The Falher Railway Station, located on the north side of Highway 49 at the entrance to the Town of Falher, is likely to be moved for the third time, in this instance to the site of the Northern Alberta Railway Museum in McLennan.
With the Smoky River Tourism Society no longer using the building, the Town of Falher offered it to the McLennan Railway Museum and the museum society enthusiastically accepted the offer.
Committed to developing its museum, preserving the history of the Northern Alberta Railway and exhibiting its artifacts, the building will be a valuable addition to the Museum as it is an attractive example of a period railway station.
The acquisition of the building will also be a boom for the Kimiwan Birdwalk Interpretative Centre as the Railway Museum currently uses portion of the interpretative centre to house and display its exhibits.
The plan is to move all the Museum exhibits to the Station House and free up additional space for the Birdwalk, giving the Birdwalk an opportunity to also expand its displays and programs.
As with most initiatives of this magnitude, the challenge is to raise funds, first to prepare the site for the building and then the moving of the building itself.
The Town of Falher has stipulated that the building must be removed from its present location by spring 2019, and that the McLennan Railway Museum must pay to have it moved.
“So we are looking at possibly $100,000 by the end of it,” says Railway Museum treasurer, Theresa Demeule.
To help reach that financial goal, Demeule started a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise $50,000 and to then apply for matching grants.
“Of course, we are also counting on our casino coming in on the New Year and I’m selling the History of the McLennan Railway DVDs to try to raise money,” she says. “We are doing whatever we can to try and get this job done.”
When the building is moved it is likely to have a number of functions with other interests also operating at the location.
Tourism has expressed an interest in coming into the building and the hope is to advertise the entire Smoky River, citing other places of interest in the region such as accommodation, golf courses, and sites of similar interest such as the Girouxville Museum.
“We want this to showcase the entire municipality to get tourism into the area,” says Demeule about the planned uses for the railway station building. “It would be a really sad thing to see it disappear, that building is part of our collective history here.”
Anyone wishing to donate to this project can do so through the Northern AB Historical and Railway Museum GoFundMe page or donate directly by e-transfer to the museum society treasurer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The History DVD can also be purchased at the above email address.