The restored Aspen Beach/Gull Lake Canadian Pacific Railway station is now a museum in the Central Alberta summer village. (Contributed photo)

Restored Gull Lake train station will celebrate 100th anniversary on Canada Day

Canadian Pacific Railway station turned chicken coop was restored in the 1990s

Then a deputy mayor of Gull Lake, Ted Mohr couldn’t let go of the long abandoned Aspen Beach/Gull Lake train station.

By the 1950s, it had become a chicken coop for a local farmer.

“I just knew about this station and wondered whatever happened to it,” said Mohr. “I started looking into it and I said I had to do something. You have to save an old building like that.

“I just couldn’t let go of it and I had to have it for the community.”

By 1997, he would acquire the station and by May 1999 it was officially re-opened as a museum, located near the summer village’s community hall on Lakeview Avenue.

On Canada Day, the old Canadian Pacific Railway station Mohr worked hard at restoring turns 100.

The station was built in 1917 and was a regular Tuesday stopping point for CPR trains hauling freight, livestock and passengers. But by the early 1950s it was closed and sold to an area farmer, Ted Jenkins.

Jenkins moved the station onto his land and used it as a chicken coop for decades.

Mohr, who along with his wife Audrey, spent summers on the lake since 1955. He tried for many years to persuade Jenkins to part with the chicken coop railway station, but without success.

Then, Jenkins sold his farm to Ralph and Shawn Prins. They agreed to turn the building over to Mohr and with the help of local farmers it was relocated to the playground at the Gull Lake Recreation Centre in November 1997.

Thus began the restoration efforts. Over a period of seven months Mohr and Ray Dubas worked away, airing it out for two weeks, replacing shingles, sanding the exterior, painting, replacing the walls, creating a new foundation and surrounding platform.

Audrey Mohr pitched in too, collecting money to help with the restoration, spending many hours acting as hostess. The restoration project cost $15,000 with a provincial grant covering half and cottage owners contributing the rest.

Thinking about how the old train station looks now, Mohr said it looks “real good,” with a chuckle.

“If I had my choice, I’d move back to the lake,” he said.

mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

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