Ponoka, Alta, incorporated as a town in 1904, population 6773 (2011c), 6576 (2006c). The Town of Ponoka is located approximately 100 km south of Edmonton in rolling, rich parkbelt land. The Methodists established a mission to the Stoney at the nearby Samson Reserve in the late 1870s. Limited European settlement began in the early 1880s. There was some activity in this area during the NORTH-WEST REBELLION when natives looted the Hudson's Bay Co store at the Battle River Crossing. Afterwards, the store was temporarily fortified (Fort Ostell) to secure the Edmonton-Calgary Trail.
With the construction of the Edmonton-Calgary Railway (later Canadian Pacific Railway) in 1891 the area grew in popularity as a mixed-farming area and Ponoka grew as a service centre. Ponoka was incorporated as a village in 1900 and soon after as a town. In 1911 the province established a psychiatric hospital just south of the town.
Ponoka has continued as an agricultural service centre, and has more recently been servicing oil and natural gas development and exploration. The hospital remains an important element in its economy. In the late 1990s the town centre was beautified and many of the original buildings were renewed. The Fort Ostell Museum displays artifacts of Ponoka's history.