Spruce Grove Water Tower Plaque Unveiling
“A Tank Full of History”, By restoring the old water tower, the Spruce Grove & District Agricultural Society successfully preserves the origins of our community.
Spruce Grove, AB – June 8, 2012 – The Spruce Grove Water Tower Plaque Unveiling Ceremony is taking place on June 9, 2012 at 12:45 PM at the Grain Elevator site in Spruce Grove, Alberta. At the ceremony, the Spruce Grove Fire Service Pipe Band will be playing, followed by a giant Birthday cake cutting ceremony for the Society’s 40th Birthday.
Invited guests include the Mayor of Parkland County, the Mayor of Spruce Grove, and the Mayor of Stony Plain. Many local businesses donated supplies, equipment, time, and money for this $65 000 project, making it possible: Jeannette and Bruce Fuhr, Myshak Crane & Rigging Ltd., Jay-Vee Industries, Howard’s Transport Services, Cloverdale Paints ltd., The Tractor Ranch, Big Horn Drilling, Grove Machine & Welding, BIE Engineering Corp, BKE Excavating Ltd, .Parkland Welding, and FORTIS Alberta ltd.
Partners, friends, and community residents will be attending this historical event. In the modern society where progress often means tearing down the old to make way for the new, it is refreshing to find some communities that are actively committed to preserving the past.
First erected in 1958, the water tower stood near the corner of Second (McLeod) Ave., and Brenenstuhl Lane (west of Main Street). The capacity was 41,600 gallons (157,456 liters) and was fed by local wells.
In 1971 Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, and the County of Parkland formed the Parkland Water Board and made arrangements to receive water from Edmonton. By 1974 water lines were installed and the water tower was no longer necessary. It was left standing in case of an emergency until 1978 when it was dismantled. Since then, the water tower lay forgotten and abandoned in a farmer’s field, east of Spruce Grove and north of HWY 16A until the Ag Society stepped in.
In 2010 the Water Tower was saved and transported to the Grain Elevator Site. Ag Society volunteers, local businesses, and a generous donation by a local philanthropist enabled the volunteers to take the first steps in restoring the Water Tower.
In September 2011, work began, first with the sandblasting and undercoating of the tank.
James MacKay, a local mural artist from Outhere Art & Design, worked with a volunteer committee to come up with a unique design, resulting in a spectacular mural which represents the landscape of the City of Spruce Grove as it was in 1958.
On November 8, 2011 the historic Water Tower was placed back at its original site in Spruce Grove. "It kind of brings Spruce Grove alive," building Chairman George Sewell explained, "we have nothing here in Spruce Grove that really tells the Spruce Grove story."
The Society also rescued the 1958 wooden grain elevator in 1995, which is the last remaining western-most elevator on Highway 16A. The elevator is now a museum which offers school programs, senior tours, and daily tours for the public from May to September.
In May, 2012 the Ag Society was able to paint and restore the exterior the Grain Elevator Museum. Thanks to generous donations and provincial grants, the Society was able to pay $70 000 for the restoration.
The Grain Elevator and the Water Tower attract visitors from as far as Tasmania, Australia, the USA, the Northwest Territories, Hong Kong, Holland, and the UK each summer. Area residents proudly bring their visitors to the elevator for a glimpse into Alberta’s agricultural past and to see the inner workings of the massive machine that is a Grain Elevator. Over 3000 visitors toured the Grain Elevator and participated at fundraising events in 2011.
In addition, the society supports the Farmer’s Market that sells homemade products and fresh produce, as well as the Spruce Grove Archives which preserves the documented history of the area.
The Spruce Grove and District Agricultural Society is a non-profit organization that has been operating in the Spruce Grove area since 1972. The mandate of the organization is to preserve the agricultural heritage of the area in order to keep history alive, and to educate future generations through programs, tours, and summer events.
Construction of an Elevator Emporium building is the goal of the society. It would draw tourists to the Spruce Grove area and further preserve the agricultural history of this community and its pioneers. The emporium will be built on the elevator site and house the Farmers Market (which is presently operating on-site), the Archives (also currently on-site), an interpretive center, a museum, tea house, and visitor center.
Volunteers and society members work tirelessly for the organization, contributing significantly to cultural and historical programs offered in this community but the success of the Ag Society and the achievement of their goals depends on the generous support of local organizations, businesses, and the community.