Heritage Acres Farm Museum is an open-air, 180-acre site full of antique equipment and artifacts. It was established in 1988 after the Oldman River Dam was built and is currently operated by the Oldman River Antique Equipment and Threshing Club. This club is dedicated to promoting education and interest in preserving the history and heritage in Southern Alberta’s agricultural industry, from 1880-1960. Members of the Oldman River Antique Equipment and Threshing Club are often seen around the site restoring machinery and buildings. These folks have volunteered thousands of hours of their time to paint buildings, organize events, and rehabilitate rusty machinery into fully mobile, working exhibits.
A recent addition to Heritage Acres is the 2020 Victory Garden project, which will provide approximately 500-600 potatoes and 1,000-2,000 carrots for local food bank donations. That’s right, 100% of the harvest bounty will be donated to families in Pincher Creek! We encourage visitors to get involved, and help weed the garden during the summer, to support us and the community with this project.
A significant number of relocated heritage buildings, restored farming supplies and equipment, and all sorts of antiquities are on site for all to admire. Take a look at the map for locations and further history on all the buildings!
Give yourself lots of time to enjoy all that Heritage Acres has to offer.
General Store (2) This building was originally used as a bunkhouse on the Milne Farm near Claresholm. It was moved to our site in 2002 and remodeled to be used as a general store. Inside are numerous incredible artifacts like books, calendars, kitchen supplies, vintage apparel, toys, and so much more. Candy is also sold here. This building is located just to the southwest of the Snyder House.
Jumbo Valley Knox Presbyterian Church (3) This church was built in 1917, and was originally located east of Granum. It was relocated to Heritage Acres and is still used for church services. At this time there will be no services as our shows have been cancelled. The pews, cross, and organ are all original. This church served the Granum area for more than 80 years. It’s doors closed as people moved away or passed. The three final hymn numbers still rest on the hymnal board today. On the west side of the church there is only one window, while there are four on the east side. On a cold, frosty night a local hit ice on Highway 519 in front of the church. They spun off through the ditch and crashed into the west side of the church, just missing the organ. The church seats 100 people and is located directly across the roadway from the visitor parking lot (south-east of the Snyder House). In the back of the church Heritage Acres introduced the Heritage Arts Centre, put together in 2019 for local craftspeople to display and work on their projects. A wheelchair accessible bathroom is available in this building.
Andrews Log House (4) In 1906 and 1907, Burberry “Dick” Andrews, an English immigrant, worked as part of the team of engineers that designed and constructed the bridge in Lethbridge. Upon completion of the bridge, Mr. and Mrs. Andrews and their young family moved back to the homestead west of Claresholm. A local rancher, Cecil “dick” Andrews (their son) built this log house 1942, and the property was sold to the Waldron Ranch in 1974. The log house was moved to Heritage Acres in 2008. This is a good example of an early prairie ranch house. When first moved to Heritage Acres the house had electricity, but it was removed to suit the time period the house was built in. The porch on the back was added on by volunteers at Heritage Acres. On site it is located just behind (straight east of) Jumbo Valley Church.
Ashvale School (5) This is a typical prairie school building. It was moved in 1990 from the Porcupine Hills where it served (on and off) from 1909-1959 as a school. It was later used as a Recreation Hall. The original desks, chalkboard and school books are still inside. Students would walk, ride horses, or drive wagons to school every day. In the winter time, one of the older students or the teacher would have to go into the school really early in the morning to light the fire so it was warm and ready for the day. When inside the school you will see many pictures of local residents who attended Ashvale school. Located south of the Andrews Log House.
Crystal Village (6) Ten miniature buildings were made from telephone insulators by “Boss” Zoeteman for his grandchildren. The project started in 1973 and was moved to our site in 1990. Boss built the Church first as a playhouse for his grandchildren. Boss used about 120,000 insulators to make all these buildings. The crystal school house itself is made of about 8000 insulators.
Victory Garden (7) — A 2020 Start Up Project A new addition to Heritage Acres added in May 2020 is the Victory Garden. Victory Gardens were originally planted during the First and Second World Wars to support communities, while vital supplies were sent overseas in support of Canadian troops. These gardens were a vital source of food, vitamins and morale for locals. During this summer, visitors are encouraged to get involved! Anyone is welcome to get down and dirty to help us maintain the garden, by weeding during summer visits. Every little bit of help supports both the museum and the community alike.
