Galt cemetery tours a stroll through city’s history

·2 min read

The Galt Museum and Archives hosted a tour of the Mountain View Cemetery Wednesday morning, part of their traditional Cemetery Walks tours showcasing the rich history of Lethbridge’s local cemeteries.

Participants were guided on a tour of Mountain View by Tanis Crosschild, assistant coordinator for the museum, who shared information and facts about this cemetery’s history and local historical figures buried there.

Mountain View Cemetery was the second one built in the city, created when transportation and travel became an issue for early settlers living in the south. Anglicans, with St. Augustine’s Church, raised money to buy the lot that Mountain View resides on, creating a private cemetery in 1901 that is now the Block 1 area. In 1905, B.C. Moore, a local businessman, also built a private cemetery next to this area, which was purchased by the city in 1909, opening it to the public.

“By the 1920s, the City was also operating the Anglican section, and by the 1940s the City had full ownership of the entire cemetery. Building on from them to how it has come about, growing into this,” said Crosschild as she led the tour group through Mountain View.

Many historical figures are buried in the cemetery, like George Rogers, 1857 – 1909, the last Mayor of the Town of Lethbridge and the first Mayor of the City of Lethbridge. Rogers died of tuberculosis and was buried in the cemetery where his tombstone shows his prominence with its grandeur, a cross carved to look like a tree stump showing his life was cut short too soon.

Crosschild’s knowledge of the cemetery and tour skills gave insight to viewers on the history of Lethbridge and the vast culture interred beneath Mountain View. Tour members were able to respectfully stroll the grounds while enjoying learning new facts they might never had known.

“The tree trunk symbolizes that your life had been cut down too early. Usually, you’ll see tree trunks on kids that were buried here,” said Crosschild, sharing the design and choice of certain tombstones. “Different materials were used in headstones, wood would be the oldest material, while sandstone is soft enough so that it can be hand carved. But unfortunately, this softness also makes it vulnerable to the sandblasting and erosion of the wind.”

The Galt’s Cemetery Tours are a great opportunity to learn about the city’s history and enjoy a pleasant outing with experienced guides. The Museum will have four tours in August, starting with Mountain View on Aug. 6 and another on Aug. 17. There are also tours scheduled for St. Patrick’s Cemetery on Aug. 10 and Aug. 24.

Ryan Clarke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald

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