How Rimbey got its name

The history of the Town of Rimbey and the family that moved to the area in the early 1900s.

  • Dec. 14, 2016 10:00 a.m.

 

Our Small Town

 

The closing sentence in our recent article in the Rimbey Review, “How Rimbey Got Its Name”, was “The Department chose Rimbey.”

“Why Rimbey?” the reader might ask. “Why not Guin or Cutler or Goings or Vliet, or any one of the surnames of other families who settled in the area around 1900?”

One answer might be that according to the Land Titles Office in Edmonton, Benjamin (Ben) Rimbey was the first to file on a homestead in what is now Rimbey, which he did in February of 1901.

A second possible answer lies in in the location of the quarters the three Rimbey brothers who had come from Kansas owned.

Ben’s quarter bordered the north side of what is now 50th Avenue, the main east-west route through Rimbey. The house in which he and his wife, Louise, raised their family is still standing.  It is currently the Rondeel Family Home and is located just west of the old Rimbey Transport site.

Ben’s brother Jim filed on the neighboring quarter to the west of Ben’s land, and he and his wife, Eva, built a large house for the time, a short way north of where James’ Bar and Grill and the bowling alley now stand. Their home housed the first post office and the earliest hotel

in the community.

Sam and Molly Rimbey had two adjoining quarters on the south side of the road, across from Ben and Jim’s properties. Their house was located on the east side of their western quarter, about where Cooperators Insurance and Michael’s Studio are today.

When one considers that a quarter of land measures a half-mile by a half-mile, and notes that the Rimbey families occupied two quarters (a full mile in length) on each side of the main route through the community, it becomes clearer as to why the provincial Department of the Interior chose to name the budding settlement Rimbey.

The three brothers prospered. They raised their families here and  made significant contributions to the early development of the area; but over the years since those pioneer times,  the many descendants of the Rimbey families have scattered to the four winds – to train, to work, to marry, to see the world…

Just one thread has remained, tying the past to the present…

 

That thread also ties this article to the Alberta Culture Days celebration. The accompanying photo series was a part of the “Our Small Town” exhibit.

 

Florence Stemo Beatty Heritage House Society

 

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