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      Lethbridge and District Association of REALTORS®
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Cowley  


The village of Cowley is located in sunny south-western Alberta, nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Alberta foothills. Cowley is just minutes from Pincher Creek and one hour from Lethbridge. Cowley is in cattle country, where the majority of the population resides in the country and their livelihood depends on the cattle and agriculture industries. Cowley is extremely accessible as it is located on Highway 3, the major route to southern BC. What sets Cowley apart from other villages is its unique surroundings and new industry developments. They are met by wind plant generators with huge turbines 24 to 43 meters high. These wind plants were the first in Canada and have put Cowley on the map. The Canadian Energy Corp. and Cowley Ridge Wind Power Inc. currently operate the local power plants. The community is well documented in Canadian history based on a historic frontier event that occurred just 4 km north of Cowley. In 1867 twelve settlers with their wagons were bound for Oregon, heard of the gold strike near the Fort Saskatchewan and decided to take a detour through Blackfoot tribe territory. They progressed as far as Massacre Butte where they were confronted by the natives lead by "Medicine Calf" and there met their demise. Cowley began in the 1880s with ranchers moving into the area and this was followed by two large waves of French Quebec immigrants in 1882 and 1887. These groups began cultivating the land and planting crops and based on the large French speaking settlement, the area became known as the “French Flats” in 1887. In 1892, James Carney began referring to the flats as “Cow-lea” and the name became official in 1900 with the naming of the Cowley Post Office. In 1898 the CPR arrived and in 1899 a bridge was built over the Oldman River which increased travel, creating more settlement and local business sector developments. From 1903 to 1904 both the Cowley Hotel and Alberta Hotel were established. The year 1908 brought the first school and by 1912 the village had expanded to include two butcher shops, many churches, the Union Bank and Pettits’ Restaurant. In 1909 the Alberta hotel was destroyed by fire and in 1914 the village suffered a large fire that destroyed almost everything, including the Post Office, the Telephone Exchange, Pettits’ Restaurant and C.N. Cyr’s boucherie. In 1933 the Cowley School and the Cowley Hotel were destroyed by fire. Cowley’s main industry base is agriculture and lumber. With many ranches and farms in the vicinity, the nearby populace relies on Cowley to service their daily needs. The population in 1996 was 277 people and this declined to 225 people by the 2001 census. The village of Cowley experienced a huge setback in 2002 with the closure of the Johnson Brothers lumber mill, a local foundation since 1967. Cowley is slowly recovering with the aid of a two local sandstone quarries, Windmill Sandstone Quarry and 5’s Enterprises, which are becoming a vital part of Cowley’s economic base.








 
     
Lethbridge and District Association of REALTORS®
516 - 6th Street South - Lethbridge, AB T1J2E2
Phone: 403.328.8838 Fax: 403.328.8906
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