abandoned

Sharples

 

Sharples, Alberta is named after John Sharples, a C.P.R. railway fireman who won the Distinguished Conduct Medal during the First World War. Even though Sharples has always been a small settlement, it handled an exceptional amount of grain. Being located in the picturesque Kneehill Creek valley, Sharples' elevators were vital to farms on the north side of the creek as crossings were few and far between. This P&H elevator was constructed in July of 1923 with a capacity of 28000 bushels. It still wears much of it's original tin siding. The elevator was abandoned in 1982 when the Alberta Wheat Pool elevator (built in 1927 by Alberta Pacific Grain Co.) that stood beside it was demolished. Two annexes were built in the early forties. The one on the west side is still standing and held 26000 bushels. The smaller annex on the east side held 14000 bushels and has disappeared from the scene.

Parrish and Heimbecker was established in 1909 by William Parrish and Norman G. Heimbecker and has grown to be one of the largest grain handling companies in Canada.

A Buick And A Half

 

Here are one and a half late 20's Buicks, resting temporarily before they become yard art.

Automobiles revolutionized personal transportation in the 1920s. Throughout the 20s cars became more accessible and affordable, dawning the 'oil age' in Canada.

In the late teens the Calgary Auto Club assisted in the formation of 25 automobile clubs in Southern Alberta.  Edmonton, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat also assisted in forming auto clubs in communities near the urban centres.  The clubs worked toward the further development of highways and good roads throughout the province. By 1929 a total of 833 miles of highway had been graveled.

The popularity of the automobiles gave rise to a thriving do it yourself car repair industry. Canadian Tire being one of the more notable companies, started in Toronto in 1922 and has grown to become one of Canada's largest retailers.

Maple Leaf Barn

 

This barn was built in 1912 and only fell into disuse about 10 years ago. The builder's grandson still lives on and farms the same land that his ancestors made their living on.  Only one of the wooden cupolas still survives on the roof of this very large barn.     

What I believe to be a 1948 Maple Leaf badged Chevrolet sits in the farm yard. My research (which may be flawed) tells me the 1947-53 Chevrolet pick ups known as the Advance Design series were the last body style to carry the Maple Leaf badge. Maple leaf trucks were built in Oshawa, Ontario from the 1930s until the 1950s. Right hand drive models were made in Canada and assembled by Holden in Australia. Canada, Australia and other British Commonwealth countries put high tariffs on US built products because the US didn't import much from them.  Having a Canadian made truck allowed GM to offer trucks at a more affordable cost.

An Allis Chalmers AC5040 2 wheel drive tractor also sits on the property. These were manufactured in Romania from 1976-1980 with an original price of $9823USD. They were equipped with a 3 cylinder diesel that made 35 horse power.

Golden Hour Barn

 

The current landowners acquired this property in 1960. By that time all of the buildings had fallen out of use. By the late 1970's the house and other buildings had to be demolished after descending into disrepair due to vandalism. The shed on the side of the barn looks ready to fall but, the barn itself appears remarkably stable from the outside. It is believed that the barn was built sometime between 1905 and 1910.

 

 

Future Classics?

 

Here is another great Southern Alberta barn.  The owner tells me it is at least 100 years old and hasn't been in use for quite some time.  It is strange to see so many newer vehicles abandoned behind the barn.  I wonder if any will ever become as collectible as the vehicles we currently consider classics?  

Woodley Barn

 

With the rocky mountains stretching across the western horizon, this barn and house were built in 1912 on a scenic piece of the Alberta prairie. The current owners, the Woodleys, acquired the land in 2010. They were happy to let me take photos, creating memories of a structure that may fall after a couple of heavy snows. They gifted me a book that was found in the house titled “Our Country And Its' People” by W.D. McDougall and Gilbert Paterson . Inside the book, I found clippings containing information on some of the animals that were found in the area. I can imagine the owner studying the area before his long, difficult journey to the place he and his family would call home for generations to come. The Woodleys purchased the land from an elderly lady who didn't have any remaining family, so many of the details are now lost to time. 

The Stories Behind The Structures

 

For many years I have enjoyed photographing old homesteads and landscapes found on the Alberta prairie and surrounding area. During this time I have seen many structures fall to the ground, never to be seen again. I have decided to gather as much history as possible on these subjects and share them with you on this blog. These historic structures are disappearing from our landscape, I feel that photographing them is an important form of preservation, meant to honour the structure's existence as well as those that built and cared for it. Barry Broadfoot wrote a book titled 'Next Year Country : Voices Of Prairie People'. One sentence has really stuck with me over the years. He says that “Every old home place in the west today is a monument to their (the settlers') determination”. If it wasn't for our forefather's hard work and perseverance we wouldn't enjoy many of the comforts that we have today.

If you own or know of any historic structures that you would like to share please contact me so that we can arrange a photo shoot.    

david@stubblejumperphotography.com