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Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1960
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, METAL
Catalogue Number
P20160008001
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1950
Date Range To
1960
Materials
WOOD, METAL
No. Pieces
1
Height
38.3
Length
121.5
Width
4.6
Description
SIGN. WOOD AND METAL. BORDER OF SIGN IS PAINTED MEDIUM/DARK BROWN. MAIN PORTION OF SIGN IS GOLDEN ROD YELLOW, WITH BLACK LETTERING. TEXT READS: “A SAFE WORKER IS A VALUABLE EMPLOYEE”. TWO METAL BRACKETS FOR HANGING ATTACH TO BACK OF SIGN. EACH BRACKET ATTACHES TO THE BACK WITH TWO FLAT HEADED BOLTS, WHICH ARE VISIBLE ON THE YELLOW SIDE OF THE SIGN. NUTS HOLD THE BOLTS ON THE BACK. HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE INK ON BOTTOM LEFT SIDE “317-9353”. REVERSE OF SIGN IS UNFINISHED DARK, ROUGH PINE BORDER. OVERALL IN GOOD TO VERY GOOD CONDITION. SIGN IS VERY DIRTY. SOME OF BROWN PAINT AROUND BORDER HAS SCRATCHED OFF, REVEALING BLACK PAINT UNDERNEATH.
Subjects
VISUAL COMMUNICATION T&E
Historical Association
INDUSTRY
SAFETY SERVICES
TRANSPORTATION
History
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM A SERIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DONOR CONDUCTED BY KEVIN MACLEAN. FROM JOHN’S INTERVIEW: JOHN STARTED WORKING AT THE FROG SHOP IN KIPP, AB IN 1992. HE DESCRIBED HOW IT WAS THAT HE CAME TO WORK THERE: “I WAS WORKING AS A SEASONAL MACHINE OPERATOR ON THE PACIFIC REGION, WHICH MEANT THAT IN THE SPRINGTIME EVERY YEAR, I GENERALLY START OUT SOMEWHERE NEAR THE FRASER CANYON AND OVER THE COURSE OF THE YEAR I’D WORK ANYWHERE FROM THERE TO SWIFT CURRENT AND FROM THE U.S. BORDER AS FAR NORTH AS [THE CPR HAD TRACKS, TO ROUGHLY ST. PAUL, AB]. THE LENGTH OF MY YEAR’S EMPLOYMENT WOULD BE DETERMINED IN MY SENIORITY AND THE AMOUNT OF WORK THAT WAS AVAILABLE. I WAS REAL TIRED OF BEING ON THE ROAD. THE YEAR PREVIOUSLY, THERE’D BEEN A TEMPORARY JOB – A COUPLE OF TEMPORARY JOBS THAT WERE BULLETINED AT THE FROG SHOP IN THE FALL, PROCESSING SOME SCRAP MATERIAL THAT WAS THERE. A FRIEND AND MINE BID THOSE JOBS AND GOT THEM. THAT MEANT WE WERE ON THE SHOP’S SENIORITY LIST AND WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY AROSE, THERE WAS A POSITION THERE BULLETINED – ACTUALLY A COUPLE OF POSITIONS BULLETINED THERE – MY FRIEND AND I BID THEM TO BE ABLE TO BE AT HOME AND HAVE A YEAR ROUND JOB. MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN THE BEST IDEA EVER, BUT IT WAS GOOD TO BE HOME AND SLEEP IN MY OWN BED AT NIGHT AND WAKE UP AND SEE MY HORSES IN THE MORNING.” JOHN REMOVED THIS SIGN FROM HIS WORKPLACE WHEN THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY ELECTED TO CLOSE THE FROG SHOP IN KIPP IN THE SPRING OF 2002. JOHN’S SUPERVISOR, GUY MITCHELL, KNEW THAT HE HAD AN INTEREST IN HISTORY AND OLD THINGS AND ALLOWED JOHN TO TAKE SOME ITEMS HOME. JOHN RECOUNTED THE EXPERIENCE: “WHEN I ASKED [GUY] WHAT WAS TO BECOME OF THE [SAFE WORKER] SIGN HE SAID, ‘YOU CAN HAVE IT, JOHN. THEY’LL JUST THROW IT AWAY. IT’S JUST JUNK AS FAR AS ANYONE ELSE CONCERNED.’ I ASKED HIM, ‘GEE, COULD I HAVE THE LITTLE PLAQUE OFF THE DOOR?’ AND HE SAID, ‘OF COURSE, YEAH, TAKE IT. IT’S GOING TO GET – SOMEONE ELSE WILL KNOCK IT OFF AND IT’LL GET BROKEN. SO MUCH THE BETTER. YOU WANNA SEE IT HANG IN THERE, GO FOR IT. IT’S ALL YOURS.’” JOHN EXPLAINED THAT THIS SIGN HUNG ON THE WALL: “IT WAS HANGING ON THE WALL WELL ABOVE THE DOORWAY, AND [I] PUT A LADDER UP AND TOOK THE TWO BIG SCREWS OUT OF THE WALL THAT HELD IT IN PLACE, AND TOOK THE TWO LITTLE TINY SCREWS OUT OF THE DOORWAY THAT HELD THE FROG SHOP SIGN IN PLACE. THAT WAS ONE OF THE LAST DAY – I THINK IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EVEN THE LAST DAY THAT WE WERE THERE – AS I RECALL THAT’S THE CASE.” JOHN EXPLAINED WHY HE WAS SO INTERESTED IN THIS PARTICULAR SIGN: “BUT THE SIGN WAS SIGNIFICANT TO ME IN IT OF ITSELF GIVEN THAT WE SOMETIMES JOKED THAT THAT WAS THE ENTIRETY FOR A LONG TIME OF THE RAILWAY’S SAFETY PROGRAM – WAS A SIGN LIKE THIS. ON ALL THE MIRRORS IN ALL OF THE EMPLOYEES’ BATHROOMS, GOING BACK AT LEAST WHEN I FIRST WORKED FOR THE RAILWAY THE SUMMER OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY IN 1975, THE MIRRORS WERE ALL PAINTED WITH A SIGN ABOVE - AT THE TOP AND THE BOTTOM OF THE MIRROR THAT SAID, “YOU’RE LOOKING AT THE MAN MOST RESPONSIBLE YOUR SAFETY.” THOSE WERE QUITE OFTEN CHANGED BY EMPLOYEES TO SAY SOMETHING QUITE DIFFERENT, BUT YEAH, IT WAS SOMETHING OF A JOKE.” HE WENT ON FURTHER, SAYING THAT IN 1978 HE AND A FRIEND LOOKED INTO THE OLD ROUNDHOUSE AT THE RAIL YARD IN LETHBRIDGE AND “WAS MORTIFIED” TO SEE THE WORKING CONDITIONS: “WE PULLED UP BEHIND THE OLD ROUNDHOUSE IN THE OLD YARD HERE IN LETHBRIDGE, AND LOOKED IN THE DOORWAY. THAT’S AS MUCH AS I KNOW OF THE OLD ROUNDHOUSE, AND I WAS MORTIFIED TO SEE MEN WORKING IN A POORLY VENTILATED, ANCIENT, REALLY FALLING APART BUILDING. MORE PIGEONS THAN PEOPLE INSIDE, IN A CLOUD OF DUST AND WELDING SMOKE THAT YOU COULD NOT SEE THROUGH. THAT’S WHERE THIS SIGN CAME FROM.” IN COMPARISON, THE WORKING CONDITIONS IN THE KIPP FROG SHOP WERE MUCH BETTER, BUT JOHN EXPLAINS THAT THERE WERE STILL PROBLEMS: “WHEN I WENT TO WORK AT THE FROG SHOP IN KIPP IN EARLY ’92, A GREAT NUMBER OF PEOPLE WORKING THERE, AND THEN THERE WERE ONLY 12 EMPLOYEES THERE AND A SUPERVISOR, HAD WORKED THERE. CONSEQUENTLY, THAT FACILITY WAS LIGHT YEARS BEYOND WHERE THEY WORKED PREVIOUSLY, AND THEY’RE PRETTY COMFORTABLE IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT. THEY FELT THAT, YOU KNOW, THEY WERE DOING PRETTY WELL. