Secondary Highway #810 running north to south, west of Fort Macleod, is known by local citizens as the Blue Trail.
1916 Opening of the Blue Trail. 1945 the Blue Trail was gravelled.
The story of how the Blue Trail received its name was relayed by Darrel Fraser:
The first effort at giving travellers information was a booklet published in 1917, giving directions from place to place, such as so many miles south, so many miles east, etc. following the road allowances.
The first recorded maps, according to the Glenbow Museum, were published in 1920 by the Department of Public Works of the Province of Alberta. Another map was published the same year by the Dominion Auto Trail Association.
The roads were mostly unimproved and were designated by colors. To keep travellers from getting too lost, collared markers were placed from point to point along the route. For example the road from Medicine Hat to the Crowsnest Pass was called the Red Route, the approximate location of #3 Highway today. The road from Strathmore to Medicine Hat was the Yellow Route. The road from Calgary north was the Black Route.
The Blue Route started in Banff, through Calgary, south to Macleod, to Glenwood, Cardston, to Babb, Montana, to Glacier Park Station. I remember the Blue Markings on the telephone poles on the Blue Trail when I was riding to school at Ardenville in the 1940’s.
One major improvement to the Blue Trail in the 40’s was the creation of so-called ‘ Speed Turns’ in place of the ninety degree corners. Drivers could negotiate these at speeds of at least 30 miles per hour!
When the name was changed from the Blue Route to the Blue Trail, I don’t know.
Compiled by Darrel Fraser
1899 - 1987
Painter, Writer, Teacher, Horticulturalist, and Naturalist.
During her childhood years in Fort Macleod, Annora Brown developed an enduring love for the prairie and foothills of Southern Alberta. As a young woman in the 1920s she entered the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, studying under Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald – two members of the famed Group of Seven.
After graduating she returned to Fort Macleod, where her love of both art and the landscape of Southern Alberta soon intertwined. She shared this passion teaching classes at Mount Royal College in Calgary, the Banff School of Fine Arts and the University of Alberta, while continuing to paint from her home base in Fort Macleod.
In 1954, she authored Old Man’s Garden, a sketchbook of Southern Alberta wildflowers and accounts of native peoples’ use of plants. This was followed in 1981 by Sketches from Life, an autobiography. Brown was a founder and first woman member of the Alberta Society of Artists. She also received an Honorary Degree from University of Lethbridge and she started a Sketch Club in Fort Macleod. She continued to paint until her death in 1987. Her delicate yet forceful works have been on display in Alberta, Ontario and Manitoba, as well as New York, Chicago, England and Australia. Annora Brown’s art and writings are a source of continuing pride to Fort Macleod.