Welcome to Azure Alberta, home to a house or two, an abandoned rail line, and a single grain elevator, the subject of this report. This structure has been privately owned for around fifty years and this accounts for it’s remarkable condition. Used during that time as a grain storage facility by a local farmer, this assured its survival. And it’s still being used in that capacity today.
Originally an Alberta Pacific elevator., this example was built in 1927 and used up until the early 1960s. At that time it was bought by local farmer Sam Brown (farmer Brown – hahaha), and his name is emblazoned across the front. Mr. Brown has since passed away and the land and elevator is no longer in the family. It’s still being used however, and on our visit during the harvest season there was a beehive of activity around it. The elevator sits in the same location where it was built and has never been moved. At one time there was another elevator in Azure but it was gone by the 1960s.
The Alberta Pacific Grain Company (AP), itself an amalgamation of numerous earlier companies, existed until 1967. At that time is was folded into its parent company, the Federal Grain Company, having been a subsidiary of that organization since the 1940s. Federal was then incorporated into the Pool system in the early 1970s. One thing that was common in the grain industry was mergers and during an elevators lifespan, it may have changed hands two, three or even more times. This one however was always an AP elevator.
At one time there were approximately 800 Alberta Pacific grain elevators across the province. Now there are but a handful left, and precious few retain their original logos or paint. Most are in the colours of successor companies. This elevator is still Alberta Pacific brown, and shows signs of being repainted during the ensuing years.
It’s not know if Azure ever exited as a town. There is nothing much in the way of evidence to support that it was and any research has tuned up very little. I believe it may have been a grain stop only, with perhaps a few houses around it. As always, research continues, since I am never happy until I know it all.
The rail line that passes by the elevator, the former CPR MacLeod Subdivision, was built in the 1890s and was abandoned in the late 1990s/early 2000s and pulled up a few years later (exact date unknown). I understand for a while at least, this section of track was retained and used to store surplus railcars – the fate of many branch lines. This branch extended from Calgary to Fort MacLeod and existed to gather grain from various towns scattered along the line. Part of the subdivision is still used to this day, and the track ends just north of High River.
To see some other Alberta Pacific painted grain elevators, we’ve explored, follow these links…
Alberta’s oldest grain elevator.
Dorothy Alberta, the little grain elevator in the valley.
If you wish more information on this place, by all means contact us!
Date of adventure: September 2012.
Location: South of High River Alberta.