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF US OVER THE COURSE OF THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS THAT CAME TO WORK THERE THAT HAD PREVIOUSLY WORKED ON THE SEASONAL WORK CREWS, AS MACHINE OPERATORS, WERE HAPPY TO HAVE A FULL TIME, YEAR-ROUND JOB. IT WASN’T A VERY PLEASANT PLACE TO WORK. IT WAS VERY DUSTY, VERY NOISY, AND DESPITE A RELATIVELY DECENT WELDING FUME VENTILATION SYSTEM, IT WASN’T A GOOD PLACE TO BE. AND WE LOOKED AT THE SIGN EVERY DAY AS YOU WALKED OUT. IN THE COURSE OF READING THE MSDS ON THE WELDING WIRE AND THE WELDING ROD WE USED, AFTER I WORKED THERE FOR MAYBE A YEAR OR SO – MAYBE A COUPLE YEARS – I SAW THAT THE WELDING WIRE MANUFACTURER – WELL THE WELDING ROD MANUFACTURER – SUGGESTED THAT PEOPLE HAVE AT LEAST ANNUAL BLOOD TESTS TO DETERMINE THEIR BLOOD LEVELS OF HEAVY METALS, IN PARTICULAR MANGANESE.” JOHN EXPLAINED THAT TOO MUCH MAGNESIUM IN THE HUMAN BODY CAN MIMIC PARKINSON’S DISEASE, A CONDITION CALLED PARKINSONISM. SUMPTION PUSHED FOR BLOOD TESTING TO BE DONE IN THE 1990S: “THAT STARTED US DOWN THE ROAD THAT RESULTED IN A STUDY BEING DONE BY A GROUP OF INDUSTRIAL MEDICINE SPECIALISTS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY, INCLUDING OF THE FOREMOST – THE WORLD’S MOST FOREMOST – MOVEMENT DISORDER SPECIALIST … . CONSEQUENTLY, WE ALL SPENT TWO DAYS IN CALGARY, GOT MRI, GOT BLOOD TESTS, AND THEREAFTER WERE REGULARLY SUBJECTED TO URINE TESTS.” THE RESULTS OF ALL OF THIS TESTING: “CONSEQUENTLY, THE VENTILATION SYSTEM WAS IMPROVED, THE DUST CAPTURE SYSTEM WAS IMPROVED FOR THE GRINDING PROCEDURES, AND ALL EMPLOYEES WORE POWER PURIFIED AIR RESPIRATORS THEREAFTER. SO WE HAD A MUCH SAFER WORK ENVIRONMENT.” JOHN NEVER SAW THIS SIGN HANGING IN THE ROUNDHOUSE AND HAD THE FOLLOWING TO SAY: “IT’S FAR TOO OLD TO HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE FROG SHOP IN 1982. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THESE … BOLTS – HAVEN’T SEEN THEM DO LIKE THAT IN AN AWFUL LONG TIME. THIS IS HAND-PUNCHED – THIS IS HAND-CUT AND HAND-PUNCHED. LOOT AT THE WIDTH OF THE PINE PLANK THAT IT’S ON. IT’S NOT REGULAR, OLD CPR RED. THEY DIDN’T BUY THINGS. THEY ARE NOTORIOUSLY CHEAP. I REMEMBER THIS YELLOW PAINT. THIS IS THE SAME YELLOW PAINT THAT THEY PAINTED THEIR MOTOR CARS WITH – THE LITTLE, FREEZE-YOUR-ASS-OFF TRACK MOBILES WE USED TO TRAVEL ON WHEN WE’RE WORKING ON THE TRACK. YEAH, I WAS TOLD THAT. BUT I KNOW THEY WOULDN’T HAVE A SIGN PAINTED. I KNOW THEY WOULDN’T BUY ONE FROM ANYONE. AND THAT WAS WHAT I WAS TOLD BY ALL THE PEOPLE THAT I WORKED WITH THERE; SOME OF WHOM HAD A GREAT MANY YEARS. AND THERE WERE A COUPLE OLD GUYS THAT I WORKED WITH THAT RETIRED AT 35 YEARS, SHORTLY AFTER I ARRIVED IN THE FROG SHOP THERE IN ’92.” JOHN DESCRIBED WHERE THE SIGN HUNG IN THE FROG SHOP IN KIPP: “IT HUNG IN THE DOORWAY THAT LEAD OUT OF THE SHOP INTO THE HALLWAY INTO OUR CHANGE ROOM. I LOOKED AT IT EVERY DAY, AT LUNCHTIME, COFFEE TIME.” JOHN ADDED THE FOLLOWING ABOUT WORKER SAFETY: “I JUST THINK THAT THIS IS TO ME ILLUSTRATIVE OF HOW FAR WE’VE