Feb 282017
 
A Few Minutes in Pincher Station

We’re in Pincher Station Alberta, passing through, heading west for a couple days of rest and relaxation. Timing is everything, and as it happens, we’re here and so is a train. Pull over, brakes on hard, jump out and run around like someone who’s mistakenly kicked a hornet’s nest. Catch it going by, line up, […]

Feb 102017
 
A Few Minutes in Hoosier

Tiny little middle-of-nowhere Hoosier is hanging on for dear life. A handful of people still live here, give or take, with more on farms in the immediate area. And while the CO-OP and Post Office slash Coffee Shop are open, it’s hardly thriving. There are just as many empty or forgotten dwellings and buildings in […]

Dec 282016
 
Herronton

Herronton…this tiny little place, a blip on the map. A collection of homes, a small clustering, found along some dusty Alberta backroad. While not the middle of nowhere, in feel, it’s not far removed from that proverbial place. The population…it can be counted on one hand…maybe two (we saw no one in the hour we […]

Dec 022016
 
Prairie Sentinels - Bentley Alberta

As old-school wood grain elevators go, this one, found in the town of Bentley Alberta is a relative youngster. Still, it follows a very traditional design and in construction, layout, function, so pretty much everything, albeit in a somewhat more massive form, it’s not all that dissimilar from ones much, much older than it. Dare […]

Nov 102016
 
Skiff Alberta ex-Parrish & Heimbecker

Almost every last town, village or hamlet across the vast Canadian Prairies was at one time home to a building much like the one we’ll be looking at today. Towering over everything, the flat expanse of the land, the community itself, they were always located in a prominent spot usually opposite or just down from […]

Oct 312016
 
Dive Motel

Team BIGDoer has this fondness for dive motels. You might call it strange. As accommodations go, they’re low cost, which is a plus for us professional historians (yes, it’s a career) who dream of minimum wage as some sort of glorious income nirvana. We’re budget minded, we have to be, this job dictates it. But […]

Oct 142016
 
CPR Demonstration Farm

The home, the barn, everything seen in this yard once served a rather unique and special purpose. Operating as a fully functioning “demonstration farm”, near Vulcan Alberta, and tied to the Canadian Pacific Railway, it was a show piece of sorts a century ago, promoting the region’s agricultural potential. Come, see how to farm. Then […]

Aug 302016
 
Creston BC Grain Elevators

British Columbia! Endless forests, precipitous peaks, bears, lumberjacks, bears eating lumberjacks, raging rivers, a moose, a squirrel, all things wild. No arguments here! But what’s this in Creston? Grain elevators, aka “prairie sentinels”…here in the mountains – emphasis on mountains? What the? Aren’t these associated with the vast (and very flat) plains of Alberta, Saskatchewan […]

Jul 252016
 
Valley Social Boler

I’ve just come to the realization we’re almost a full year behind in our Boler postings. It’s been crazy busy and admittedly we’ve let them sort of fall to the wayside. Time for a quick one though – this example with a very, very interesting paint job – found in the small surrounded-by-mountains southeastern British […]

Jul 202016
 
New Brigden Water Tower

Here’s an undeniably rare find, an original standing-where-built railway water tower that was once used fill the boilers of steam locomotives. Way back when there used to be literately thousands of these across the country in strategic places up and down every main or branch line (steamers required a lot of water). With the end […]

Jul 182016
 
Sibbald Gentleman's Club

The location, far eastern Alberta, the town of Sibbald. A faded sign taped to the door reads: “Warning, nude entertainers appearing within premises. Some patrons may find this offensive. No minors. Picture ID only. $10.00 cover charge. Sibbald Bar & Hotel.” Did I just read that? This ancient little flop house and watering hole found […]

Jun 162016
 
Case Steam Tractor

A metal leviathan, this steam tractor was built close to a hundred years ago. Today it resides at Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana Alberta where on occasion it’s fired-up, transforming it into a fire-breathing, steam hissing, smoke belching monster put to work entertaining visitors to the venue. At rest on our visit, we take some […]

Jun 132016
 
Too Hot Bolers

Flashback Cranbrook BC August 2015, it was hot as Hades, stifling and muggy, the blast-furnace-like temperatures forcing us to rethink our day. Plus thirty degree weather is our Kryptonite and venturing out into the woods for a hike or even simple exploration seemed like sheer lunacy. Sweat and fatigue and sun burns? No way was […]

Jun 072016
 
DNR Excavator

Found at Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana Alberta (a great place, BTW, if you love old metal), the leviathan earth mover we’ll be documenting is known as a DNR Excavator. Curious looking, as though random bits of machinery were thrown together by someone without a clue as to what they were to do, it actually […]