News ‘n’ views from Baljennie

The Western Development Museum in North Battleford opened its doors on May 1 for the summer season. There have already been visitors to tour the village and farmyard. The museum staff have been busy getting all their outdoor things tidy before the opening.

In 1943, the discarded collection of old antiques farm machinery began as a museum. In 1947, they operated out of a hanger at the North Battleford airport. It was one of three other Western Development Museums in the province. Later, the museum moved to another hangar that was located at Mossbank and moved just east of the junction of Highways 40 and 16 in North Battleford.

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Various other older buildings, most donated, formed the village and farmyard and all were restored.

So it went from then to present day and all are still operating. Many tourists each year drop in to see all the antiques on display in the village as well as in the main building.

They built a clay oven near the Ukrainian house a few years ago and it was never used. Now it’s badly in need of work without which it may have to be demolished. There are also some problems with the thatched roof of the Ukrainian house. It badly needs some extra volunteers to get it all restored. It would be sad to see it go as it is an important display for all the Ukrainian people who came to this area in the early years, and some of those families are still here. The house is a replica of the old pioneer homes built of logs, willows, grass and mud. A thatched roof would last up to 40 years if done right. The outside walls are plastered with mud. They always had a flower and herb garden located close to the house. If we don’t take care of it, we could lose it and the history goes as well. We have to push some of our older history better. North Battleford and Battleford have a number of buildings yet to restore. There have been many just disappear and the history goes with them and can never be replaced.

A work crew has been at the museum reshingling the old Saskatchewan Wheat Pool elevator. SWP built the elevator at Keatley in 1928. It was moved to the WDM in 1983 and, in 1984, SWP came to restore the elevator. The museum uses it to store a little grain they harvest each year.

It has taken nearly two years of work on an old 1158 locomotive to be restored for the museum, but it will never run again. It will stay permanently where it sits right now. It was built in Montreal, Que., in 1913 for the Canadian Northern Railway. It has been used as to power passenger and freight trains and was used for branch work for Canadian National Railway before it was moved to the Western Development Museum. On Friday, May 17, the old 1158 will be unveiled at 1p.m. to the public. The restoration program is grateful to the public for its generous support. The whole locomotive has been stripped down, cleaned, polished and repainted. New decals have been applied and other details have been done.

The work bees on Fridays have had a good turnout of volunteers to work on various antique gas tractors. Some volunteers have come from the Saskatoon Western Development Museum. The museum appreciates any volunteers who are interested in helping out. More work bees will be held throughout the summer months.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Weinmeyer family on the recent passing of Herb Weinmeyer of Battle West Place.

Sympathy goes out to the Mills families of Battleford on the recent passing of Joe Akerman of Salt Springs Island, B.C. Joe was married to Stanley Mills’ sister Yvonne Akerman of Salt Springs Island.

Happy Mother’s Day goes out to all the mothers who read my news.

© Copyright Battlefords News Optimist