Every good thing must come to an end. And with that we present the final instalment in this series where were look at the Crowsnest Collection, an incredible and diverse mix of old metal. There are trucks, lots of trucks, rare makes including the likes of Diamond T and REO, others more common and everyday, ancient earth moving machinery, railway boxcars, junk metal, chunks of this and that. All of it is incredibly photogenic.
Hating to sound repetitive but a reminder, this yard is not open to the public. And another, at the request of the owner, none of what is seen here is for sale. Please don’t ask. He wants to hold on to them, his reasons, which matter not to anyone else, and is not entertaining offers. Still, I fully suspect we’ll get the emails anyway.
Just an FYI. The backstory to many of these machines, unfortunately, has been lost to time. As such, details as to where they came from, and so on, may be a bit sparse. Even the exact model year is often an unknown, and given trucks and machinery often looks the same for long production runs, it’s not always easy to guess. Not that all this really matters anyway since we’re being pretty causal here, Even so, if you know, or find an error or omission, by all means message us.
That behind us, let’s talk trucks! And junk.
1) We often explore with art photographer Robert Pohl. This is his Ebony Camera, old looking but of modern construction, it’s crafted of fines woods and high tech metals. It uses that old fashioned medium film. Huge sheets of it. Remember that stuff? I guess it’s making a comeback. You have to slow down when shooting one of these beasts, each photo requiring several minutes of set up and preparation before the shutter is ever released. Here Rob is shooting a 1940s REO Speedwagon. Mighty fine attractive subject there!
2) A pitted side view mirror belonging to a 1950s era Diamond T. It’s so tiny, how did they see anything in it?
3) Looking at some old CPR boxcars through a cracked windshield. These are former “grain boxes” built in the 1950s and today used as storage sheds by the firm that operates out of here.
4) Rob, in an almost zen-like state, oblivious to the goings on around him (the world could be coming to an end, and he’d not know it), working his magic. The cape, a rather odd fashion accompaniment, also mandatory super-hero wear, but used here to help block light so the screen can be examined closely for composition and focus. I kinda of timed it…tick…tick…tick…six or seven minutes to complete that shot. Now that’s dedication! Damn, I admire that. Nice REO.
5) The handsome grill of a mid-1930s Diamond T. I’m not all that familiar with this make, they’re not exactly common in this part of the world, but one thing springs to mind, they sure made some fine looking trucks. Not just easy on the eye, they also come across as extremely well built too. Any owners want to chime in?
6) Remains of a (1950s era it’s believed) Bucyrus-Erie 54-B Loading Shovel. It once worked for the local highway’s department and also a nearby limestone quarry. Behind is a Bay City Crane, age unknown but believed to be a model 30.
7) Shovel parts for the Bucyrus-Erie. The firm was and is known for it’s leviathan mining machinery. While these pieces are bloody huge, this was one of their more modest-sized earth movers. Seen in back, Crowsnest Mountain, surely one of the area’s most recognizable landmarks.
8) The same pair and wondrous blue skies.
9) A Mobile Equipment License, mandatory for earth movers and the like, affixed to an old Cat. It’s dated 1979. We saw others going back to the 1960s here.
10) A ventilation fan. Found it interesting visually. Known nothing more.
11) I told you there was lots of scrap metal here. Mostly it’s not car parts, although there is a fair amount of that too, but rather industrial junk, like these boiler remains.
12) The hood from an old Kenworth. It’s said the truck it once belonged to had a Hollywood connection, appearing in the 1970s Linda Blair flick Wild Horse Hank shot in the area. This author viewed the film and indeed there were some of this make and model playing a part in the movie, although not painted up with horses as seen here – I suppose it could have been done later as a nod to the movie appearance. Certainly possible I guess.
13) Big Red, a 1970s era Peterbilt (352?). The backside of Turtle Mountain in behind, made famous by the tragic early 1900s Frank Slide, not seen from this angle and so on the far side, that made a blink’n mess of things, the town of Frank and many people’s lives. It looks so harmless here.
14) A Galion Grader, perhaps from the 1960s (a guess). Familiar with the make, but never knew they had a Canadian Factory.
15) A workaday 1970s.1980s GMC Medium Duty. There were made in huge quantities and we see them all the time. In back, a boxcar once involved in a wreck and now an equipment shed, and our old friend Crowsnest Mountain again.
16) This is a 1960s/1970s International Loadstar. Like the GMC mentioned above, a huge number of these were made and even today are hardly uncommon.
17) Two stunners, a 1930s Diamond T left and a post war REO Speedwagon, yes from which the former area filling band took their name, in behind.
18) Diamond T was a class act. What attention to detail. The firm’s logo in rotting rubber on a running board. A 1930s model.
19) A military-look Dodge Power Wagon, believed to be from the 1960s. Dating them can be hard as they were made with little change from the the 1940s-1970s. This not the modified Dodge Pickup version, which is looked upon with a bit of disdain from aficionados, but a true Power Wagon. Simple, rugged and all business. What a winch! A different model Power Wagon (right) and 1950 Diamond T Truck in back.
20) This cracked and weather worn tire has turned its last mile.
21) International Harvester’s iconic logo of old. The firm was and still is (under the name Navistar) one of the largest producers of trucks around.
22) An old boiler from who knows where. A heating unit for an old building, something from a local industry, coal mine? Guesses all.
23) What the? Roller skates? Some of the more odd things discovered while exploring here.
24) Inside a building, more Diamond Ts (1940s). The fellow has a lot of them. Love the wood panelling. Very 1970s rumpus room. Just needs some metal flake mirrors and a pole lamp now.
25) And now a restored truck, one gorgeous Diamond T pickup from the late 1940s. Many of the others of this make seen were used as parts sources for this one. It’s a beauty and is used in parades and such.
26) Another Power Wagon, this one a Fargo (1960s). All shiny and done up, it’s a real looker. The Fargo make was a Dodge clone and was sold at Plymouth Dealers here in Canada. As such, they’re fairly rare overall. Not seen in the US new, they’re quite a novelty south of the border with vintage car buffs. This one is also used in local parades and can be seen at car shows.
27) Outside the badging, a Fargo is pretty much otherwise a Dodge, with all parts being interchangeable. Still, that name, Fargo, makes it fairly rare. Nice red paint on this one. Love it.
There ya’ go. A big thanks goes to out host Ed, who allowed us free run of the place and the chance to explore everything in our own spacial way and at our own special pace. We had a great time. He still has one more yard full of metal, which we hope to visit soon.
We came back…
Crowsnest Collection – Reprise
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: June, 2016.
Location: Crownest Pass, AB.
Article references and thanks: Ed D., Keith Haddock, Hanks Trucks Forums, REO, Diamond T and Diamond REO Enthusiasts, AllPar.com.
The Crowsnest Collection is private property with no public access. BIGDoer.com visited with permission.