Kansas Ridge was the first name given to this community at the turn of the century as many of the settlers came from Kansas. Among them were the three Rimbey brothers, Sam, Ben and Jim, for whom the town was officially named after in 1904. A 1909 brochure declared Rimbey to "have every prospect of becoming a good town. It now has two stores, a large hotel, grist mill, saw mill, ...creamery, school, Methodist Church and Church of England."
Picture of Downtown Rimbey
The village of Rimbey grew along a dirt street faced with frame buildings with boom town fronts to distinguish them from the homes that were being built.
In 1919 the railway reached Rimbey and there was much enthusiasm for the "new town" by the tracks (now Highway #20). Two grain companies built elevators the following year and Rimbey's population swelled to 319 by 1921.
Through the 1920's the community grew, the lumber yards thrived, and the scene of people moving to town became popular.
The Village always managed to bounce back after frequent fires destroyed businesses on Jasper Avenue, now 50th Avenue.
Village merchants sold everything from modern farm implements to photographic supplies and opened a number of service stations.
In 1930, the Village acquired a hospital, giving a welcome boost to the size of Rimbey's workforce.
The Second World War brought abrupt changes to Rimbey, as young men and sometimes their families left the Village. When war was over some returned and others did not. Many new faces came to Rimbey and the population surged to 634 by 1946.
The empty lots north of Jasper Avenue were soon filled with houses and improvements were made to the streets and sidewalks.
However, development was haphazard as Rimbey continued to mix business and industrial sites with residential lots.
A Planning Report in 1954 determined that zoning should be brought in and some public open space be established to create a more attractive town and improvements be made to the commercial area to better service a population that had reached 915.
Modernization through the 1960's began to change the appearance of Rimbey's 50th Avenue, but if you look carefully you can see remnants of the past.
Celebrating 100 Years
Over one hundred years ago, in 1902, the young community recognized a need for a school so the Education Committee built the Kansas Ridge School. It marked the community's commitment to the future; 100 years later the school can now be seen on the grounds of Pas-Ka-Poo Historical Park.
Picture of Kansas Ridge School in 1906
Ben Rimbey registered 3 quarter-sections for his family. Abner Raymond arrived in the area about the same time.
Rimbey brothers (Sam & Ben) returned to break land and build house for their families to come join them.
Settlement named Kansas Ridge, Northwest Territories established here. First small store opened by Charles Townsend in part of the Jim Rimbey House.
Dominion Land Survey established new Townsite (later to become Rimbey).
Jim Cox opened first general store, stocked with 12 wagon loads of merchandise from Lacombe. Cox's Store became a community institution.
First official school built, named the Kansas Ridge School, with Mr. James Vliet as the teacher.
Alberta officially became a province on Sept. 1st, 1905.
Anglican congregation built log church on land donated by Ben Rimbey.
Methodist (United) Church built on land donated by Jim Rimbey.
First blacksmith shop opened on Main Street.
First doctor, Dr. Samuel Byers, arrived from Nebraska.
New businesses prospered in Rimbey; Empress Theatre opened; first Village Council inaugurated; Barber Shop opened by Fred Newsom; first High School started by Mabel Fleming Mellis to save having to send the older children to Lacombe after elementary school.
Railroad arrived in Rimbey.
Jack Beatty opened hardware store.
Rimbey gets electricity from the Drader power plant.
Jack Beatty built his house at the crossroads on Main Street where it still stands, now known as the Beatty House.
St. Paul's Hospital opened.
Rimbey officially became a town on Jan. 1st, with Benjamin Gunn as Mayor. Rimbey's population at the time was 757.
Water and sewage installation in Rimbey.
First Rimbey Library opened, started by volunteers and begun with a $50 budget for books.
Fred Schutz's column in the Rimbey Record calls for the establishment of a museum, and he helped bring the old Anglican log church and other old buildings in to make a start at Pas-Ka-Poo Park.
Lt. Governor Grant MacEwan offically opened Pas-Ka-Poo Park Historical Park.
Rimbey Community Centre opened.
A committee of the Rimbey Historical Society buys the Beatty House from the Town.
The Smithson International Truck Museum opened.
The Beatty House is designated as a Registered Historic Resource by the Province of Alberta.
The first Canada Day celebrated in the Park.
The Beatty Heritage House Society is incorporated.
Rimbey holds their 100th Anniversary Celebrations from July 18th to the 21st.
Rimbey celebrates Alberta's 100th Anniversary from Sept. 1st to the 4th.
The Beatty House is designated as a Municipal Historic Resource, the first such designation from the Town of Rimbey, and is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.
Rimbey celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the International Truck from July 13th to 15th.
For more information on the history of Rimbey, check out the following history books:
Pas-ka-poo: An Early History of Rimbey and the Upper Blindman Valley
Compiled and written by Fred Schutz (with with editing assistance from Jack Parry), The Rimbey Record, Rimbey, Alberta. December, 1962, (from material collected over several years, much of it from the old timers and pioneers themselves)
Over the Years: A History of the Rimbey Area.
Rimbey History Book Committee, Rimbey Historical Committee, InterCollegiate Press, Rimbey, Alberta,Canada.1983
History of Rimbey, Fifty Years of Progress, 1902-1952
Rimbey History Book Committee, 1952/Microfiche