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Idea acf2308:

Hanna Roundhouse Restoration Project

Posted October 27, 2009

  • Posted by: Sandra Beaudoin
  • Organization: Hanna Roundhouse Society
  • Location: Hanna, Alberta
  • Category: Have other ideas
  • Cost: Big ($50,000 – $250,000)

The Hanna Roundhouse Society is a Not-for-Profit society working on a project to restore the 1913 Hanna Roundhouse & to gather historical information on rail pioneers from around the area. The Hanna Roundhouse was a Divisional point with the railroad , yet no employee records were kept of the train station, the roundhouse or the Goose Lake Line workers. Restoring Hanna's Roundhouse, researching/displaying local railway & pioneer history, is significant to our heritage. It will honor our railway pioneers, & increase tourism to our town & to the surrounding communities.

If we do not preserve & document railway history with help from our living pioneers, they & the roundhouse will disappear forever. Funds awarded to this project will go towards the purchase of the privately owned Roundhouse property (which was sold in 2007), & start the restoration process; install geothermal heating systems & build the Hanna Roundhouse & Cultural Center. This center will support historical displays & educate visitors of our railroad history & support the rail history of our surrounding areas.

The town of Hanna, Alberta ,was named after D.B. Hanna, a Canadian Northern Railway executive . As a Divisional site, Hanna serviced steam engines travelling between Saskatoon & Calgary, at the Hanna Roundhouse & operated from 1913-1961. Building started on the Roundhouse in 1913 initially housing 10 steam engines; in 1929, 5 additional stalls were added increasing capacity to 15 steam engines. The town thrived until 1961, when the railway employees were layed off & the Roundhouse closed. Now, most small rural towns are struggling, but Hanna has the Roundhouse! When it is restored, it can make a difference to our town & communites.

This project was presented to our school principals & may allow students to research our "back yard", allow students a purpose to document interviews with family, friends & neighbors & pass childhood stories & knowledge/skills onto our youth. There is so much history in our own backyard & families, which will be lost if not documented. The center will display quality student work & honor works in local history which will be displayed in an area dedicated to local student work.

Rail workers fought in wars; those willing to share their stories or displays will have an area dedicated to local war veterans & securely display any war memorabilia. The local men & women who contributed to our country can be respected continually.

A theatre with tiered seating is planned to support local live theatre, private & public functions, special fundraising events, & special student events.

An historical library is planned to house a collection of community history books on present villages/communities & those that have vanished, along with a collection of trains & railroad life, prairie, ranch & cowboy life.

This project will be done in phases. Funds for the project will come from grants, donations & private contributions. The first phase will be the purchase of the private property & to start the roundhouse restoration process. Presently, the roundhouse site is in poor shape & is an eye sore to visitors entering Hanna (pop'n less than 3000 people). Once the restoration process has started, the 2nd phase is to build the Cultural Center.

Completing this project will provide a well needed facelift to our town. It will increase tourism with visiting railroad enthusiasts, ancestors of railroad workers, live theatre & dinner theatre buffs, people attending community entertainment events, etc. Displays of student historical work within the Cultural Center will proudly support local students; displays of local war veteran stories within the Center will provide a venue to honor local war vets & railroad war vets all year. Documenting those who worked along the Goose Lake Rail Line from Saskatoon to Calgary, through Hanna, will put names & faces to pioneers involved in the settlement of Western Canada, Alberta & our town Hanna.

Various community groups & local youth groups may want to get iinvolved with landscaping around the CN dam. Creating walking paths joining the Hanna Roundhouse & Cultural Center to town entrances & along the CN dam, will provide an attractive area for all of Hanna to enjoy. Placing benches will provide rest areas for bird watchers & walkers; historical markers along the pathway will acknowledge rail building sites no longer standing (eg. the concrete foundation of a water tower still remains along the dam). Interested non-profit groups which support bird preservation sites, could be a resource to involve & work with landscaping this consideration for these migratory & local birds. Hanna's CN Dam is the home of many migratory birds, & is a current site for bird watchers.

This project is truly a community project! It is a win:win situation for Hanna, for Alberta & for Canada, owned & operated by a Not-for-Profit group in Hanna, Alberta.

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