Out of the shadow of mystery a tale of V Bar V

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Vee Bar Vee artifacts relocated to Countess, AB

It was 1957, when a young man named Jim and 3 friends were searching for work, and had bused down from Edmonton to Calgary. In 1957, Jim had just fled the revolution in Hungary the year before and come to Canada at just 20 years old.

Luck struck on April 15, 29157 their first day at the unemployment office, when a gent named Mr. Curb came looking for 2 helpers, one of the 4 replied all of them or none as they wanted to stay together, to which this man took them up on the offer of the 4 workers. Mr. Curb, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints (Mormon colloquially) was one of 3 millionaires that own Vee Bar Vee Ranch. Jim would spend 6 months working the ranch. Mr. Curb on the way in would radio ahead to have chicken prepared for the new workers, which filled their bellies now that work had filled their hope. It is also noted the workers would get to know Mr. Curb’s son, Lloyd.

Within  a few months of Jim starting his work, the millionaires would sell the 78,000 acre ranch. The 78,000 acres was split in half-half ranch, half farm land for wheat, barley, and corn. The new buyers were Hutterites who would come to see how to run the operation, learning the big diesel combines which Jim describes as massive closed cabin tractors with wheels larger than a man. Most notably draft dodgers from the USA would be hired on to run the combines, and the Hutterites took time to explain the farming practice where the outer ring of wheat would form a protective crust for the interior grows from wind and rain. Jim most notably remembers the kindness and generosity of the Hutterites in running the operation.

Thank you to Andrea Szakos for sharing her Dad, Jim’s memories with us (and hope for many more to be shared), and for the following update:

Medicine Hat News Newspaper Archives
January 26, 1959 Page 10

V Bar V Ranch Sold The sale of one of Alberta’s largest cattle ranches has been reported in Calgary. The ranch is the V Bar V holdings at Ward-low, north of Medicine Hat. Although the transaction has not been confirmed it is understood the ranch was sold to Los Angeles interests for a reported $1,400,000 by Cliff Walker and his partner Sam Hanen, both of Calgary. Hr. Hanen is the owner of the Betty Shoppe’s in Alberta. The V Bar V is one of the largest of the early ranches in southeast Alberta and figured prominently in the news two years ago, when its sale to Alberta Hutterites was forbidden by the provincial government.


As always we are open to sharing your memories, stories and photos about Alberta. Please reach out via our contact page.


3 thoughts on “Out of the shadow of mystery a tale of V Bar V

  1. I lived on the V-V / Vee Bar Vee ranch for a couple of years…1961 to 1963 as I recall. A husband and wife named Bill and Jerry Bass from Phoenix Arizona traded various land holding in Las Vegas along with cash for the ranch. My mother was the account. As I recall with contingency regarding profits and sell of livestock for profit.
    The Ranch Compound at that time consisted of…
    a Hunters cabin built out of large river rock near the wooden bridge that spanned the creek that cut through the compound. There was the first RCMP log cabin with a dugout cellar. (We were told) It was used to store seed and grain until my job was to clean it out. There was a 2 story Cook House with kitchen and dining with a tv and one station. The cook lived there in separate quarters. Food storage in basement. Ranch Hand bunks up stairs. At that time I believe there were 7 ranch hands that bunked upstairs. Entrance to bunkhouse was outside.
    We lived in a 2 story 5 bedroom house across from the Cook House.
    There was an large Chicken Coop which we would provide eggs to Wardlow general store. A 2 story Foreman’s house, a large Maintenance Barn, a large Horse Barn, a Stud Barn, Cow Barn, 4 large Hog houses, a one room Schoolhouse, 2 Pump Houses one attached to he maim barn.
    A wooden Box Car converted into living quarters for the elderly man who milked and fed the milk cows and chickens. With multiple 20 foot silos scatter throughout. Across the Red Deer River on the east side of the compound within sight was an emergency winter camp house.
    The property was well maintained. Buildings were painted white with red trim.


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