High River (Rural Roots Canada) – A High River, Alberta area resident is passing along dozens of replica grain elevators with the hope they continue to educate people about the history of agriculture in western Canada.
91-year-old Einar Franson is moving and can’t take the elevators he made in his wood-working shop with him, so he has selected people and organizations to give them to who can display them to the public.
Franson says it’s important to preserve the past.
“They’re such an important part of growing up in the west and some of the smaller communities, the elevator officers even to the central point for card parties or little meetings of different kinds, so they were there, their history,” Franson said.
READ MORE: Vanishing Sentinels: A map into the history of grain elevators in Canada
Franson says it’s sad that many people in the younger generations don’t know what grain elevators are and their influence on agriculture and food in western Canada.
Franson has made 51 elevators over the years, has been around farming his entire life, and started working in the grain industry when he was 19.
“That’s when I decided that I would get a job like in the grain business, which would be dealing with farmers.”
Adding it was one of the most important things to the farmers, referring to the wheat pool.
Franson says his passion for making the replica elevators started because of his love of making things out of wood. He started by building a replica of one in a town his family lived in, in Saskatchewan.
“Burr was the first one that was where our first daughter was born, I worked there for three years, and it just grew from there.”
He says he built the first one in about 2007, give or take.
“When you look at them, I guess I improved quite a bit from the first one was, which was built from just a photograph that I had taken of the elevator.”
The elevators will be going to several different organizations, such as the Bar U Ranch, which will be putting them on full display so many people can enjoy and learn from them.