Drayton Valley and the Drayton Valley Hotel - History
The history of the Drayton Valley Hotel and Drayton Valley go hand in hand. Drayton Valley was named after a British town by the Drake family, the first settlers. The hamlet was later moved up the hill from the river valley but retained the "Valley" in Drayton Valley.
In 1953 the population was about 75 people primarily involved in farming and lumbering.
All that changed in 1953 when Mobil Oil of Canada discovered the Pembina Field then the largest find in North America. Within a year Drayton Valley grew from a town of 75 to over 2,000 people. Soon Drayton Valley was nicknamed Skid City as there was not nearly enough housing to support the growth in population. New arrivals brought their own homes - loaded on trucks or towed behind cars. Drayton Valley became a town of Skid Shacks, Dog Houses, and trailers.
By 1955 the population was estimated at 5,000 persons. When it was felt that a large modern hotel was needed in Drayton Valley a syndicate was formed to finance and operate it. Construction started in 1954 and on February 18, 1955 the hotel officially opened. To understand the need for housing at the time it is said that while the hotel was being built there were up to 40 to 50 men sleeping in the partially finished beer parlor at the hotel. Others bedded down in washrooms or in any nook or cranny they could find including the bank vault, until it opened for business.
"Drayton Valley Has Luxury Hotel" Drayton
Valley Tribune - Feb 17, 1955
"... This can be described truthfully as a "luxury" hotel. The appointments are of the finest, the rooms of the best..."
"... The ladies' lounge is 32 x 40 feet, and the men's lounge is 50 x 70 feet. A modern barbershop occupies a place near the front entrance, and the five other establishments operating under the same roof tend to make the hotel a little city in a city. In the basement a laundry service is operating, while on the main floor a bank, a doctor's office, a clothing store, a pharmacy and a large coffee shop may be found..."
The Hotel was and still is the largest building in downtown and was the centre of community social activity. In 1956 Drayton Valley officially
became a town and had 5,500 residents.
The Hotel has had many changes over the years but it is still a favorite watering hole known for reasonably priced food and drink with entertainment including karaoke, bands, UFC, vlt's, pool tables, and many other items.
The town of Drayton Valley now has well established neighbourhoods, parks, a walkway system and a sports complex. The town continues to rely upon the oil and natural gas industry but it's economic base has diversified to include forestry, agriculture, environmental industries, trucking and construction.