Building History

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ABOUT US

 

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.

1. Snyder House   One of the first buildings to be moved to Heritage Acres was the Snyder House. The house was built in 1909 and was displaced because of flooding from the Old Man Reservoir. The home served the Snyder family as the primary residence on their ranch. The Snyder’s relocated to Pincher Creek, but have visited the home many times. Several very vivid encounters with ghosts have been reported by a family who lived in the home after it was first relocated to Heritage Acres. First Aid is located here. The Snyder House is utilized as the museum’s gift shop and administration office.

 

2. General Store  This little building was originally used as a bunkhouse on the Milne Farm near Claresholm. It was moved on site in 2002 and remodelled to be used as a general store. Inside are numerous incredible artifacts like books, calendars, kitchen supplies, vintage apparel, toys, and much more. Located across from the Church.

3. Jumbo Valley Knox Presbyterian Church  This church was built in 1917, formerly located east of Granum. It was relocated to Heritage Acres and is still used for church services on special occasions. The pews, cross, and organ are all original and it seats 100 people. This church served the Granum area for more than 80 years. Guests will notice the singular window on the west side, while there are four on the east side. A local hit ice on Highway 519 in front of the church on a cold, frosty night and spun off the road crashing into the west side of the church, just missing the organ. The three final hymn numbers still rest on the hymnal board. In the back of the church is the Heritage Arts Centre, put together in 2019 for local craftspeople to display and work on projects. A wheelchair accessible bathroom is available in this building. Located across from the General Store.

4. Andrews Log House 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. Located behind the Church.

5. Ashvale School  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.

6. Crystal Village   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. He used about 120,000 insulators to make all these buildings. The crystal School House itself is made of about 8000 insulators. Located between Andrews Log House and Ashvale School.
Victory Garden
7. Victory Garden  — 2021 Project Continues  In May 2020, the Victory Garden project was born. 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 and morale for locals. 100% of the harvest bounty will be donated to The Pincher Creek and District Community Food Centre. 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. Located behind the Crystal Village to the southeast.

8. Cyr House  In 1897, a gentleman named Damas Cyr built this log house near Chipman Creek southwest of Pincher Creek. The house was lived in until 1960. The Cyr House was donated by Mick Bonertz and moved to Heritage Acres in 2015. During winter of 2020, renovations were completed with finishing touches during spring 2021. The Grand Opening was on July 3rd, 2021. The objective of this transformation is to provide an educational opportunity for guests. Inside numerous artifacts from our collection show what life was like for our earlier settlers in Southern Alberta. Located behind Ashvale School.

9. Threshing Camp Before the modern combine, harvesting required a lot of manpower — reaping, gathering, and threshing were all done by hand or with supervised machines — which meant there were more workers who needed beds and food. Therefore, cookshacks and bunkhouses were built to make the extensive days of harvest more bearable. These shacks were hauled up to fields and acted as the headquarters and a rest area during the threshing season. These shacks were each donated in the past few years from numerous locations. We are currently working to update these displays with more historical signage! Located between the Cyr House and Trappers Cabin.

10. Bicycle Shop More information coming soon!

11. Trappers Cabin  The small building 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. Small log cabins like this one were built in forests to be used during hunting and trapping seasons. In 2016, the Alberta Trappers Association took on this building and built the exhibit you see today. Located just past the Threshing Camp.

 

