The Rowley Community Hall Association (RCHA) has restoration plans underway to preserve three historical grain elevators, the first of which was built in 1915.

When the elevators were closed in 1989, due to the discontinuation of the railway service, the RCHA negotiated the purchase of them, saving them from being demolished. In 2008, the elevators were designated a “Provincial Historical Resource” by the Province, and they provided a large grant to have the exteriors of all three restored. The cost of the project then was approximately $500,000. 

Over the years since, many new issues have surfaced, causing major repairs needed to the foundations, windows, siding and shingles. Blue Bonna Painting LTD, a contractor approved by the Province, provided an estimate for the cost of the repairs, leaving the RCHA the need to secure provincial funding through a grant. 

The provincial grant awarded must be matched by the RCHA, who were successful in raising $78,560, so their total funds to start on the work needed is $157,120. The total project is estimated at $500,000, so the work will be done in three or more phases, depending upon how many more future funds and grants can be secured. 

The RCHA was officially registered as a Society in 1976 and has been mandated to preserve the history of Rowley, maintaining the community hall, along with many other historic buildings filled with historical artifacts. The school, train station, saloon and church are just a few of the buildings that thousands of visitors tour each year. Students are hired every summer to give these tours. There are also many volunteers who donate hundreds of hours every year. They have been hosting a monthly Pizza Nite Fundraiser to help pay for the maintenance of the buildings. These same volunteers are counted on to help with the cleanup and hauling away debris with the elevators project. 

“The volunteers, as well as the local community, are very proud of the preservation efforts put forth in this little hamlet. There is so much history here of our forefathers and our group is working very hard to preserve it here in Rowley aka ‘Rowleywood’”, states the Director of the RCHA Shirley Bremer about the preservation of the elevators. 

The next fundraiser is coming up on Saturday, April 13 where the RCHA is hosting a Murder Mystery, Silent Auction and Supper Event at the Rowley Community Hall. All funds raised will go directly towards the Elevator Preservation Project.

By Amanda Ragsdale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 28, 2024 at 08:20

This item reprinted with permission from   The Drumheller Mail   Drumheller, Alberta

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