of life was, "make do, make over or do without." Many needy people received apples, fish and cheese that were shipped in from British Columbia and Ontario by rail.
These were extremely dry years and the farmers, also, were eking out a mere existence. In the Hanna Herald during 1937 there were two very severe dust storms reported. At the end of May, telephone and electric lines and small buildings were blown down and the town was strewn with debris. The "worst storm ever," was the general conclusion.
It is interesting to note the prices of food and clothing in those days! Again, the Hanna Herald is our source of information. Grade "A" large eggs were retailing at 12 cents a dozen, peaches by the box at Chadbourn's store were $1.50. Carol's Coffee Shop would serve you a hot dog and a cup of coffee for 10 cents and a Sunday chicken dinner for 50 cents! Men's suits ranged in price from $11.95 - $21.00, and ladies summer hats were on sale at $1.00. You could buy your boy a pair of shoes for $2.50 - $2.95 per pair. A brand new Chevrolet two-passenger Business Coupe retailed for $745.00! In 1938, Mrs. Crego of Spondin had a six-roomed house for sale with a new furnace for $200.00, cash. We had passenger trains in and out of Hanna in those days and you could travel to Calgary, return from Hanna for $3.45.
Yes, these were depression days but there was a bright side to the dark clouds! Neighborliness was a way of life. People cared about one another and shared what they had, be it ever so little. The churches were well attended, both morning and evening services and many were turning to the Lord. The gospel was preached over the radio and people found Christ through the "Heaven and Home Hour", "Sunrise Gospel Hour", and through broadcasts from Prairie Bible Institute, to mention just three. Rev. Oscar Lowry was on the air from Calgary for some time and many still talk of how the opened their hearts to the Lord Jesus through his ministry. Faith in God grew in people's hearts as they trusted Him for the supply of daily needs and He answered prayer. We were cast on God and He honored our faith.
Hanna Alliance Church celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1987, July 31, August 1 and 2 with a weekend of events and services.
In January 1937 our church began humbly in a rented building, the "White School". It was located close to the present Primary School.
The first pastor was Mr. Clifford Carter, who was also a busy layman. He was employed for many years by Odell's Limited.
Later, as the schoolhouse was needed for pupils, the church group, known as Calvary Tabernacle, moved to the Alma Block on Second Avenue, West.
In 1941, the little group decided to join with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and, as Mr. Carter had resigned, Mr. Gordon Ferguson became the first Alliance pastor.
The Bambrick building at the corner of Third Avenue, East and Center Street was for sale, so the church purchased it and moved in. Many renovations were made as the finances came in. The church was growing rapidly, especially the Sunday School and youth group.
During the years 1944 - 46 many major projects took place. The building was raised and Mr. Otto Pfahl, with horses and slip dug a hole for the basement. Many other men helped with this back breaking job, digging dirt out by hand and then pouring cement for the walls. Having the basement provided the church with much needed Sunday School rooms and a fellowship room. Living quarters for the early pastors was at the rear of the Tabernacle. They were really cramped for space!
The congregation grew under the ministries of William Rose, John Harder, Norman Dreger, Harold Jost, John Klassen and Roy David. During Mr. Klassen's and Mr. David's years here we had the largest Sunday School in our history. How we packed them all in that little building is a great mystery! Then, the CN cut down drastically on their operation in Hanna and we lost several families who had to move away.
In 1962 we purchased the old United Church building and found it much more spacious and convenient. After Dr. David left Howard Woodruff, Graeme Crouch, Percy Barley and Jack Allinson served as our ministers in this building.
As the years went by we realized that extensive renovations were necessary on the old building so after prayer and seeking God's will in the matter it was decided to build a new sanctuary. Lots were purchased on Second Avenue West and on June 10th, 1973, our present attractive and functional church was dedicated to the Lord.
Many of our young people have gone out into Christian service from this place. A church is made up of individuals, young and old, and all kinds of personalities and backgrounds. We cannot mention all by name but each one, even to the smallest child, has contributed something to the functioning of the church. A helping hand, a warm smile, a willing heart, a loving hug, these things are what makes a church an extended family.
Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald