Radway, a serene farming community, comes alive when the Grand North American Old Time Fiddle Championship is in town. This is the seventh year that the Wild Rose Old Tyme Fiddlers Association has chosen the Radway Agricentre, an excellent facility in which to host the annual competitions.

Radway became populated by homesteaders following the 1904 expansion of the Canadian Northern Railway to Edmonton. The hamlet began as a small railway station, named after Orland S. Radway, an early settler and shopkeeper. The Radway family had moved to the area from South Dakota. Radway later became the first postmaster in town. The hamlet developed as surrounding farms were settled by German and Ukrainian farmers.

By the late 1920s the hamlet was very prosperous and the local Board of Trade decided to build a flour mill after the nearest mill, at Bruderheim, burned down in 1928. Radway itself was ravaged by two major fires in 1926, showing how common this problem was in Alberta communities. Peter J Melnyck attributes the frequent fires to a lack of controlled town planning, which allowed buildings with high risk of fire, such as mills, to be built in the heart of a town, where fire could easily be spread. The Alberta Town Planning Act of 1929 was an attempt to improve the building placement within communities. W.A. Krause, already a mill owner in Leduc, volunteered materials and help to build Radway’s mill. The Canadian National Railway agreed to build a spur line to the mill site.

Krause also erected a grain elevator next to the mill. Radway also had a local creamery, built in 1926, and these two businesses processed significant amounts of agricultural products. In the 1920s, Radway had a population of about 300 people and offered a wide variety of services besides the mill, including a livery, a K-12 school, two blacksmith shops, a hospital, a shoemaker, several general stores, four churches, and an egg grading station. The flour mill and elevator were the apex of the boom in Radway, drawing farmers from a wide radius around the town. These visitors in turn also visited the other businesses in Radway.

The Great Depression affected the prosperity of Radway, but the hamlet still benefited from the mill and creamery as farmers could process their products locally, rather than shipping them east. Krause sold the flour mill to the St. Paul Flour Milling Company, and it was sold along with the elevator to the United Grain Growers in the 1950s. More efficient transportation developed following World War II, and the flour mill became increasingly unprofitable. The mill was shut down in 1953 and torn down in 1959, although its foundations remain. The grain elevator survived and operated until 1996. Radway’s Krause grain elevator is the last remaining of five elevators that originally existed in the hamlet.

     --Eve Coppinger

Camping / Accommodations

Free Camping space is abundant - NO HOOK-UP FACILITIES

Showers are available in adjacent sportsfield change rooms

Other accommodations are within reasonable distance:

Edmonton: 40 min. away
Fort Saskatchewan: 35 min. away
Redwater: 20 min. away
   HOST HOTEL: Paradise Inn & Suites
     1-844-535-6627, 5323-48 Avenue
     Redwater AB T0A 2W0
   Best Western 1-888-347-2319

Map / Directions

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