Three generations of the family Bragg Creek is named after gathered last Saturday for a tree-planting commemoration in their honour.
The Braggs came from as far away as Los Angeles, California to see local residents plant a Bur Oak to celebrate the family name.
The tree planting event was put together by members of the Bragg Creek and Area Historical Society in the new park on White Ave.
Michelle McDonald, the director of the hamlet's local historical society who co-wrote and published a book about the history of Bragg Creek in 2020, said the fact multiple descendents of the family were coming to the Calgary area for a memorial this summer provided the opportunity to invite them to attend the tree-planting event.
Furthermore, she said a few myths about the Braggs have floated around the hamlet in recent years, and she felt a plaque telling a bit of the family's story would help clear up any misconceptions.
"There hasn’t been to my knowledge or most of my peers’ knowledge an official or celebratory gesture to the Bragg family since 1894, when the creek was named Bragg Creek," she said.
"The family was so thrilled and that was nice to see.”
The information sign reads that the tree’s “roots symbolize the connection between the origin of the name and present-day Bragg Creek.” McDonald agreed a tree is the perfect symbol for the roots of the Bragg family in the area.
According to the adjoining plaque, the Braggs’ connection to the hamlet dates back to 1894, when Albert Warren Bragg and his 13-year-old brother John Thomas left their home in Collingwood, Nova Scotia and headed west, with dreams of becoming cowboys.
While surveying for the Dominion Land Corporation, A.O. Wheeler met the boys camped beside a little creek in what is now southern Alberta. Unknown to them until years later, he used the name Bragg for the creek on his maps. The name resonated with later settlers, and remains the name of the community today. The family connection continued as subsequent generations of the Bragg family visited and enjoyed the area.
"The town could have been called Fullerton, because that was one of the bigger homesteading families, but it remained Bragg Creek," McDonald said. "I guess the early settlers liked that name.”
Long-time Calgary resident Robert Bragg said at the event he was proud to have the hamlet named after his family.
“We visit regularly – we like to go for ice cream,” he said.
Rocky View County Div. 1 Coun. Kevin Hanson, a woodworker, said at the tree-planting the choice of the Bur Oak was a good metaphor for early settlers of the area, since it’s known for its resilience and ability to withstand chinooks, fires, floods, and -30 C winters. Although it grows slowly, Hanson said it does eventually settle in, and he added that the wood itself shares characteristics with early Bragg Creekers.
“It’s representative of the spirit of the hamlet,” he said.
“White oak wood is tough. It can be bent, but does not break."
The historical society produced the book Bragg Creek: Stories of our Past in 2020, the culmination of work from major contributors Barbara Teghtmeyer, Marie Nylund, and Judie Norman, along with McDonald as the lead author. The book was also aided by submissions of stories from other members of the Bragg Creek community.
It features a number of colourful tales, including one of how Richard Marin – aka “Cheech” of the comedy duo “Cheech and Chong” – showed up in Bragg Creek looking for a job in 1968.
For those interested in reading more on the colourful history of Bragg Creek and area, the second shipment of the local book is on sale at Bragg Creek Trading Post, Branded Visuals, Best Little Word House, Moose Mountain General Store, One of a Kind, and the Cinnamon Spoon.