Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum
|Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum|
|Location||Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada|
|Type||Farm history, Farmers Market, Museum.|
|Website||Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum|
The Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum is a former Alberta Wheat Pool grain elevator that has been preserved as a working museum run by the volunteers of the Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society. The elevator stands within the City of Spruce Grove, Alberta next to the Canadian National Railway and is known as the last elevator remaining heading west on the Yellowhead Highway and along the CN Rail.
In 1995 the City Of Spruce Grove was about to lose the last grain elevator of three that once stood proudly next to the railway. Regarding the other two elevators that previously operated in Spruce Grove, one was destroyed in 1987 and the other burned down in 1991. The Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society stepped in to prevent the demolition of the third and last Spruce Grove elevator, buying it from Alberta Wheat Pool for a mere $1 as well as the 1-acre (4,000 m2) that the elevator sits on for $35,000.
Once it had been saved, enough money was raised to clean the elevator and purchase the neighbouring land with plans to add a replica Train Station Building which will house a tourist information centre, the City of Spruce Grove Archives, a Farmer's Market, and a gift shop. The Ag Society is still raising funds for this project.
In 1933 there were 1800 primary elevators in Western Canada. But in 2003, there were only 389 and the number has continued to decrease significantly. As of April 21, 2013, there are 313 known Grain Facilities in Alberta: 258 wooden, 42 concrete, and 12 steel elevators and annexes.
This is why the preservation of the Grain Elevator in Spruce Grove is essential. The loss of the Grain Elevators in Western Canada is the loss of a unique part of North American history and culture associated with the Canadian Prairies. Through donations to the Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society, they are able to fund the upkeep of this Prairie treasure.
Due to community donations and government grants, the Spruce Grove & District Agricultural Society was able to repaint the exterior of the Grain Elevator Museum in the Spring of 2012 for $70,000.
The Spruce Grove & District Agricultural Society
When the Spruce Grove and District Agricultural society was initially organized, the first thing they did was to build the Spruce Grove Agrena, a building which continues to serve the community today. The society then went on to sponsor and organize the Agra Fair, which grew to become one of Western Canada’s largest events of its kind. When the fair was discontinued after a thirty-year run, people thought the Agricultural Society was also disbanded, but not so! Another project came along that the society embraced with enthusiasm: save the Grain Elevator and the town Water Tower.
The organization is run by a dedicated group of volunteer members. The goal of the Ag Society is to promote tourism by drawing visitors to a venue in our community which provides cultural, educational, and interpretive information on agricultural processes and history, and the heritage of the Prairie region.
The Water Tower
In 1957, a large water tower of 41 thousand gallon capacity was set up at McLeod Avenue and Main Street in Spruce Grove.
In June 1978, three years after Edmonton water was brought in, the water tower was sold and dismantled. Since then, the water tower lay forgotten and abandoned in a farmer’s field, east of Spruce Grove and north of HWY 16A..
In 2010 the Water Tower was saved by the Ag Society volunteers and transported to the Grain Elevator Site. The Ag Society volunteers, local businesses, and a generous donation by a local philanthropist were important for taking the first steps of restoring the Water Tower.
In September 2011 work began, first with the sandblasting and undercoating of the tank.
The local mural artist, James MacKay of Outhere Art & Design, worked with the Ag Society volunteer committee to create a spectacular mural. The mural, which represents 1958 Spruce Grove city landscape, was completed by James in October.
On November 8, 2011 the historic Water Tower was erected and placed back in Spruce Grove. "It kind of brings Spruce Grove alive," building Chairman George Sewell told CTV News. "We have nothing here in Spruce Grove that really tells the Spruce Grove story."