Monday, July 13, 2009

Hepburn’s Elevator #901 and Me

Hepburn was my home for the first five years of my life.

As it was in 1942 it is still a small farming and bible college town located 40 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon. A rail line was constructed and was operating in 1909. After a local farmer named Rowitt Hepburn applied for a post office permit on his farm, Hepburn became a recognized village in 1919. Within ten years the town population reached 800 people. Located beside the rail line was Saskatchewan’s Grain Elevator No. 901, which was built in 1928. It served the grain farming community for decades until the great depression and the drought years of the thirties when the population dropped to less than 300. Today there are 500 residents. The rail line was shut down by the province in 1989 and subsequently most provincial elevators were torn down. Hepburn’s elevator No. 901 survived because of enthusiastic local plans to turn it into the Museum of Wheat.

At the age of three, a friend and I ventured where small children do not belong. We peddled our tricycles to the yawning open doors of the elevator, walked inside, found a large platform that moved up and down with the flip of a large brass handle fixed to the wall, and we took turns riding it until a large man confronted us. No doubt he was terrified that two children were so close to danger and he rapidly terrified us as he told us the perils of falling into a bin of grain. I have not set foot inside an elevator since that moment. I would love to visit Hepburn’s museum one day.

I have written and illustrated children’s stories based on my childhood experiences and in fact printed a simple copy as a Christmas gift for my grandchildren.The Wheat Museum Page

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