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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Prairie Sentinals

2012 Vacation Transport
It was the summer of 2012. Our destination was a fiddle festival near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We accumulated spectacular memories as we travelled from Campbell River, British Columbia through the interior of BC, all the way through Alberta and into Saskatchewan.

Along our secondary road route, my husband, Frank, and I paid special attention to the grain elevators also known as prairie sentinels.

Chauvin, AB Grain Elevator
Along Highway 14 East, we turned south on secondary road 610 to seek out a place to have breakfast in the great outdoors. At once we were taken with their grain elevator and took several photos. The town of Chauvin sits alone now because the railway grain transporter cars no longer stop there.

Afterward, we headed north and came across two other isolated grain elevators. One with the name Gotze and the other with Butze painted on the side. Later, the secondary road number changed to 680 as we passed over the Alberta Border to Saskatchewan.

Butze, AB Grain Elevator 

Marsden, SK Grain Elevator
We continued to drive north east to Marsden where we came across a working prairie cathedral. We spoke to the grain elevator operator and commented on their decline. He agreed that there weren’t many of the wooden structures left.

“I’d always hoped that some of them would be converted to a museum,” Frank said.

“Well sir, you’re in luck. Just less than an hour’s drive west of here, Paradise Valley has a huge museum right in the elevator,” he said.

Paradise Valley, AB Grain Elevator
After we learnt directions, we travelled northwest to reach the Paradise Valley prairie cathedral. We arranged with the local keeper of the key to let us in and we walked up a gently sloped wooden spiral platform viewing the history of that particular elevator and the times in which it existed. We stayed at the local campground that night and enjoyed the stark drama of an Alberta rain storm with its crackling lighting and booming thunder.

If you are interested in grain elevators, here’s a good source.

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