In what has become a #FABTrip tradition when travelling through the forgotten SE corner of Alberta, we stopped in the hamlet of Orion for a chat with Boyd Stevens: lifelong resident, proprietor of Stevens Hardware, and one of a half dozen souls remaining in the community. As per usual, Mr. Stevens was convivial and accommodating, while freely sharing historical insights and colourful stories about a pioneer-era community that is passing into history.
We left the metropolis Maybutt in the midst of rush hour, and joined the lunch hour commute along the Red Coat Trail (highway 61) towards Wrentham. Upon arrival, Jason Sailer kindly treated us to a tour of the Ogilvie wooden elevator, and afterward enduring his second interview of the day, we continued eastward towards Manyberries, our final destination for day one. Along the route we stopped at familiar haunts in Skiff and Etzikom, grabbed some lunch and parted ways with Jason in Foremost, and scouted out the former siding at Pakowki, a surprisingly historical spot.
Jason Sailer, along with friend, Cody Kapcsos, is on a mission to preserve Alberta’s last Ogilvie wooden grain elevator in Wrentham, Alberta.
The Coutts-Sweetgrass Station, now located at the Galt Historic Railway Park & Railway Heritage Interpretive Centre near Stirling, has served as a passenger depot, customs office, post office, sheriff’s department, and bunkhouse during its illustrious, and controversial, 125 year history. Constructed on the Canada- U.S. border in 1890, Coutts- Sweetgrass was one of two “lunch stations” along the Lethbridge to Great Falls rail line. Originally built by a consortium, led by Sir Alexander Galt and his son, Elliott, the station later changed hands, and became a flashpoint in the feud between new owners and arch-rivals, the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Great Northern Railway. In 1916 the C.P.R. ended the uneasy relationship, sawing the station in half and dragging its portion into Coutts. Abandoned over 70 years later, the station was acquired by the Great Canadian Plains Railway Society in 2000, which moved to it a 35-acre site near Stirling. The last remaining Galt narrow gauge station in Southern Alberta has been faithfully restored to its original proportions, and the museum grounds is now home to a number of rare artifacts, including a Kalamazoo Speeder, a post office car, and a baggage car converted into a school room, with an interactive telephone room in the back. Thanks again to Jason Sailer for the info. @gcprs1890 @gregfarries @owges #explorealberta🇨🇦 #Alberta #Canada #mybadlands #fabtrip16
The Forgotten Alberta 2016 Road Trip (FABTrip#16) kicked off on July 6 with a visit to the Galt Historic Railway Park & Railway Heritage Interpretive Centre at Stirling. Park volunteer and Alberta heritage hero, Jason Sailer, met myself and Greg Farries at the park, and provided us with a wonderful glimpse into the Galt’s past, present, and future. We also received a tour from the park’s fabulous summer staff, and we stopped by the remnants of Maybutt for good measure, before we all headed off to Wrentham for a tour of the Ogilvie Wooden Grain elevator.