COME WHEN IT COMES TO WORKERS’ SAFETY. AND WHEN YOU TAKE A LOOK AROUND TODAY OF HOW HORRIFYINGLY FAR WE HAVE TO GO. TO THINK THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE, WHAT LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AGO, STANDING IN FRONT OF THE LEGISLATURE IN EDMONTON FIGHTING THE NOTION THAT FARM WORKERS IN ALBERTA SHOULD HAVE THE SAME PROTECTION THAT THEY DO EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY AND HAVE FOR YEARS AND YEARS. TOO MANY PEOPLE DIE GOING TO WORK. IT’S TOO EASY TO HAPPEN AND IT’S EVEN EASIER NOW. IT’S SCARY TO THINK OF YOUNG PEOPLE. I’VE WORKED WITH LOTS OF YOUNG PEOPLE AS THE YEARS HAVE GONE ON. I’M OLD. I KNOW OLD PEOPLE - OLDER PEOPLE - LOOKED OUT FOR ME AND HELPED ME; AND I’M REALLY FORTUNATE FOR THAT. BUT IN THIS HURRY-UP WORLD, NOW AND PARTICULARLY AS YOU SEE UNION MEMBERSHIP DECLINING AND IT BECOMING MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN A UNION CONTRACT, TO RATIFY A UNION VOTE, GEE I DON’T WANT TO SEE ANYONE - ANYBODY ELSE GET HURT. AND I HOPE THAT THAT GETS BETTER. BECAUSE I’VE SEEN REALLY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO PEOPLE AND IT WASN’T BECAUSE THEY WERE DUMB AND IT WASN’T BECAUSE THEY WERE CARELESS. FAR TOO OFTEN IT WAS BECAUSE THEY JUST DIDN’T KNOW AND SOMEBODY WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER DIDN’T GET IN LINE.” RELOCATING THE RAIL YARDS TO KIPP IS COVERED IN DETAIL IN SEVERAL LETHBRIDGE HERALD NEWSPAPER ARTICLES, ESPECIALLY IN THE PERIOD OF 1980 TO 1982. THESE ARTICLES TEND TO FOCUS ON THE BENEFIT FOR THE CITY OF LETHBRIDGE AND THE ABILITY TO REDEVELOP THE YARDS. FOR EXAMPLE, AN OCTOBER 10, 1980 ARTICLE DISCUSSES REDEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES: “THERE MUST BE A GOOD CORRIDOR WITH A DIVIDED HIGHWAY THROUGH THE CITY TO ACCOMMODATE BOTH TRAFFIC THAT DOESN’T WANT TO STOP AND TRAFFIC THAT WANTS TO GET OFF AT DOWNTOWN LETHBRIDGE. RAILWAY RELOCATION GIVES ROOM FOR SUCH A CORRIDOR FROM THE RAILWAY BRIDGE THROUGH TO 13TH ST.” FOR MORE DETAILS, PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE. FOR COPIES OF NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND FOR A TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW, PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE.
Catalogue Number
P20160008001
Acquisition Date
2016-03
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Date Range From
1960
Date Range To
1970
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PLASTIC
Catalogue Number
P20160008002
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1960
Date Range To
1970
Materials
PLASTIC
No. Pieces
1
Length
22.8
Width
5.0
Description
SIGN. PLASTIC. BLACK BACKGROUND. “FROG SHOP” ENGRAVED INTO PLASTIC, REVEALING IVORY LETTERING. TWO SMALL HOLES ON EITHER END OF SIGN FOR HANGING. REVERSE IS IVORY. EXCELLENT CONDITION. SLIGHT DISCOLOURATION OF IVORY PLASTIC.
