Home of the Hidden History in Lethbridge
Walking a mile in someone else's shoes can be a big load to take on especially if you were Wasyl Chobatar's boots, the only person to be executed by hanging within city limits of Lethbridge. Dana Inkster with the Galt Museum shares that "The history of our collections is not about the objects themselves, it's about the people whose lives were touched by these objects."
We all have one life to live. Every person has a story that is unique to them built on experiences that shaped who they are. But after everyone they know is gone, who is left to tell their story and how are they remembered? Sometimes, the only thing you have to remember someone you care about is a personal belonging. It could be an article of clothing, a watch, a trinket that has significant emotional impact. To the outside eye, it might mean nothing, well that is until they hear the story behind it. At the Galt Museum & Archives, their sole purpose is to tell the human history of southern Alberta sharing stories that speak to the past, present and future.
“The history in our collections is not about the objects themselves, it’s about the people whose lives were touched by these objects,” shares Dana Inkster, Marketing/Communications Officer at the Galt Museum.
This is how the legacy lives on, the people that make up our community and paved the way to our past and our future. Below are images of two boot, yet the stories are in great contrast demonstrating one of the same can mean two different things. In this example, one is of lust, love and murder while the other could be an example of heroism, yet still eerie in its own way. A tiny preview of endless stories shared at the Galt.
The Oregon Boot
The Oregan boot (found in the Mounted Police area) was worn by Wasyl Chobatar, only person to be executed within the city of Lethbridge limits. He murdered his girlfriend’s husband and was executed by hanging. He wore this boot so he couldn’t escape. Legend is that the hole in the boot was made by his toe nail wearing through the leather.
The cowboy boots to be found in the big boot exhibit area were worn by Charlie King when he was killed at the Fort Macleod Stampeded in 1924. The boots were owned by Barney Gwatkin who loaned them to Charlie for his ride; Barney was able to get them back after his friend died in the boots. A number of years ago, a guest at the Galt claimed to have taken a photograph of the boots in the exhibit and saw the face of a young man reflected around the boots. The visitor is certain the face had to be Charlie still connected to the boots. The story of the death is true; the story of the ghost is up to you to believe or not.