The roots of Raymond Shores reach deep into the history of the old west. The RV Park reflects the dedication, sacrifice and vision of pioneers who worked hard to make their dreams of a better life come true in the land of Alberta.
What’s In a Name
The Raymond family came to Gull Lake in 1899. They came from South Dakota where they farmed and had been friends with Sioux Indians. The men worked on the Raymond farm during harvest while their wives helped Adelaide with household chores. One reason the Raymonds left was due to their disgust at the way the First Nations people were treated by the US army during the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1896.
The family travelled from South Dakota with 20 families and 80 covered wagons. It took three months to reach Gull Lake. Charley Raymond, the oldest son was the wagon master and Adelaide drove a democrat with her aged mother and a year old baby as passengers.
Charley staked out land on the shores of the Lake and built one of the first homes on a 1900 homestead. Later he also owned owned a meat market, managed a Furniture Store and then became an undertaker in Lacombe. The Raymond family name was firmly established in the Gull Lake area.
The region around Gull Lake was explored and mapped by David Thompson in 1814. Local Cree Indians called it Gull Lake due to large populations of nesting Gulls.
- A lumber mill was established at Birch Bay around 1897.
- In 1898 a steam boat named the Kangaroo carried milled lumber to the south end.
- Sailboats and rowboats soon followed in the wake of the Kangaroo.
- In 1911 a double decked vessel, the Sea Gull, provided countless pleasure tours and picnic charters on the lake was powered by a wood burning boiler.
- People built summer cottages due to the easy access to cheap lumber.
- The summer village of Gull Lake was the first to be established in Alberta in 1913. A number of today’s owners of summer cottages are descendants of those settlers.
- In 1908 a dam was built establishing Gull Lake briefly as a hydroelectric lake. In 1910 the dam was destroyed by dynamite under murky circumstances.
- In 1932 the Aspen Beach Provincial Park became one of Alberta’s first Provincial Parks.
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