After a gruelling two-month, 1,300 kilometre trek across the prairie from Dufferin, Manitoba, Colonel James F. Macleod and his contingent of North West Mounted Police arrived here, on the banks of the Oldman River. Despite the lengthy and arduous trek across the plains, their work was far from finished. Macleod and his men raced against the oncoming frost to construct a fort that would house them through the winter, effectively establishing what would one day become a thriving community.
The North West Mounted Police were sent to the prairie with the purpose of stomping out the illegal liquor trade, which was wreaking immeasurable harm on the Blackfoot peoples of the area. Eradicating the trade of "firewater" helped the NWMP to forge a respectful, diplomatic relationship with the Blackfoot, one that would pave the way for the eventual signing of Treaty 7. The story of Fort Macleod is the story of the NWMP and the Blackfoot Confederacy, the buffalo and the saskatoon berry, and of the ranchers, bankers, teachers, leaders, men and women who have lived their lives on the plains.
Fort Macleod's dynamic and diverse history blooms in the recreations of the historic fort museum, in the living flora and fauna of the Oldman River watershed and the nearby Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, and finally, to the strong and stately stone heritage buildings of the city's downtown core.
This project is a partnership with the Cultural Heritage Tourism Alliance and Tourism Fort Macleod.
We respectfully acknowledge that Fort Macleod is on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearpaw, and Wesley First Nations.
Then and Now Photos
Chief Running Wolf
Fort Museum Archives FMP 80.202.6
This postcard is part of a series of ten postcards taken at the same event. The original title of this collection reads “largest Indian gathering in the Northwest date August 30, 1907, Fort Macleod, Alberta”. This image shows a group of First Nations people standing and sitting in traditional regalia. The top of the postcard reads, “Chief Running Wolf and Party of Blackfoot Braves.”
ca. early 1900s
In this photo, four RCMP march in procession down Main Street as part of a parade.
Quarter View of the Mackenzie Bridge
Glenbow Archives PA-249-1
A 1912 postcard featuring the Mackenzie Bridge, Published by Rumsey & Company, in Toronto.
Mounties at Attention
Fort Museum Archives FMP 80.171
In this photo, a line of mounties in full uniform stand at attention in the fort parade grounds.
A Cold Ride
Fort Museum Archives FMP 87.25.43
This photo shows the RCMP returning from a winter ride to enter the main gate of the barracks. The temperature was -40 degrees Celsuis.
The RNWMP Gate
Fort Museum Archives FMP 80.201.6
This postcard shows the gate at the entrance to the R.N.W.M.P. barracks at the old fort.
Fort Museum Archives FMP 81.86
In this photo, a group of First Nations sit in the grass outside the NWMP fort's barracks.
Fort Museum Archives FMP 81.38
The gravestones in this photo are memorials to Frank Baxter and Thos. Wilson in the cemetery. These two were the first N.W.M.P members to lose their lives in the force when they were caught in a blizzard between Fort Macleod and Fort Kipp.
Fort Museum Archives FMP 85.21.4
This photo captures the somber occasion of the funeral of Harry Watson, the first returned soldier to be buried in Canada.
A Relaxed Mountie
Fort Museum Archives FMP 87.25.22
1906 - 1928
A single mountie leans casually between two horses hooked up to a cart for a photo at the RCMP barracks.
Mounties on Parade
Fort Museum Archives FMP 80.368
This photo shows some Mounties on parade at barracks. Each man is mounted and is holding an unsaddled horse.
Fort Museum Archives FMP 81.144.42
A mounted First Nations man proceeds down the street in the 1924 parade, wearing an elaborate bone breast plate and carrying a rifle.
Old Timers at the Cairn
Fort Museum Archives FMP 87.19.1
In this photo, a group stands in front of the memorial cairn, with the union jack flying in the background. All of the individuals in this photo were said to be old timers of Fort Macleod in 1924. From left to right: R.J.E. Gardiner, Johnie Ryan, E.F. Brown, W.H. Cox, D.J. Grier, Tom Drinkwater, Cecil Denny, unknown, Michael Gallagher, D.J. Cummings, D.F. Moses, Tom Clarke, Mr. W. Armer, Mrs. J.W. McDonald.
Empress Theatre Advertises Shows
This photo shows several boards outside the Empress Theatre, advertising the shows that were running at the time.
Cars at the Canadian Legion
Glenbow Archives NA-3251-11
In this photo, groups of men sit in automobiles at the Canadian Legion building. From left to right, in the first car, is Ed Whipple, Malcolm McKenzie, W. O. Hoodless, and Doctor Mills, a dentist. In the second car is C. Gammon, Arthur Young, Ernest E. Haug, and E. H. Maunsell. In the third car, a Model T, is A. Fairweather, in white coat, and another unknown man.The fourth car is a 1908 Reo, with Van Somern, Harry Litle, andHarry Gilroy. The men in the fifth car are unknown.
Piikuni at the Empress
Glenbow Archives NA-659-13
Mounted Piikuni (Peigan) march down the street as part of the Fort Macleod jubilee parade in 1924.
Fort Museum Archives FMP 80.206
1940 - 1945
The Cowdry Bank framed by a building on each side.
Five young men pose excitedly for a photo in front of an Ansom plane.
Cairn Dedication Ceremony
Glenbow Archives NA-5413-14
A crowd assembled for the unveiling and dedication ceremony of a cairn memorializing the achievements of the North-West Mounted Police of 1874 on July 1st, 1927.
The Queen's Hotel
In this photo, several people, a dog, and a horse-drawn carriage are on the street outside the Queen's Hotel. The hotel was built in 1903, and was the first building in Fort Macleod to be constructed from sandstone.
Cars Outside the Empire Hotel
Fort Museum Archives FMP 80.34
Six open cars line the street outside the empire hotel, with a water-tower in the background. The back of the photo reads, “Empire Hotel, Fort Macleod late 1920’s looking to the South.”
A View West Down Main Street
Fort Museum Archives FMP 87.44.1
This Black and white postcard by Rumsey & Co., of Toronto shows 24th street in looking west. The old town hall at the east end of Main Street.