Alberta town’s history becomes online sensation

A popular Facebook page provides former residents of Hines Creek an opportunity to stay connected with their roots

The logical place to start when gathering stories for a history book was to begin a Facebook page, said Roxanne Lefebvre.

Four years later, the Hines Creek history book has long been published, but the Hines Creek History Book Facebook page has grown and attracts new members each week.

“I have lots of members who used to live here. They now live in Vancouver, or Africa, but this page keeps them connected. It brings them back here.”

When Lefebvre started the Facebook page, she and the history book committee hoped to tease out a few more stories for the book. The page started a conversation that still continues with almost 1,000 members.

“This is good for any community.”

In the beginning, Lefebvre posted photos from high school and asked members to guess who they were. Many people commented that they couldn’t wait for Lefebvre’s next post and membership grew.

“It was a huge success; members flocked to the page,” said Lefebvre of Hines Creek, Alta.

“Everyone loves photos. When people post photos, they are sharing the good times and how the town has changed.”

History book committee member Roberta Barber hasn’t lived in Hines Creek for more than 50 years, but volunteered to work on the history book: Our Roots, Past and Present, from her Vancouver Island home as a way to give back to her home community, reconnect with friends and use the Facebook page to clarify facts for the book.

“We would have missed some of the stories of folks that are no longer with us if someone hadn’t taken the time to post a memory from early years on the page,” said Barber.

“We could not cover everything in our books and there are many stories out there to be told.”

Former high school principal Val Riewe was a main driver behind the latest history book and a previous pictorial history of Hines Creek, The End of Steel.

“I have been humbled by how the Hines Creek Facebook group continues to grow and former community members or their descendants have been able to connect and contribute through this,” said Riewe, now of Grande Prairie.

“The response to the request for stories was very successful, much more so than anticipated, with many families providing stories, with some encouraging, prodding and nagging,” said Riewe.

Barber said she appreciates new members jumping in to post pictures, videos, old newspaper articles, obituaries and wedding photos to rekindle memories.

“When you see someone has posted something new you are excited to see what and who has a story to tell and it always awakens another memory you had forgotten,” said Barber.

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