The Big Move: Historical barn hits the road to be relocated

One barn in two pieces is headed for a brand new home.

“Well, it a little bigger than the average move,” says John Holmes of Holmes Building Movers in Stavely, Alta.

It’s no easy feat. The nine kilometre journey involves the barn travelling up a hill then onto the road, across a dam and finally stopping at Heritage Acres Farm Museum near Pincher Creek.

“This dairy barn was built in 1939, the gothic arch barn. They added the second part in 1942,” says Bill Kells, executive director of the Heritage Acres Farm Museum.

Serious planning went into the move, as the barn had to be cut and stabilized on trucks. They then had to navigate all the obstacles along the way.

“It’ll cross under our lines in three different places. We’re here to lower our lines and in some cases raise and lift hot lines,” says Peter Brodsky with Altalink.

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Fortis Alberta also had lines to move and cut. About 60 residents lost power when lines were turned off for the move.

“We are taking down approximately 12 lines, and we are trying to do that as quickly as possible,” adds Alana Antonelli.

Locals from the area, visitors from nearby cities and even former owners all came to look at the spectacle.

Rika Camp milked cows in the dairy barn as a teenager when her father ran a dairy business in 1959.

“I came all the way from Edmonton to see it moved. My family all came to see,” Camp explains.

All of the work, every step made, every line dropped and every dollar raised is for the people of Alberta, preserving a part of our history.

“This dairy barn is going to allow us to interpret the history of the dairy industry and the early large scale cattle ranching,” adds Kells.

Over 50 people are helping to move the barn. The trucks pulling the structure are using state-of-the-art technology to move a piece of Canada’s history.

“There is a remote control operating the wheels. We can lift it, and move it all from a remote box while someone walks along with the barn,” says Holmes.

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Once the barn reaches Heritage Acres Farm Museum the inside will be completely restored and provide over fifteen-thousand square feet of space for the museum to showcase some of Alberta’s most treasured history.

The barn was originally built by Boss Zoeteman, it was then bought by the Vogelaar family who continued to use it as a dairy barn, before selling it to the Sproules in 2012 who donated it to the Heritage Acres Farm Museum.

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