12. Zoeteman-Vogelaar Barn   In 1938 the first section of this one-of-a-kind-barn was built by Boss Zoeteman with help from European craftsmen. In 1942, Boss added the south wing. The Zoeteman – Vogelaar Barn is 110-feet long, the loft is 35 feet high, and is a total of 15, 400 square feet. Boss Zoeteman was a dairy farmer and used the barn for his operation until 1959 when he sold his property to the Vogelaar brothers. The Vogelaar family used the barn for their own dairy operation until 1972. The barn and the farm were sold to Sproule Agro of Pincher Creek in 2012, and that same year Lloyd Sproule donated the barn to Heritage Acres. On February 4th, 2014, the barn move began, travelling from Sproule’s to Heritage Acres. It took two days to transport every section carefully! This barn is used throughout the spring and summer for weddings, concerts, and community gatherings. Located behind the Trappers Cabin, by the south gate entrance.
13. Main Display building   This big, 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 was local gentleman, Fred Maloff, who began planning for it on a napkin at a Hillsview Ladies Club dinner, inside Summerview Hall. This building houses an exhibit of farming and ranching equipment from when settlers arrived, up to the 1960’s. Inside the building is an incredible piece of history, a 1917 Case Steam Engine Tractor. This tractor is one of Heritage Acres’ most prized artifacts and has a special place on our logo. At Heritage Acres we are all about restoration. Volunteers have put countless hours in working to restore each piece of machinery in the Main Display so they run almost as smooth as they would have in their prime. Located at the heart of Heritage Acres, the Main Display Building is hard to miss.
14. Stationary Engine Display  In the southern annex of the Main Display Building there is an exhibit of operational stationary engines. There is also a large collection of antique tools that line the display room walls. Located on southern side of Main Display Building.
15. Allan Reed Shop & Gifford’s Shop  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. The red Allan Reed Shop is a notion of appreciation for one of Heritage Acres’ founding members and dedicated local volunteer, Allan Reed. Gifford’s Shop is the grey Quonset beside the Allan Reed Shop. They are located beside the Main Display Building.
16. Concession  The beige Quonset normally houses foodstuffs during the event season. Since we would like to utilize the space, the Concession building may be used as another display area! Located between Gifford’s Shop and Heritage Mall.

17. Heritage Display Building   Inside this green Quonset, storyboards depict the history of the making of Heritage Acres since founding in 1988. A new display of Vintage Sewing Machines is opening soon! Located between the Concession and Summerview Hall.

18. Summerview Hall   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 central gathering place for rural community members. 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. It also holds an Automatic External Defibrillator, bathrooms, and a First Aid kit. Summerview Hall sits beside Heritage Mall.

19. Sawmill   The Oldman River Antique Equipment and Threshing Club moved this structure to Heritage Acres from the Mill Creek area in 1995. A second sawmill from Lee Lake was donated at the same time and club members used some of its parts to restore the Heritage Acres Sawmill into its current condition. This Sawmill was built in the 1930’s and is still up and running. During shows, our 1917 Case Steam Engine tractor powers the Sawmill, demonstrating how logs are sawn into lumber. It is located behind Summerview Hall.

20. Heritage Station  Heritage Station was moved to Heritage Acres in 2009 from Olds, AB, and was originally a golf clubhouse. This building is the home to a detailed miniature railroad track intended to represent southwestern Alberta. The model railroad track has an HO gauge that allows the little trains to wind through tiny prairie communities, mountain tunnels, past wind turbines and over bridges. Many volunteer hours have been put into making and maintaining this display. The grand opening of Heritage Station was in 2010 during the Annual Show. Bathrooms are available here. Located across from Summerview Hall.

21. Blacksmith Shop  The Blacksmith Shop was built in 1904, and originally sat north of Main Street near the Pincher Creek in the town of Pincher Creek. Heritage Acres is fortunate to have a working blacksmith shop with a coal fired forge. Inside a stationary engine powers a belt that drives a trip hammer and drill press. Keep an eye out for opportunities later this summer to sign up for Knife Making Courses! Located between Heritage Station and the Doukhobor Barn.

Watch the Global News coverage of the Grand Opening.

22. Woodworking Shop  New to Heritage Acres is the Woodworking Shop! The building is currently undergoing renovations for display. Located west of the Blacksmith Shop.
23. Doukhobor Barn   Saved from flooding when the Oldman Dam was built, the Doukhobor Barn was moved to our site in 1990. It took approximately 52 miles to move the barn a direct distance of about 6.5 miles. The barn was built in 1917, by the Maloff family, for the Cowley and Lundbreck members of the Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood. It now houses a display of miniature farm equipment and horse dioramas in the lean-to, harness displays in the stalls, 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 across from the Blacksmith Shop and behind the Main Display Building.
24. Grain Elevator   In 1999, this Grain Elevator was moved from Brocket to Heritage Acres, as a campaign to preserve one of the sentinels of the prairie. Many parts and equipment were donated to Heritage Acres to get the grain elevator up and running again. This elevator still functions thanks to volunteers! The official opening was held in September 2003. 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 past the Doukhobor Barn, in the far northwest corner of the grounds.
25. Windmill  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, steam engine tractors would not have had the required water to operate. In the image shown here, 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.

Facility Rentals

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

Summerview Hall

Doukhobor Barn loft

Zoeteman/Vogelaar Barn loft

Or, grounds only

Call us at 403-627-2082 for fees and booking information!

 

Volunteering

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