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Inspired to preserve a piece of history
CTV Calgary Staff
Published Wednesday, September 10, 2014 3:42PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:46PM MDT
Wooden grain elevators are a rare sight but one Albertan is doing all he can to save the few that remain and is our inspiring Albertan this week.
Beiseker has something that is becoming increasingly rare, an old-style grain elevator.
Fifty years ago the prairies were dotted with a number of these unique structures but today, it's becoming more difficult to find even one.
Thousands of the storage structures have been demolished and many others have burned to the ground.
Jim Pearson is on a crusade to save the few that are still standing. It began when his home town lost its landmark thirteen years ago.
“In 2001 my home town of Delia, we're about half an hour northeast of Drumheller, on Highway 9, we lost our big elevator, it was the Alberta Wheat Pool, due to a fire in November,” said Pearson.
Pearson has published three books, entitled ‘Vanishing Sentinels’.
One features elevators in Alberta and British Columbia’s Peace Country and the other two focus on Saskatchewan.
“There's a lot of support, I’m a member of the Alberta Grain Elevators Society, I'm on the board with the Ogilvie Society down in Wrentham. They're trying to save the Ogilvie elevator down there,” said Pearson.
He has been joined in his crusade by Donna Taggart, who shares his interest in preserving prairie history.
Taggart says it's a case of linking up with a kindred spirit.
“His enthusiasm and his passion for trying to save a piece of history that is disappearing rapidly,” said Taggart.
Pearson has also made maps that emphasize how rapidly we are losing our elevators and show how many we once had and how few are left.
Taggart says Pearson is getting an important message across.
“You can have progress but don't forget the past and don't take apart the past,” said Taggart.
For what he's doing to preserve a vital part of prairie history, Jim Pearson is our Inspiring Albertan this week.
(With files from Darrel Janz)