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by Farley Wuth, Curator,
Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village
Copyright, Pincher Creek & District Historical Society


George William Penn was born in July 1884 overseas in England. Nearly four years older, Eliza’s birth dated to November 1880. She too was born in England. The couple immigrated to Canada in 1907, initially settling in the Crowsnest Pass coal mining settlement of Coleman. It was there that their two daughters Violet Francis and Florence Ada were born in November 1908 and January 1911 respectively.

While in Coleman, George Penn worked as a clerk at the local Canadian Pacific Railway station. His work was year round and his earnings in 1910 totaled 700 dollars.

In 1914, the Penns moved east to Lundbreck where George secured employment at the C.P.R. station there. The tracks were located on the settlement’s north side. The family’s residency was at the station house. The railway at that time was just under twenty years old. The Crowsnest Branch of the C.P.R. was constructed in 1897 – 1898 and accessed the markets for the cattle ranches of the Pincher Creek area and the coal mining resources of the Crowsnest Pass. Lundbreck in particular benefited from both of these industries.


During the next nineteen years, Eliza was very active in the Lundbreck community. Her work won her a host of friends and admirers. For several years she was an active Board member of the Lundbreck School District No. 1571. Earlier classes were housed in a bunkhouse. Its one room country school, located where the Livingstone School now stands, dated to 1910. After much debate two classrooms were established in 1932 to handle the growing student population.

Later Eliza Penn served as the Secretary of the Lundbreck Community Hall Association established in 1922. Located in the heart of the settlement, the Hall has been a longtime popular gathering point for meetings and social events.

She also was an active volunteer with St. Chad’s Church of England and regularly played bridge with her friends and acquaintances. Particularly interested in sports, she participated in local golf and badminton games. In a sad turn of events, it was while watching a ball game between Lundbreck and Cowley that Eliza suddenly was stricken with a fatal heart attack. Death the evening of Monday, July 17th, 1933 was almost immediate. Her service was held the afternoon of July 19th from St. Chad’s Church with burial taking place out at the west coast.

Research sources utilized for this history article include back issues of the Pincher Creek Echo, housed in the Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village archives and data on the Penn Family found in the Dominion of Canada Census for 1911.

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