The Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana has been on my radar for decades and when a trip to Drumheller took me past the place, I decided this would be a good opportunity to drop in. Being a fan of old equipment and trucks this place does not disappoint.
There are scores and scores of farm machinery, construction equipment and of course trucks of all kinds. For this report we’ll concentrate only on the unrestored ones on the property. Follow up reports will highlight the restored examples and other equipment (lots of both). There is just way too much for a single article.
Many of the vehicles in the collection here are former farm trucks – that makes sense given where we are – but there are others as well to keep you interested.
Of particular note are a number of original and complete Mack model AC Bulldogs, the truck of choice for construction companies during the era they were built. A collector here is a big fan of them and in behind one of the buildings showcasing restored examples of this model, is a number of unrestored ones waiting their turn to be worked on. Some of the ACs have solid rubber tires, others pneumatic and one had a mix of both (solid on back).
The AC was a popular model for Mack and it cemented this makers position as a producer of tough and reliable trucks. Over 42,000 examples of this unique looking model were produced during its production run.
The first came off the line in 1916 and the last 1939 and throughout the appearance and makeup of it changed very little. Anachronisms by the end of the run, in spite of this they remained a popular choice for those looking for a reliable and rugged truck. Long lived in service I have seen pictures from the late 1950s taken at large construction sites and Mack ACs are often to be seen. Was there ever a more manly truck than this? And check out all those creature comforts – there are none! Truck drivers back then sure were a different breed, much, much tougher than today.
Also on the grounds were a larger number of other models from the Mack company, most if not all being the smaller model AB. These have a less distinctive look in contrast to their larger AC cousins and look almost frail in comparison. These date from the 1910s and 20s. The Mack company exists to this day and is still known for its tough trucks. Also seen is a Mack BX, from the 1930s, the only one of this model seen.
Some of the Macks seen have hand crank starters. You’d have to be quite burly to start a truck that way!
Nearby was a rare Federal. These were never terribly common, especially in Canada and the example seen here has solid rubber tires and is sans cab. I have not been able to confirm its model or date but given the appearance pre-1920 would be a good guess.
And then there was a World War One USA Liberty truck. Produced by many different manufacturers to a somewhat standardized pattern, many thousands were made. With USA on the radiator these are easy to spot, although determining the actual manufacturer may be hard – there were so many. These were produced by such famous name makers as Brockway, Diamond T, Indiana, Packard, Pierce-Arrow and Sterling, along with a slew of others. In fact with so many manufacturers participating in the program tracing the pedigree of a Liberty Truck might present a challenge. It’s interesting to note that none of the companies mentioned exist to this day.
Another interesting truck was this odd steel-wheeled monstrosity of a contraption. Looking somewhat like a Nash Quad, it may be home built. The operator’s position sure was high up and wide open and I bet it was a scary place to be, if not down right dangerous. The truck, if you want to call it that, has a PTO takeoff and there were some oilfield looking bits on it. This leads one to believe it was used in support of a drilling operation. If anyone can help identifying it, by all means drop us a line.
Also scattered around the site are a number of common farm style trucks – International K series, Ford C series cab-over, GMC and Dodge medium duties, Chevy and GMC pickups from many eras (“Advance Design” and “Apache” being common) and so on. All these ubiquitous models are a dime a dozen you might say and could be found working at nearly every farm across the prairies. And some still do. I have seen many old farm trucks still at work.
Once thing I found interesting is that many of the obvious farm trucks had recent registration papers or plates on them, meaning that not long ago, they were working. In spite of looking rough and neglected, I swear you could drive some of them away. Farmers always get such good use out of their equipment. Many showed very low numbers on their odometers.
As mentioned, follow up reports will highlight other bits and pieces from this place.
Irrcanna is a small town located some 60km northeast of Calgary.
To see more trucks at the museum, follow these links…
Restored trucks Pioneer Acres Museum Irricana – part 1.
Restored trucks Pioneer Acres Museum Irricana – part 2.
To some of their tractors and road machinery, go here…
Old farm tractors Pioneer Acres Museum Irricana.
Old road and construction machinery Pioneer Acres Museum Irricana.
If you wish more information on this place, by all means contact us!
Date of adventure: July 2012
Location: Irricana, AB
Reference: To visit the Pioneer Acres Museum website, click here.