Lacombe is a city in Alberta, Canada. It is located north of Red Deer, the nearest major city, and south of Edmonton, the nearest metropolitan area. The city is set in the rolling parkland of central Alberta, between the Rocky Mountains foothills to the west, and the flatter Alberta prairie to the east.
Lacombe became Alberta's 17th city on September 5, 2010.
Lacombe is named after Albert Lacombe (28 February 1827 — 12 December 1916), a French-Canadian Roman Catholic Oblate missionary who lived among and evangelized the Cree and Blackfoot First Nations of western Canada. He is now remembered for having brokered a peace between the Cree and Blackfoot, negotiating construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway through Blackfoot territory, and securing a promise from the Blackfoot leader Crowfoot to refrain from joining the North-West Rebellion of 1885. The Lacombe Police Service have policed the community since 1900.
In 1880 the first land surveys of the Lacombe area took place and three years later, in 1883, the first permanent settler arrived, Ed Barnett. Barnett was a retired member of the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) who had served a mere three years. He left Fort Macleod in August 1881 at 23 years of age. According to one account, in 1878, Barnett escorted Chief Sitting Bull and his people from the American border. Along the Calgary-Edmonton Trail, he established a "stopping house" for travelers on a land grant given to him for serving his service in the NWMP. His family and friends from Ontario moved out and the community began to grow. The stopping house then became known as Barnett's Siding.
The Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in 1891. This provided better access to the area and new opportunities for settlement. By 1893 the downtown blocks and lots were surveyed. Village status was granted in 1896 and town status in 1902.
In 1907, the federal government set up an experimental farm to research grain and livestock production. The President of the C.P.R. William Van Horne renamed Barnett's Siding as Lacombe in honour of Father Lacombe.