Our History

History of Claresholm Overview

Claresholm began as a siding when a railway line was constructed between Calgary and Macleod in 1891. At least since the 1880s the lush grasslands had drawn ranchers to the region. The new railway provided the ranchers with a convenient means to ship their cattle from Claresholm to markets elsewhere. The railway brought people and the siding provided the nucleus for the town.

In response to an extensive advertising campaign by the federal government and the CPR, settlers began to move into the region. Hundreds of families arrived in the region, coming from North Dakota, Minnesota, Oregon and also from Eastern Canada. They came for the homestead land and the promise of a better life for themselves and their children.

A large contingent of early settlers to Claresholm were of Norwegian heritage due to the arrival of Ole Amundsen in 1902 who came from Norway via North Dakota. He encouraged other Norwegians to come to the area by acting as a land agent and traveling back to North Dakota and later sent by the CPR to Norway to promote the area for others to come. People came from many different places and soon businesses flourished, providing the services needed in the area. Claresholm grew rapidly and was incorporated on August 31, 1905.

After its incorporation, Claresholm became an important agricultural service centre, and it remains so today. The community also provides a wide range of retail, professional and government services. Its location on a major north-south transportation corridor and makes it an attractive community for business and industry.