2012 Renovation of the Grain Elevator
By Craig Fraser The Grove Examiner
A classic Spruce Grove landmark is undergoing renovations to help restore it to the public’s eye.
The Spruce Grove grain elevator is undertaking some big renovations thanks to the Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society and a southern Alberta restoration crew.
“This is the last wooden grain elevator heading west,” said Agricultural Society manager Ela Guenette.
“More and more these elevators are being torn down, but we want to preserve this one.”
The agricultural society is a non-profit one, Guenette said, and the entire restoration on the 97-ft. tall structure just off of Highway 16A in Spruce Grove is costing up to $70, 000, derived from government grants and donations.
Guenette and the rest of the society has been dedicated to preserve the landmark since they saved it by purchasing the elevator and the land in 1991 from Canadian National Railway.
Blue Bronna Painting Ltd is doing the actual renovation, which is a contracting company based out of Three Hills, headed by Glenn Brown who was involved painting the Spruce Grove elevator 30 years ago.
“We’re the only ones who really specialize in the renovations of grain elevators,” Brown said. “Back when we started painting there was about 1, 000 of them.”
Brown and the rest of the Blue Bronna crew said that the grain elevator will be painted the same green as before, keeping it the same colour as some other former Alberta Wheat Pool elevators that are in the province.
According to Guenette there are only a few hundred left in the province, and that other groups should do their best to preserve these ‘marvels of architecture.’
“We do tours here,” Guenette said. “We’ve had architects and builders in here before that come in just to admire the way these grain elevators were built...all the machinery still works, too.”
The elevator itself still hosts tours that go throughout the building, with patrons from around the world, besides local communtities, that have come to see a monument of the past, Guenette said.
“The elevator has been around since 1958,” Guentte said. “It depicts the origins of the community.”
Guenette and the rest of the society were also instrumental in saving the old, abandoned water tower in 2010. The tower was taken to the grain elevator site where the restoration was enabled and in 2011, painted by local mural artist, James MacKay of Outhere Art & Design. The mural depicts the Spruce Grove city landscape in 1958.
The museum is open May through September, Tuesday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The renovation of the grain elevator will be done as of Monday, May 14.