Cyr House (8) This house was built in 1897 by Damas Cyr near Chipman Creek and was moved to Heritage acres several years ago. It is a great example of log home construction from the late 1800’s. A lot of dollars have been invested into renovating this cabin. The objective is to provide an educational opportunity, to display pieces of our collection that show what life was like for our earlier settlers in Southern Alberta. We hope to have it open for guests this summer!
Trappers Cabin (9) The small building just to the south of the Cyr House is the Trappers Cabin. This was one of many buildings donated to Heritage Acres by Boss Zoeteman at the same time as the Crystal Village. In 2016, the Alberta Trappers Association took on this building and built the exhibit you see today!
Zoeteman/Vogelaar Barn (10) In 1938 the first section of this one-of-a-kind-barn was built by “Boss” Zoeteman and other craftsmen from Europe. In 1942 Mr. Zoeteman added a second addition onto this already incredible barn. The barn is 110-feet long, the loft is 35 feet in height, and in total it’s 15, 400 sq. feet. Boss Zoeteman was a dairy farmer from Pincher Creek. He used the barn for his dairy operation until around 1959 at which time he sold the barn to the Vogelaar brothers. The Vogelaar brothers also used the barn for their own dairy operation until 1972. The barn and the farming operation were bought by Sproule Agro of Pincher Creek in 2012. Lloyd Sproule of Sproule Agro donated the barn to Heritage Acers in 2012 and the barn made it to Heritage Acers. The impressive barn move started on February 4th, 2014 and took two days to transport every section carefully. This barn is used throughout the spring and summer for weddings, concerts, and community gatherings. Located at the southeast end of the grounds, beside the second entrance.
Main Display building (11) This big and blue, 25,000 sq. ft. building was completed in 2008. Over 12,000 hours of work went into building this unique exhibit as it was engineered to withstand our winds. The engineer behind this design idea is a local gentleman, Fred Maloff, who began planning for it on a napkin at a Hillsview Ladies Club dinner, inside Summerview Hall. This big blue building houses a themed exhibit of farming and ranching equipment from the time settlers arrived, up to the 1960’s. Inside the exhibit is an incredible piece of history, the 1917 Case Steam Engine tractor. This tractor is one of Heritage Acres’ most prized artifacts. It pulled an 8-10 furrow plow. It could run faster, stronger, and it did not need to take rests, unlike horses. That piece of history is extremely important to us here and has a special place on our Heritage Acres logo. At Heritage Acres we are all about restoration. Volunteers have put countless hours in working to restore each piece of machinery in this building so each one runs as smoothly as they would have in their prime. Located at the heart of Heritage Acres, the Main Display Building is hard to miss.
South Annex (12) This display is located on the southern side of the Main Display Building. Here numerous stationary engines and antique tools are displayed.
Allan Reed Shop & Gifford’s Shop (Grey Quonset) (13) These two shops are where you will find many of our volunteers working on and repairing broken down equipment. These shops are not open for touring, but you are welcome to say a friendly hello to any workers. They are located just south of the Main Display Building. The Allan Reed Shop is a notion of appreciation for one of Heritage Acres’ founding members, and a dedicated local volunteer. His name is—you guessed it!—Allan Reed.
Concession (14) The beige-coloured Quonset normally houses foodstuffs during event season. Unfortunately, currently we are not serving customers food due to COVID-19. Since we would like to utilize the space here, we will also be using the Concession building as another display area in the near future!
Heritage Mall (15) This green Quonset is used as a local market or shopping mall during our annual show. Numerous local vendors set up in this building to show off their handcrafted arts and goodies. From homemade soaps to knitted socks, these folks have you covered! Currently, Heritage Mall is filled with a new display of restored vehicles and mobile mining cabins!
Summerview Hall (16) This hall was built in 1950 in the Summerview District by the Summerview Community Society for a cost of $3400.00. It was originally used as a hall for district for dances, meetings, family reunions, showers, and weddings. At that time, it was a general gathering place for the community. The building was moved to Heritage Acres in 1994. In a regular season, we serve locally made pies, and ice cream during many of our special events. The Summerview Hall is located at the far west end of the exhibit building line up. It also holds an Automatic External Defibrillator, bathrooms, and a First Aid kit.
