The Hazzard County Inn is celebrating a historic milestone, after the building turned 100 years old on April 17, 2017.
The building was originally built by James and Catherine Dingwall, after they moved to Sylvan Lake from Red Deer on April 17, 1917, according to the Sylvan Lake archives. After the initial building burned down due to a gasoline lamp explosion – the Dingwalls decided to rebuild in January 1921. The Hazzard County Inn you see today is the 1921 original rebuilt building.
The building was originally used as a boarding house for C.N.R Railway crews, who would stay in the building with the Dingwalls before shipping off west to Rocky Mountain House and beyond. According to the archives, 14-16 trains would pass through Sylvan Lake per day at the time, many of them carrying miners to Nordegg. The Dingwalls, according to the archives, would serve free meals to many of these travelers – especially during the tough years of the Depression.
According to the building’s current owner Jacqueline Izat – the building has been many things since the Dingwalls moved on, including a grocery store, a hair salon, a perogie hut and finally the bar you see today – which opened 20 years ago.
Izat is excited to be able to celebrate a piece of Sylvan Lake’s history with the community.
“I think it is a landmark,” she said. “Sylvan Lake has a few landmarks, but the more we have, the better it is for our town.”
Izat also noted that it is very fortunate that Hazzard County can celebrate their 100-year milestone during the same year as the Canada 150 celebrations across the country.
“That is very exciting and I am happy it happened this year,” said Izat, adding that Hazzard County still standing is a testament to the hard work that the Dingwalls put in a century ago.
“It is special because it’s so old and it’s a part of history,” Izat said. “It is a part of Sylvan Lake and we need to keep that. Anything that is older is just beautiful.”
Izat’s staff and patrons have all expressed excitement to her regarding the milestone celebrations.
“They are very excited and they didn’t even realize that it was the 100th year until I put it onto Facebook,” Izat said. “Everyone is really stoked for May.”
Izat added that the she appreciates the support of her staff and regular patrons who have been loyal to the establishment for many years.
The celebrations will take place in earnest on May 26 and 27, for those looking to join in.
“We will have the Hick Finnie Band coming in, so we will have live music all day,” Izat said. “We will have free food, drink specials and lots of laughs.”
Izat added she is “very proud to be part of this and I am very proud to own this building.”