16 years after it was potentially facing demolition, the Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator in the Town of Sexsmith has been formally designated a municipal historical resource by Alberta Culture.
“It’s part of the landscape,” says Florence Blais with the Sexsmith and District Museum Society.
Despite being the grain capital of the British Empire before and during the Second World War, the elevator is one of the last remnants of the period left in northern Alberta. Blais says 2004 was a vital year in the history of the building, and it was the launching pad for action.
“It was only three days away from being demolished when they received the letter from the museum society to purchase it and preserve it,” she says. “It was only in the last three and a half years that we’ve been making progress and getting the preservation work completed.”
Blais says funding from several organizations, including the Grande Prairie Rotary Club, which donated $50,000 to help paint the building earlier this year.
She adds on a personal level, the elevator represents more than just the history of the region; it takes her back to her childhood.
“It means everything to me because it’s a part of my history growing up in the Sexsmith region on a farm… and along with that comes tremendous memories,” she says.
“A really happy lifestyle, even though you worked hard, it was a great lifestyle, and the culture was so warm, you can’t beat the memories or the history.”
The elevator, built-in 1960, was one of nine in the region during the boom period of grain production and export in the Peace Country.