Saw mill (17) This neat structure was moved in by the Oldman River Antique Equipment and Threshing Club in 1995 from Mill Creek and restored by club members. It was built in the 1930’s and is currently powered by our own Case Steam Engine tractor during the annual show, demonstrating how logs are sawn into lumber. A second sawmill from Lee Lake was donated at the same time and the club used parts to restore the sawmill into its current condition. It is located behind (south of) Summerview Hall.
Heritage Station (18) Heritage Station was moved to Heritage Acres in 2009. This building houses a detailed railroad track intended to represent south western Alberta. The grand opening of the model train station was at the 2010 annual show. The model railroad track has a scaled down gauge track that allows the little train to wind through miniature prairie communities, mountain tunnels, past wind turbines and over bridges. Many volunteer hours have been put into making this display and maintaining it. Located behind (straight west of) the Main Display building. Bathrooms available.
Blacksmith Shop (19) The Blacksmith Shop was originally located to the north of Main Street near the Pincher Creek in the town of Pincher Creek. It was used for—you guessed it—blacksmithing. The Blacksmith Shop is behind Heritage Station, near the Doukhobor Barn. We are working to have this building open sometime this season!
Future home of the Woodworking Shop (20) Heritage Acres is introducing a new building to the site, a Woodworking shop! It will be located just behind (to the west) of the Blacksmith Shop.
Doukhobor Barn (21) Saved from flooding when the Oldman Dam was built, the Doukhobor Barn was moved to our site in 1990. The barn was built in 1917, for the Cowley-Lundbreck members of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood. It took approximately 52 miles to move the barn a direct distance of about 6.5 miles. It now houses a display of farm and horse dioramas, plus numerous local brands in the loft. In July of 2019, the barn was home to the beautiful Hanoverian horses ridden in the RCMP Musical Ride. The Doukhobor Barn is on the west end of the site.
Grain Elevator (22) This Grain Elevator was moved from Brocket in 1999 to preserve one of the old prairie sentinels. The official opening ceremonies were held in September 2003. Working demonstrations are shown via video at this time due to COVID-19. Many parts and equipment were donated to Heritage Acres to get the grain elevator up and running again. Here is a fun fact: many grain elevators had a barber chair inside the office where farmers and their kids would get a hair cut while their grain was getting weighed. Located in the south-west corner of the grounds.
Wind mill (23) The earliest known use of windmills can be tracked to the Persians and Chinese, in the 9th Century. That means the windmill has been around for roughly 2000 years!
Our ancestors used windmills to pump water and grind grain. Without the windmill pumping water, the steam locomotives would not have had the required water to operate. In the image to the right, an electricity generating windmill, called a wind turbine, is pictured behind its predecessor. Windmills have come a long way! This artifact is located off the rear west corner of the Snyder House.
At this point in time we have no scheduled upcoming events. Due to COVID-19, our Horse Show, Quilt and Flower Show, and Annual Show have been cancelled.
Keep an eye out for POP-UP EVENTS posted on Twitter and Facebook throughout the season!
To keep up with us here at Heritage Acres, give us a like on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more updates!
For the 2020 season, we are Celebrating Families!
Looking for something to get you and your family out of the house? A little entertainment, education, and fresh air? We have activities for folks of all ages! Due to a generous sponsor, Riversdale Resources, has made it possible for Heritage Acres to allow free admission for the season, giving families an opportunity to escape from their homes.
With our newest project, the Victory Garden, we encourage visitors to get involved! Locals and tourists are welcome to get down and dirty to help us maintain garden health by weeding during visits this summer. Every little bit of help supports us and the community alike.
Planning a wedding, 4-H event, family reunion, anniversary, or birthday? Well we have the space for you!
The following facilities are available for rent:
Jumbo Valley Church
Doukhobor Barn loft
Zoeteman/Vogelaar Barn loft
Or, grounds only
Call us at 403-627-2082 for fees and booking information!
The work you see before you has been accomplished by a dedicated group of volunteers. If you would like to join this incredible group of history buffs and agricultural community members, stop by the Snyder house for more information.
Volunteer Positions Available:
- Grass trimming and mowing
- Weeding the Victory Garden
- Hedge and tree trimming
- Painting the Snyder House
- Site clean up
We would like to acknowledge the financial support of the following organizations
Their contributions fund ongoing operations.