By Lorena Rodgers
Work on a new building to feature early facets of Magrath’s development is set to begin with help from area businesses big and small.
Danielle MacCallum, Territory Account Manager for Monsanto presented the museum board with $2500 from their Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities grant.
Gary Stanford of Stanford Farms not only applied for the Monsanto grant for the museum, but also gave the museum a $500 donation from Stanford Farms, challenging other area farmers to also “help keep [Magrath’s] history alive.”
The new museum building will recognize farming as one of the early industries in Magrath. “Farming is what this community is built on,” said Stanford.
Alan Dudley, past president of the museum, agrees. He recalls years when farming was a big part of life within the town. “Every property had room for a house, a garden, a cow , a chicken coop and a pig,” Dudley said, so families could be mostly self-sufficient. He explained how the cows in town would be herded down to the community pasture where the Magrath Golf Club is now. In the evening they would be herded back into town. Stores had no refrigeration at the time, so families milked the cows each day to provide milk. If chickens laid more eggs than families needed, extra eggs would be taken to the store to barter for what families couldn’t provide on their farms.
These things are to be the focus of the new museum building. “I see this being an opportunity for education,” said Dudley. “Children can come here from all around the area and see where their porridge or bread comes from.”
Construction on the barn-style building will begin within the next week immediately north of the museum. It will feature industries that were the foundation of the community, including agriculture, irrigation, the woolen mill and the cannery.
Although funding is in place to finish construction of the building, more donations are required to finish the shelving and displays.
The building is expected to be completed in the late spring so it can be welcoming visitors by summertime.