Friday, March 24, 2006

New stuff from SE Alberta Road Trip

Yesterday (March 23, 2006)... I went on a long planned trip to SE Alberta, from Acadia Valley to Gem. At least the weather down there was really good! Here are some of the pics I took.


Arneson was located NE of Acadia Valley, and had an Alberta Wheat Pool elevator. It was built in 1927, and was closed in 1972. All that is left is this sign... located on Secondary 889 or Range Road 1-3, and about 1 mile north of Township Road 25-0.


Empress is located about 20 km south of Acadia Valley on Highway 41 and 14 km west on Secondary 562. This town, located on the CP line (The Royal Line) which ran east from Bassano to Empress and into Saskatchewan, had 4 elevators, plus a rail station and roundhouse.

This elevator was privately built, and is located NW of Empress on Range Rd 2-0 north of Secondary 562.

This photo is of the elevators which were in Empress, and the second one is of the station, which I was told is the only one of it's kind in Alberta.


Hilda is located 67 kilometres south of Empress, and 5 kilometres east of Highway 41 on Township Road 18-0. I was shocked to find out that the CP Rail tracks had been torn out from SW of Burstall, Saskatchewan to Pivot (south of Hilda) back in 2005. These pictures show the last elevator in Hilda, which is a Paterson. It is still in use, but only as a satellite storage facility for the main elevator in Dunmore. You can also see some of the tons of ties and rail which were being stored there.


Pivot was located on Range Road 1-2, approximentaly 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Secondary 537. The elevator was closed in the 1950's and I haven't been able to find any information on this siding.


This P&H Concrete elevator is located on the south side of Kipling Street, east of College Avenue in Medicine Hat. I had been looking for this elevator for about 3 times when I was down in Medicine Hat, and finally found it on this trip. This elevator was opened in 1918 by Medley Shaw Milling Co. Ltd, and was later taken over by Maple Leaf Mills. Parrish and Heimbecker in 1981.


This Alberta Pacific Elevator was originally located in Countess, Alberta on CP Rail's "Royal Line" which ran from Bassano to Empress. The elevator is located NW of Bassano on Range Road 16-4, about 1 mile north of Secondary 596, and about 1 miule south of Gem. The picture is a little over exposed due to the fact I took it at about 7pm... about 10 minutes after sunset.

All in all... this trip took me 13.5 hours... including stopping time to talk to a few people and check out the history of a few places in the Medicine Hat library! Next stop... the south-west part of Alberta for a few I missed.

Paterson Grain

Paterson Grain was founded in 1908, and built it's first elevator in Fort William, (now Thunder Bay) Ontario.

In Alberta, there are only two Paterson elevators.


This elevator was built in 1924 by N.M. Paterson and Sons. The elevator was rebuilt in 1955, and had new equipment installed in 1996. The elevator is still in operation, but only as a satellite storage facility, even though the rail tracks through Hilda were torn out in 2005.


Located about 1 miles east of Dunmore in SE Alberta. This facility was built in 1998, and is in use today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Canada Malting Co. Ltd.

Lyalta, Alberta

This elevator was once owned by Agricore, and is a double buffalo bin style. It is located NE of Calgary on the Alsask - Calgary CN rail line.

Niobe, Alberta

These two elevators are located north of Innisfail on the CP main line running from Calgary to Edmonton. These elevators were previously owned by Agricore and Cargill.

Beiseker, Alberta

This ex-Cargill is located in Beiseker, on the CN line running from Camrose to Calgary.

Bawlf, Alberta

Bawlf is located SE of Camrose on the CP line which runs from Wetaskwin to Provost. This elevator is an ex-Agricore.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Kiron Siding

The Kiron siding is located on the Alliance Railroad sub which runs SE from Camrose to Alliance, and is about 2 kilometers south of the Agricore-United elevator , and about 1/4 mile east. The sign can barely been seen from the crossing. It had an elevator at one time... but I have been having trouble trying to find information on it. Of course... it could be the Valentine elevator, which was located about a 1/3 of a mile to the east of the siding. To get this shot, I had to walk nearly 2/3 of a mile down the tracks, since I couldn't find an access road.

These two shots show NW and SE of the Kiron Sign.. as far as I can tell.. the actual siding is long gone. The Agricore-United elevator can be seen in the first photo in the distance.

Northeast of Nisku

This elevator is located on a farm 2 miles east of Nisku (101 St.) and 2 miles north (Twp 51-0, Range 24-4)

North of Gwynne

This elevator is located 10.3 km north of Gwynne on Sec. 882 (1 km north of Twp 47-4 on RR 23-0) on the Rasmuson Seed Farm.

NE Edmonton

This elevator is located on highway 28A just north of Highway 15, just on the NE border of Edmonton. It is located on a farm on the west side of the highway.

North Edmonton

This elevator was privately built, and is located on 50th St., about 1.7 kilometers south of 195th Avenue in North East Edmonton.

17 kilometers west of Morinville

This privately owned elevator can be found on Secondary Road 642, about 17 kilometers west of Morrinville, or about 1.2 kilometers west of Highway 44.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Elevator Chute Wood

Inside the wooden elevators, chutes made of fir wood were used to transfer grain from the bins into different parts of the building. Over the years, trillions of kernels would run over the wood, and begin to wear away the softer sections of the chute, leaving the harder material behind.

When these chutes were worn out, they were replaced, and were usually thrown away, since the wood was considered useless.

When wooden elevators were being torn down, some people noticed this used wood, and found, when varnished, discovered the natural beauty of this material.

My dad has used some of the wood from the Delia's UGG (later Agricore-United) elevator back in 2000 when the chutes were being changed. However, the elevator was torn down in 2002, so these clocks and pictures frames are all that are left of that elevator.

This clock shows the grooves that the grain cut into the wood over a period of years. (In fact, one of my cousins asked my dad how in the hell did he get those grooves into that clock. He was quite surprised how grain could do that).

You can see the grooves in this closup.

This clock was made out a piece of chute wood that was made of harder material, but you can clearly see two large knots(which is harder than the rest of the wood).

This frame (held by myself) has pictures are Delia's three elevators taken around 2000.

• Top Photo: (Pioneer, Agricore-United (ex UGG), Green Agricore-United (ex Alberta Wheat Pool)
• Second photo: Green Agricore-United (Burned down in 2001),
• Third photo: White Agricore-United (Torn down in 2002)
• Bottom Photo: Pioneer (now privately owned and painted John Deere Green and Yellow)

Here are some closeup shots of the above frame. You can see the grain quite clearly, and a large knot.

This picture is a 1000 piece puzzle we found at my uncles in Rockyford. The image is of the three elevators which used to in Munson, Alberta (about 12 miles west of our old farm). It was made by the Copp Clark Puzzle company Ltd. (517 Wellington St. W, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1G1) , but we haven't been able to find out who took the picture or when it was taken. It is the only puzzle of these elevators I have seen which makes it a real rarity.

These closeups show the finer detail in the frame

These pictures show some pieces we have left of the chutes from the Agricore-United (ex UGG) elevator in Delia. You can see that the wood has been quite worn down over the years.

Here is a piece of plywood which shows a lot of wear and tear. You can see which areas have been worn down.

Sadly, this wood is becoming rarer and harder to find. Elevator companies destroyed the elevators, and refused to allow people to salvage the wood. Instead, they either burned or buried the remains, wasting thousands of tons of lumber. These pieces of artwork are all that remains of these vanishing grain sentinels of Alberta.