Popular Facebook page reflects on Friendly City's past

Justin Crann
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David Carlson's Historic Moose Jaw collects stories, photos

David Carlson remembers when his love affair with Moose Jaw began.

Historic Moose Jaw's logo

"We moved here in 1965 from Winnipeg and the first thing I saw was the Civic Centre. I'd never seen a building like that," Carlson told the Times-Herald on Saturday. "I remember it clear as a bell: I asked my dad, 'Is that building going to collapse?'

"My dad told me, 'Oh no, they built it that way, son.' It had the Players Tobacco sign, and it was phenomenal … that began, really, a love affair for things in Moose Jaw," he said.

Carlson is the man behind the Historic Moose Jaw Facebook page — a corner of the Internet dedicated to collecting photos and memories of the Friendly City's history.

He grew up on South Hill, and has fond memories of playing at Westmount School and on local baseball teams.

He credits several Friendly City historians with inspiring him to start the page, but he said it all began with Leith Knight.

"Originally, I was inspired by Leith and the book All the Moose … All the Jaw," Carlson said. "I loved all of the historic photos. I mean, I grew up here. There's a lot of photos I wish I had, and a lot of South Hill scenes I wish I had a photo of."

The idea for the Facebook page came along after he joined the social network to keep up with his kids, he said.

Carlson was looking to keep memories of the Moose Jaw that was alive, and interested in reading about other peoples' stories.

"I thought, 'Well, what if we were to put a page up?' And another guy, whoever he is, started the Vintage Moose Jaw group. Another group had started called the Moose Jaw Dayz Community," he said. 

"Those people all share pictures, with people posting photos of the band parade with them in it, or a picture of their grandfather in front of a locomotive at the CPR station," added Carlson.

"Those are more personal, and that's what I want to see — the personal stuff. There's tons of the other stuff."

The personal stories appear to be what everyone wants to see. 

Since Historic Moose Jaw launched in Jan. 2013, more than 900 people have liked the page, and many contribute regularly with their own photos and comments, or share and like the photos Carlson posts.

He is aware of the page's popularity, and said he is keen to keep it going, but not strictly because of how popular it has become.

"It's not an ego trip for me," said Carlson. "I like the comments and everything, but my page is for everyone."

Ultimately, he said, Historic Moose Jaw is just about recapturing the past and sharing nostalgic memories of the Friendly City which would be lost otherwise.

"There are some things that are missing, now, and I really want those stories," Carlson said. 

He said one of his greatest dreams is to eventually recapture the spirit of what it was like to grow up in Moose Jaw and chronicle it for future generations to remember.

"If I could go back in time for even two weeks a year, I would go back with my camera and take pictures," Carlson said. "I wouldn't even want to leave the city."

You can follow Justin Crann on Twitter or like him on Facebook.

Organizations: Civic Centre, Times-Herald, Westmount School Moose Jaw Dayz Community

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Friendly, South Hill Winnipeg

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