Subjects
VISUAL COMMUNICATION T&E
Historical Association
INDUSTRY
History
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM A SERIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DONOR CONDUCTED BY KEVIN MACLEAN. FROM JOHN’S INTERVIEW: JOHN STARTED WORKING AT THE FROG SHOP IN KIPP, AB IN 1992. HE DESCRIBED HOW IT WAS THAT HE CAME TO WORK THERE: “I WAS WORKING AS A SEASONAL MACHINE OPERATOR ON THE PACIFIC REGION, WHICH MEANT THAT IN THE SPRINGTIME EVERY YEAR, I GENERALLY START OUT SOMEWHERE NEAR THE FRASER CANYON AND OVER THE COURSE OF THE YEAR I’D WORK ANYWHERE FROM THERE TO SWIFT CURRENT AND FROM THE U.S. BORDER AS FAR NORTH AS [THE CPR HAD TRACKS, TO ROUGHLY ST. PAUL, AB]. THE LENGTH OF MY YEAR’S EMPLOYMENT WOULD BE DETERMINED IN MY SENIORITY AND THE AMOUNT OF WORK THAT WAS AVAILABLE. I WAS REAL TIRED OF BEING ON THE ROAD. THE YEAR PREVIOUSLY, THERE’D BEEN A TEMPORARY JOB – A COUPLE OF TEMPORARY JOBS THAT WERE BULLETINED AT THE FROG SHOP IN THE FALL, PROCESSING SOME SCRAP MATERIAL THAT WAS THERE. A FRIEND AND MINE BID THOSE JOBS AND GOT THEM. THAT MEANT WE WERE ON THE SHOP’S SENIORITY LIST AND WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY AROSE, THERE WAS A POSITION THERE BULLETINED – ACTUALLY A COUPLE OF POSITIONS BULLETINED THERE – MY FRIEND AND I BID THEM TO BE ABLE TO BE AT HOME AND HAVE A YEAR ROUND JOB. MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN THE BEST IDEA EVER, BUT IT WAS GOOD TO BE HOME AND SLEEP IN MY OWN BED AT NIGHT AND WAKE UP AND SEE MY HORSES IN THE MORNING.” JOHN REMOVED THIS DOOR PLAQUE FROM HIS WORKPLACE WHEN THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY ELECTED TO CLOSE THE FROG SHOP IN KIPP IN THE SPRING OF 2002. JOHN’S SUPERVISOR, GUY MITCHELL, KNEW THAT HE HAD AN INTEREST IN HISTORY AND OLD THINGS AND ALLOWED JOHN TO TAKE SOME ITEMS HOME. JOHN RECOUNTED THE EXPERIENCE: “WHEN I ASKED [GUY] WHAT WAS TO BECOME OF THE [SAFE WORKER] SIGN HE SAID, ‘YOU CAN HAVE IT, JOHN. THEY’LL JUST THROW IT AWAY. IT’S JUST JUNK AS FAR AS ANYONE ELSE CONCERNED.’ I ASKED HIM, ‘GEE, COULD I HAVE THE LITTLE [FROG SHOP] PLAQUE OFF THE DOOR?’ AND HE SAID, ‘OF COURSE, YEAH, TAKE IT. IT’S GOING TO GET – SOMEONE ELSE WILL KNOCK IT OFF AND IT’LL GET BROKEN. SO MUCH THE BETTER. YOU WANNA SEE IT HANG IN THERE, GO FOR IT. IT’S ALL YOURS.’” JOHN EXPLAINED THAT THIS PLAQUE HUNG ON THE DOOR: “[I] TOOK THE TWO LITTLE TINY SCREWS OUT OF THE DOORWAY THAT HELD THE FROG SHOP SIGN IN PLACE. THAT WAS ONE OF THE LAST DAY – I THINK IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EVEN THE LAST DAY THAT WE WERE THERE – AS I RECALL THAT’S THE CASE.” HE DESCRIBED THE LOCATION OF THE PLAQUE: “THE SMALL FROG SHOP SIGN – THE CHEAP, LITTLE 2-PIECE PLASTIC LAMINATED SIGN –WAS SCREWED TO THE DOORWAY ON THE