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The Trail Blazers and the Cavalcades: Proving the Need for the David Thompson Highway
Rocky Mountain House Museum
Rocky Mountain House , Alberta

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residents of Rocky Mountain
House and other communities
of central Alberta have to
travel the long way around
(south to Banff or north to
Jasper) to get to the
interior of British Columbia?
That was the question that
wouldn't leave Ernie Ross
alone.

   There are 184 kilometers
(115 miles) of forests,
creeks, muskeg, rocky plains,
and steep cliffs between
Rocky Mountain House and the
Banff-Jasper route. In the
late 1920s, there were also
three coal mining
communities: Alexo, Saunders,
and the town of Nordegg.

Nordegg, although a bustling
community of around 1,500
people in 1925, was only
accessible by rail. But
Ernie Ross had been selling
cars to the hard-working
families in Nordegg. In
fact, he had sold 50
automobiles to them by 1930,
even though they had only 2.5

miles of road within the town
to drive on, and would have
to pay $25 to ship their car
back out to Rocky Mountain
House on the train to travel
anywhere else in Alberta.
Twenty-five dollars was an
outrageous amount in 1930 in
Alberta, as the price of gas
was around 10 to 15 cents a

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