All eyes on this strange empty building found in some industrial park in small town Alberta. Cold and sterile, yet at the same time all those odd and varied angles give it a kind of weird character, with a real bunker-like quality to boot. I know, it’s right out of some movie, one with a zombie theme or maybe something post-Apocalypse in subject. The structure, the “Monolith”, stands there, in an otherwise empty lot, partially finished, looking quite out of place. Not that old, by our estimate, it’s still worthy by visual interest alone of just a little attention from Team BIGDoer.
As disused buildings like this often are, it’s a magnet for local youth. They come, probably at night, to leave their mark. Messages are scrawled on the wall…the usual assortment of so and so loves so and so, random four letter words – use your imagination, signature tags, the always popular Anarchy symbol, like any of them know what it truly means; along with other words of wisdom from these teenage prophets.
And of course these youthful visitors attempt to destroy too. They always do. Your author did it as a teenager – a long haired shit-disturber hell bent of ruining everything, always pillaging and smashing. Maybe you did it too. Strange that mindset a lot of young adults take on, boys I think in particular, no different then as now. Must break things!
The building, of course gives, up little. Hard to torch concrete you know. Or even mark it. They’ve made attempts to do both. There’s no windows to bust, no doors to boot in, little to destroy or even scratch. But still they try. Then it’s back to the “artwork”, the only successful way to make their mark on this hard cement.
Booze bottles are found scattered about – like that comes as a surprise. Jack was our friend way back when. Ditto beer, wine or what ever we could lay our grubby little hands on. Nothing’s changed with today’s youth – they doing the same things we did. We, of course, wrote the book.
We called around to see what we could find out about the building. The number on the for sale sign was out of service. I guess we should have guessed something was up given it was all faded and weather worn, pretty much forgotten like the building itself.
The town wouldn’t return any of our messages. I get it, we’re a pain. I can picture it now…”it’s those BIGDoer guys…again…lay low and maybe they’ll go away”. Neighbours contacted had no idea. No records were found in any of the usual places we look – and we have access to TONS of non-public archives in regards to land titles and stuff like that. Bizarre. No news media mentions either, nada. Looks like we’ve come up flat. There’s a first for everything. Still, we can guess that it’s not that old of a building. Suspect it’s been there for less than a decade, maybe even a lot less.
The structure is made of concrete, not formed in place, but pre-cast and later bolted together and assembled on site. Think of it as a giant Lego set of sorts. Still, this would have been quite costly when compared to other materials they could have used. Would be nice and fire resistant though. Looking at it, every panel or near every panel is unique.
Looking inside the cavernous interior it’s hard to imagine what planned use they had for the building. It was for offices or for business use, no doubt, but for what or whom? The story? Why was it not finished? Did they run out of money? That quickly comes to mind as the most likely answer.
No stairs to upper floors? I guess they were to be added later. Vandals have obviously come equipped with ladders – or maybe they have spider-like abilities – since more than a few someones have clearly made it all the way to the top.
And the timer rings…we have to hit the road.
Later that day, we’re in Edmonton. Trains, lots of trains in that town…trains on the brain…trains by the train load…enjoy some random pics from that afternoon. Ahhh, just the fix we needed. Then some BBQed meat, a cold one and pinball the Yellowhead. Not a bad end to the day.
The next day we documented the loading of a locomotive on to a trailer (the irony) at the Alberta Railway Museum just north of town, for eventual delivery to to an event in celebration of Canada’s 150th. Stayed tuned for that one! The teaser pic shows the steamer loaded up, an operation which took the better part of the day account of all troubles caused by mud at the site from recent rains. That was not in the forecast! Still, the crew handled it like pros. Update, see it here…Canadian National Railways #1392.
Update, September 2017. We heard from people. The place was to be a “Sales & Technology Centre” showcasing the very cement panels the building was made from. A factory was envisioned employing a good number of people. All this was circa 2006-2008. But money ran out before they got too far. The more I read the documents and talked around, the more it stinks of an investment, ahem, “scheme”.
Recently, like only days prior to writing this update, someone was seriously injured at the building. The local boys in blue are being hush about the details, but it didn’t stop them from calling BIGDoer HQ, asking what our connection was to the place (hint, it was this article, and that’s it). They grilled us as though we ourselves were responsible for the all the trouble that happens there, including that event. For being an historic society, the s**t sure flies here at times.
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: July, 2017.
Location: Central AB.