ENTRANCE TO THE SHOP FROM THE HALLWAY. THERE WAS A SAFETY GLASS WINDOW ABOVE IT. SO THAT WOULD’VE SAT ABOUT WAIST-HIGH AND THEY HAD THOSE SORTS OF SIGNS ON THE VARIOUS ROOMS AND OFFICES AND SHOPS IN THE FACILITY. YEAH, 2 LITTLE SCREWS. AND IT JUST SEEMED – IT NEEDED TO COME WITH THIS.” JOHN DESCRIBED WHAT A FROG IS: ”A FROG IS A PIECE OF TRACK – WELL IT’S A TRACK APPLIANCE, I’D GUESS YOU’D SAY, THAT IS A PORTION OF A SWITCH. IT’S THE PORTION OF A SWITCH, WHICH IS IMMOBILE AND ALLOWS A TRAIN TO TRAVEL EITHER ON THE MAIN LINE, WELL ON BOTH THE MAINLINE AND THE DIVERGING TRACK. IT’S DEPENDING ON THE WAY IN WHICH YOU APPROACH IT – EITHER IN THE FRONT OR BEHIND THE SWITCH. IT’S TWO LONG, HOT-BENT AND SHAVED WRAP RAILS THAT EXTEND ON BEYOND THE CASTING, AND TWO SHORT HEEL RAILS IN THE MIDDLE. THE CASTING IS EXPLOSION HARDENED MANGANESE. IT’S A MATERIAL. THEY’RE FOR THE MOST PART MANUFACTURED ONLY IN THE U.S. IN NORTH AMERICA – THE NEW ONES. AND EXPLOSION HARDENED MANGANESE IS A STRATEGIC MATERIAL AS DECLARED BY THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT. CONSEQUENTIALLY, IF THEY DECIDE THAT NONE – NO MORE – IS LEAVING THE COUNTRY THIS YEAR – NO MORE LEAVES THE COUNTRY. AND THE CASTINGS ARE ONLY EXPLOSION HARDENED IN THE US, BECAUSE HERE THE FROST DOESN’T COME OUT OF THE GROUND UNTIL FAR TOO LATE IN THE YEAR. THERE USED TO BE A FACILITY IN WINNIPEG THAT DID IT. IF THE GROUND’S FROZEN THE SHOCKWAVES TRAVEL TOO FAR AND CREATE HAVOC WITH INFRASTRUCTURE AND GROUNDWATER, AND NO ONE LIKES TO LIVE CLOSE TO A FACILITY THAT IS CONSTANTLY BUSTING OFF EXPLOSIVE SHOTS. EXPLOSION HARDENING OF MANGANESE ALLOWS THE HARDENING PROCESS TO BE DRIVEN INTO THE CASTING AT LEAST A QUARTER OF AN INCH, IF NOT AN INCH, AND IT MAKES THE MATERIAL (AN ALREADY VERY HARD MATERIAL) ANYWHERE FROM ONE AND A HALF TIMES TO TWO TIMES STRONGER THAN IT OTHERWISE WOULD BE, WHICH ALLOWS IT NOT TO WEAR. AND MANGANESE, UNDER THE BEST OF CIRCUMSTANCES, HARDENED IN THIS FASHION DOESN’T READILY BREAK OUT. IT MAINTAINS ITS STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY. IT WILL OVER TIME AS WEAR TAKES PLACE. BUT IN THE END WHEN WE SCRAP THINGS, THE RAIL WOULD GO IN ONE CAR, THE MILD STEEL IN THE CASTINGS WOULD GO TO NATIONAL SALVAGE HERE IN LETHBRIDGE AT A LOWER PRICE - MUCH LOWER PRICE. THE RAILS WERE HIGH CHROME STEEL AND THEY WENT FOR A HIGH PRICE AND WERE SHIPPED BY RAILCAR IN LARGE VOLUME. BUT THE CASTINGS WERE SET ASIDE, AND THEY WERE ONLY SHIPPED BY TRUCK BECAUSE THEY WERE VERY VALUABLE. THEY WERE ALWAYS PUT UP TO TENDER, AND YEAH, I WOULD EXPECT THAT THE CASTING MORE THAN PAID OUR WAGES EVERY YEAR.” ASKED IF THERE WERE OTHER FROG SHOPS IN CANADA, JOHN SAID THE FOLLOWING: “NO, THERE WAS ONLY – CANADA PACIFIC ONLY EVER HAD ONE FROG SHOP. THAT WAS