Einar Franson, 91, has been hand-building precise replicas of Prairie grain elevators since about 2008.
Modelled after elevators that existed in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the replicas are crafted to scale — often at an inch to the foot — and every took about 150 to 200 hours of labour.
However Franson is now transferring to Calgary, and likewise largely transferring on from the interest that is saved him busy for years on his acreage eight kilometres north of Excessive River, Alta.
As soon as pondering he would promote 17 of his replicas, Franson has determined to offer them away as an alternative, and to folks with connections to their historical past.
“I had a chat with my son final evening … [and] he form of straightened me out,” Franson advised the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.
“He requested me why I used to be promoting them, and satisfied me that I ought to be giving them away to those who need them.”
A prolonged historical past
Franson has a prolonged historical past with Prairie grain elevators.
For years, he labored as a grain purchaser for among the elevators he has replicated, and in 1952, Franson helped to dismantle one which his father had inbuilt 1912.
However with the passage of time, the grain elevators that had been as soon as so outstanding on Prairie landscapes have disappeared, he stated.
Not one of the unique grain elevators that Franson fashions his replicas from are nonetheless standing.
“It is truly unhappy when you concentrate on it,” Franson stated. “You realize, the entire [of] Western Canada was constructed on grain elevators and the grain commerce, and also you simply do not see it anymore.”
All 17 already spoken for
When Franson retired, he had a need to work with wooden, and obtained his journeyman carpenter’s papers at age 60.
He began pondering that he want to revisit the grain elevators.
“I simply by likelihood occurred to satisfy the superintendent of development for [the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool],” Franson stated. “[And] he wrote me … handwritten directions on the full development of elevators.”
Constructing the replicas evoked recollections of the locations on the Saskatchewan prairies the place he has lived, together with Colonsay, Burr, Kandahar and Foam Lake.
“I [thought] in regards to the farmers within the communities that we labored in,” Franson stated. “I constructed one for every of the cities that our three youngsters are born in.”
However Franson and his spouse will quickly be dwelling in Calgary, and he cannot take them to town.
He’ll doubtless transfer on to smaller initiatives, however the bigger replicas are for different folks to take pleasure in — and all 17 are already spoken for.
“I’ve already known as three or 4 folks, and advised them that they might have the elevator of their alternative,” Franson stated.
With recordsdata from the Calgary Eyeopener.