Arches mark influence of railroad on city
The Historic Arches project was unveiled at Centennial Plaza Park in Red Deer on Friday after nearly 20 years in the making.
The nine-pillar arches near Alexander Way and 52nd Avenue celebrate the influence of transportation and the railways in the development of the city
Bill MacKay, president of the Central Alberta Historical Society, said the arches record the history of the railroad and its impact on the residents.
“Really it’s the social issue of Red Deer because it has to do with people,” said MacKay.
“People coming and going and settling and finding homesteads. It has to do with the coal mines, the Depression and why the rail was important for the coal mines.”
The Arches project has been in the works since about 1999. They were erected a few years ago and the historic Michener Fountain, also in the park, was moved to the site in 2005.
Resembling roundhouse doors, the arches feature 27 plaques with little-seen-before historical photos on nine pillars. The photographs showcase a part of the rail history including transportation before and after the railroad, the role of the Métis people, and other milestones.
The permanent plaques will go up in the next few weeks while QR codes linking to the society’s website will likely be operational by January.
MacKay said the society wants to keep up with technology and to give residents access to Red Deer history in the ways people are accessing information today.
This year the project went full steam ahead as a legacy project for the city’s centennial.
Mayor Morris Flewwelling was involved with the project since the early days. As one of his final acts as mayor, Flewwelling said it was fitting to see the project complete with the unveiling on Friday.
With an estimated $225,000 price tag, the Arches project was funded through local donations, contributions from the city and grants from the province.