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Esplanade Asks Residents to Share Gas Streetlight Memories

Post Date:09/05/2019 10:00 AM

Medicine Hat –The Esplanade’s Archives is asking ‘Hatters to share their stories and memories of the City’s gas streetlights as part of The Illumination Project. Historian Kyle Franz, Ph.D. is undertaking this project to learn more about gas streetlights and the connection between natural gas and Hatter’s civic identities.

Philip Pype, Archivist at the Esplanade explains: “Gas streetlights line our downtown streets and feature prominently in both the city and local corporate logos. We are interested in the historical use of gas lamps in Medicine Hat and their continued use as a symbol for the community. The Esplanade is fortunate to have engaged Dr. Franz to carry out this project on a pro bono basis, as a guest of the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre. His academic background and oral history work, particularly relating to research into natural resource extraction in the Crowsnest Pass, lends itself well to recording this aspect of the City’s natural gas heritage.”

Dr. Franz was born and raised in Southern Alberta. He has worked in both the private and public sector and is an expert in collecting oral histories. His enthusiasm for our City's history is contagious. “If you didn’t grow up in Medicine Hat, its super obvious,” Franz jokes. “Gas Streetlights are everywhere. City logo, corporate logos, sports league logos…what’s with that? It seems that they form a part of Hatter’s civic identity and I’d love to know more.”

His approach will combine traditional research with talking to people who have memories to share. “As an oral historian, I am committed to ensuring that our shared history represents folks from all walks of life, not just those who were privileged enough to leave a written record,” notes Franz. “I’m hoping to meet with real people and record their stories - people who can illuminate us about how natural gas and the gas streetlights have shaped local identity.”

To take part in The Illumination Project, people can visit the Shape Your City public engagement website to enter comments in the Guestbook and Story Forum as one way to reach out to Kyle Franz. People may also contact him directly through email at

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For more information:

Philip Pype, Archivist
Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre

Dr. Kyle R. Franz
Principle Researcher (pro bono)
The Illumination Project

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