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Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator and Bow Slope Stockyard

Scandia

Other Names:
Alberta Wheat Pool Elevator
Scandia - Alberta Pool Elevator Co.
Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator No. 1

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place


Heritage Value


Character-Defining Elements


Location



Street Address: EID Historic Park
Community: Scandia
Boundaries: Portions of Plan RW219 wtihin NE 19-15-15-W4, SW 30-15-15-W4 and SE 30-15-15-W4
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 4
Collections: 1
Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 2
Structures: 2

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
15
15
19
16 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
RW219

N/A


Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
50.276145 -112.046921 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2008/09/30

Historical Information

Built: 1927 to 1927
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Extraction and Production
Developing Economies : Trade and Commerce
Historic Function(s): Food Supply : Barn, Stable or Other Animal Housing
Food Supply : Grain Elevator
Current Function(s): Leisure : Historic or Interpretive Site
Architect:
Builder:
Context: HISTORICAL CONTEXT

After the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) extended its track from Medicine Hat to Calgary in 1883, land along the rail line became viable for homesteading. The CPR also acquired three and one-half million acres of land between Brooks and Calgary as part of its agreement with the Dominion government to build its line. Here, the CPR subdivided 80 acre plots and proceeded to advertise this land for sale to immigrant farmers. Because much of the land was bereft of adequate water supplies, the CPR undertook a vast irrigation scheme off the Bow River to make it more attractive. The project was completed in 1914 but, due to the war in Europe, settlers did not arrive in large numbers until after the armistice. Many more arrived after the CPR pushed through branch lines to parts of the district in the late 1920s. One of the lines extended south of Brooks to the Hamlet of Scandia, where a post office had been opened in 1924. In 1928, the Hamlet was graced with an Alberta Wheat Pool (AWP) Grain Elevator.

The AWP elevators were a part of the farmers’ co-operative movement in Alberta. They had been promoted from within the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) by Henry Wise Wood. A major complaint of the province's farmers had been the control exercised by independent grain companies that could fix prices at their will. As a result of this, and the extreme fluctuations in the international demand for grain, farmers had often gone from prosperity to bust within short periods of time. According to Wood, the answer lay in a co-operative through which farmers could pool their grain and have it sold at opportune times and share equally in the profits. He managed to convince the UFA of this, and, when the AWP was formed in 1923, Wood became its first president. Before long, AWP elevators were to be found in most farming communities which had rail access. They eventually became the largest grain company in the province.

That the first elevator in Scandia should have been an AWP one was appropriate, for the farmers in this district had been coming together for some time over their collective bitterness against the CPR for having sold them their land. Though the yields of grain were high, 80 acres was simply not enough land on which to establish a profitable farm. The farmers formed associations to deal with the CPR, which argued that its irrigation projects were not turning a profit, despite what the farmers were paying for water. Finally, in 1934, a number of them at the eastern end of the area, led by one Carl Anderson, formed what they called the Eastern Irrigation District (EID), which took over the management of the water supply there from the CPR. Despite its cost, the irrigated water proved its worth in dry years, when other parts of southeastern Alberta were succumbing to drought conditions.

The productivity of the land in the Scandia district was such that, in 1937, the Federal Grain Company also built an elevator there. With World War Two, the demand for western Canadian grain rose, and the train service to Scandia became thrice weekly. Following the war, the AWP bought out the federal elevator, and soon shut it down. Eventually, improved roads were making it convenient for farmers in the northern parts of the district to take their grain to Brooks, and, so, the elevator was closed in 1977, as was the train service to Scandia. The elevator, however, was acquired by the Eastern Irrigation District Historical Park and Museum, and is now the centerpiece of an agricultural museum. In 1994, it was designated a Registered Historic Resource.

(D. Leonard, 2005)

**********************************************************

HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

The Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator No. 1 was built in 1927-28 coinciding with the arrival of a Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) branch line into the Scandia district. Although the area had been settled some years earlier, the arrival of a rail line and an elevator made the business of farming in this section of the Eastern Irrigation District (EID) much simpler and more viable. Operated by the Alberta Wheat Pool (AWP) the elevator also reflects the role of the co-operative movement and farmers' organizations in changing grain marketing on the Canadian prairies. When the CPR abandoned the Scandia section of branch line from 1977 to 1978, the elevator went out of service. It has, however, been preserved as an important part of a local historical park.

The history of this elevator is intimately tied to the local history of this agricultural region. It reflects both the last great period of branch line development by railways in Alberta and the more recent history of rail line abandonment and elevator closure in smaller rural communities.

(Site Information Summary)

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0602
Designation File: DES 1520
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 69670
Website Link: N/A
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1520)
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