Under Eight Flags

It was during 1909 when the CPR laid out a town site which would be known as Milk River. By 1916 the town had grown to a population of 150 and was declared a village. The 1920s saw a period of prosperity come to Milk River as better technology contributed to greater efficiency in the farming industry. At this time a graveled highway to Lethbridge was built.

 

The Great Depression, drought and windstorms of the 1930s resulted in decreased farm incomes and consequently reduced spending.  Strip farming and the Noble Blade were introduced to conserve topsoil; trading developed as the new currency.

 

During the Second World War, 115 young people from Milk River and area joined the forces. It was a time of growth for the agriculture industry as farm size became larger and farm equipment became larger and more efficient. A paved highway was built from Coutts to Lethbridge, Calgary Power installed rural power lines and by 1946 the population had grown to 500 people.

 

In February 1956, Milk River became a town and in 1959 celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. In the sixties, seventies and eighties Milk River saw slow but consistent growth with an increase in the number of businesses, educational and recreational facilities, an RCMP detachment, construction of a hospital and seniors lodge, municipal airport and a travel interpretive centre.

 

Today, The Town of Milk River continues to be a service centre to the surrounding agricultural industry with some diversification occurring gradually. Its location between the United States border and Lethbridge/Calgary places Milk River in a high traffic tourist and trucking corridor. During 2000 the construction began on the twinning of Highway 4, part of the CANAMEX corridor. The CANAMEX project aims at creating a transportation corridor between Mexico City and Alaska. In Canada, the CANAMEX Corridor will link Montana, Alberta, and British Columbia and connect to the Alaska Highway.

 

In 1803 President Jefferson of the United States authorized the Louisiana Purchase, the land on which the town of Milk River was later to rise became American territory. But this was not the first claim to the yet unexplored region; in fact lying north of the 49th Parallel and within the area of the Mississippi-Missouri river systems, Milk River is unique in Canada. There could have flown over this land at various times no less than eight flags representing six governments and one great company.

 

flag-frenchIn 1682 the French explorer La Salle claimed the whole Mississippi system and the land which it drained for King Louis XIV of France and named the area Louisiana.

 

 

flag-spainIn 1762 by the secret Treaty of San Ildefenso France abandoned the still largely unexplored region to the Spanish Empire.

 

 

flag-franceIn 1800 Spain ceded the region to Napoleon who intended to establish French rule firmly but was unable to do so.

 

 

flag-us

In 1803 the territory was acquired by the United States for a payment which eventually totaled $27 million.

 

 

flag-hbcIn 1818 a Convention signed between the United Kingdom and the United States established the boundary of British North America as far as the Rocky Mountains along the 49th Parallel, cutting of the extreme northern area of the Mississippi-Missouri system. By previously granted license the newly-acquired territory came under the administration of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

 

 

flag-britainIn 1869, following the formation of the new Dominion of Canada in 1867, jurisdiction over the western territories previously administered by the Hudson’s Bay Company was transferred to the government in Ottawa.

 

 

flag-redensignIn 1945 by Order-in-Council the Canadian government declared the Red Ensign to be the distinctive Canadian flag.

 

 

flag-canadaIn 1965, by Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Maple Leaf flag was declared the official flag of the Dominion of Canada.