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Heritage Acres pays tribute to farming’s past

Early life on the prairies is preserved at Heritage Acres Museum west of Fort Macleod near the Oldman River Dam.
Heritage Acres boasts one of the finest collections of antique farm machinery in Alberta.
The mountainous Livingstone Range provides the scenic backdrop for this museum, which was developed beginning in 1987 on a 181-acre site about a mile north of the Oldman River Dam.
Heritage Acres was developed by volunteers to provide visitors a unique look at early life on the family farm, and to complement other recreational activities surrounding the Oldman River Dam.
In addition to the antique farm machinery, Heritage Acres is also home to wagons, a number of historic buildings including a fully restored Doukhobor barn, and many other attractions.
The Knox Presbyterian Church was relocated to Heritage Acres from Jumbo Valley near Granum in 2000. Church and memorial services are still held in the church.
A prairie grain elevator has also been restored.
To fully appreciate the museum, visitors should plan to spend the better part of an afternoon at the site, walking the grounds and picking up bits and pieces of the stories behind the vast collection.
After touring the machines of ­yesterday, which fill three quonsets at the museum, visitors will tour the Crystal Village, a miniature village built by area resident Boss Zoeteman from more than 250,000 insulators from power poles.
Visitors will also want to tour the 21,000 sq. ft. display building, which contains antique farm equipment and other treasures.
Next stop is Ashvale school, originally built in 1914 about six miles north of the Oldman River Dam to house Grade 1-9 students.
A short walk from the school is the magnificently restored Doukhobor barn originally built in 1918 by Pete Maloff. The bright red barn, with its white trim, used to be situated near the village of Cowley.
Heritage Station, which is home to an impressive display of model trains, is a recent addition to Heritage Acres. Also in recent years, Heritage Acres opened a new gift shop and tea room.
The museum will host its 31st annual Heritage Days celebration on the Heritage Day long weekend August 3-5. The weekend includes an antique tractor pull competition, pancake breakfasts, demonstrations of teams of heavy horses pulling antique farm machinery, threshing demonstrations, and the Parade of Power featuring antique farm machinery.
There is a Fall Fair on Sept. 15 as well as other special events. For admission rates and special events visit www.heritageacres.org.

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