The Bentley and District Historical Society’s new two-volume history of the area later this month. Bentley — A Gateway Through Time, updates the previous history book, which was first published in 1982.
The historical society was founded in 2005, with the goal of reprinting this original history. Residents wanted to read it, but there were no copies left. The reprinting project began in February of that year.
The historical society found a copy of the original and it was a matter of copying it for a new book. By summer, it had been reprinted. Once this was completed, the society turned almost immediately to revising the history of the area. Myrna Robinson with the historical society said plenty had changed in 25 years and it was time to update the story.
Local residents submitted articles on their families, and historical society members compiled and edited them for the new book. This means that families who moved to Bentley since 1982 had the opportunity to tell their story.
Robinson said the community responded enthusiastically, and there was lot of information to collect and organize. As the project went on, new stories kept cropping up that “we hadn’t thought about that needed to be acknowledged,” Robinson said.
The books covers not only family histories in the area, but also the history of local schools and sports.
Robinson said sports are a standout in Bentley’s history.
“It’s just an amazing book,” she said. “People will be amazed with the amount of talent in sports with community members.”
The project was funded through casino nights, local donations, grants from the provincial government, and funding from Canadian Heritage for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
They now have 1,750 copies of the book printed, plus five limited edition sets. The grand total of both books is around 1,200 pages.
There is a book release event on Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Blindman Valley Agricultural Centre at 5202 51st St. in Bentley. There will be an auction for the limited edition sets.
The event doubles as a celebration for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. There will be refreshments, sleigh rides, displays and activities.
The two-volume set retails for $75, and will be available to purchase at the book release, at the Bentley Museum, or from any historical society member.