The Buick McLaughlin that transported Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier during his 1910 visit to Red Deer is about to get a new, temperature-controlled home at Sunnybrook Farm.
Sod was turned Friday to create a new three-vehicle garage on the farm site. The heated building will be built to modern standards in the 1920s style.
The storage and display structure will also have an overhanging roof to offer some protection to outdoor agricultural artifact exhibits, said Sunnybrook Farm’s executive-director Ian Warwick.
The garage will house the well-preserved black Buick with spoke wheels that was kept for years in the basement of the Red Deer home of owner Julius McIntosh — whose father developed the McIntosh apple.
The car was easy enough to pull out of the basement when McIntosh’s granddaughter gifted it to the museum in 2008, said George Braithwaite, the farm’s founding president and benefactor.
“He had a winch suspended from the ceiling.”
Apparently, McIntosh used the car to go on hunting trips. “When we cleaned it up, we found about 60 lbs of shotgun and rifle shells,” said Braithwaite.
A Hudson Super 6 farm truck that was customized in the first half of the last century will also be stored in the garage. The third spot could go to a horse-drawn kerosene tank, used for transporting the fuel that was used for lamps and heating before electricity — or it could be used for another antique vehicle the museum has been offered, said Warwick.
“As we become more urbanized and as farms become mechanized and enlarged . . . (the Sunnybrook Farm Museum) is ever more important,” said Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling.
Thousands of school children visit the farm every year. And starting this fall, school buses and other vehicles will have a safer entry from the south side of the site.
A new 45-car gravel parking lot is also being constructed this spring and summer on that side of the Sunnybrook Farm site, as is a new entrance from Botterill Crescent.
This construction phase will cost a total of $170,000 — half of which was provided by donors and benefactors and half though a community facilities enhancement grant from the province.