LETHBRIDGE. AND CN AT ONE TIME HAD ONE BACK EAST, WHERE I DON’T KNOW. I THINK IN WINNIPEG, THEY MIGHT’VE DONE SOME WORK FOR A PERIOD OF IN WHAT BECAME A BUTT WELDING PLANT, BUT I’M REALLY NOT CERTAIN. I’M REALLY NOT CERTAIN.” HE DISCUSSED VISITING ANOTHER FROG SHOP IN WASHINGTON STATE: “WORKING WITH PEOPLE FROM A WELDING WIRE MANUFACTURER IN KENTUCKY, AND ACTUALLY WITH A GREAT DEAL OF HELP FROM THE PEOPLE OF THE BURLINGTON NORTHERN’S FROG SHOP IN SPOKANE, WASHINGTON. MADE A FEW TRIPS DOWN THERE, SAW WHAT THEY WERE DOING. WE MUCH IMPROVED THE PROCESS AND IN THE END OUR REMANUFACTURED FROGS WERE APPROXIMATELY, OH I’D SAY, MAYBE A SIXTH – BETWEEN A QUARTER AND A SIXTH OF THE COST OF THEM NEW. AND ACCORDING TO A GREAT MANY FIELD SUPERVISORS, THEY STOOD UP BETTER THAN THE NEW ONES BECAUSE OF THE WAY THAT WE DID THINGS AND WHAT WE LEARNED – NOT ONLY FROM THE PEOPLE AT TRACKWELD, BUT FROM OUR FRIENDS AT BURLINGTON NORTHERN. SOMETHING THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN TODAY AND MAY NOT HAVE HAPPENED THEN, WHERE UPPER LEVEL MANAGEMENT AT BURLINGTON TO KNOW WHAT THEY WERE DOING WITH WHAT’S FUNDAMENTALITY A DIRECT COMPETITOR OF THEIRS. BUT THEY WERE WONDERFUL. THEY WERE REALLY, REALLY WONDERFUL TO US. AND IT ALSO MEANT THAT THEY EFFECTIVELY RECYCLED THE NON-REBUILDABLE MATERIALS. THE FROG IN ONE PIECE, SCRAPPED, IS NOT WORTH A GREAT DEAL BECAUSE IT IS COMPRISED OF FOUR HIGH CHROME RAILS, THEY’RE BOLTED INTO BIG CAST IRON BLOCKS INTO AN EXPLOSION HARDENED MANGANESE CASTING IN THE MIDDLE.” KEVIN ASKED IF THERE WAS A PHOTOGRAPH OF JOHN IN THE FROG SHOP, JOHN REPLIED THAT HE DOESN’T LIKE HIS PICTURE TO BE TAKEN AND SUGGESTED: “I WOULD EXPECT – LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARCHIVES WILL HAVE A PICTURE OF WALTER – CAN’T REMEMBER HIS LAST NAME – FROM STERLING, OR MAGRATH RATHER, WHO WAS A LONGTIME FROG SHOP FOREMAN. HE RETIRED NOT LONG AFTER I WENT IN THERE. I KNOW THERE WAS THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE THAT HAD A PICTURE OF WALTER, AND PROBABLY HAD A PICTURE OF THE SHOP. MAYBE THROUGH THE OFFICE WINDOW. THE OFFICE WAS IN THE SECOND FLOOR WITH A LARGE WINDOW. KIND OF LIKE A JAIL CELL – I MEAN IT WAS KIND OF LIKE A PRISON YARD TOWN. SO YOU COULD LOOK OUT OVER THE PRISONERS. THE PICTURE MIGHT HAVE BEEN TAKEN THROUGH THAT, THOUGH THERE WAS GRILL-WORK – WIRE GRILL-WORK – IN THE GLASS. BUT AS I RECALL, SOMEWHERE IN THE ‘90S AND I’M THINKING JUST BEFORE I CAME TO WORK THERE OR SHORTLY THEREAFTER, THERE WAS A PICTURE IN THE HERALD. I KNOW THAT IN YOUR ARCHIVES THERE ARE GREAT PICTURES OF THE ROUNDHOUSE. WHEN AN OLD FELLOW THAT I WORKED WITH FOR A LONG TIME RETIRED, CAME IN HERE – HE WORKED AS A KID WITH HIS BROTHER ON THE TURNTABLE. THE TURNTABLE WAS STILL IN OPERATION AND HIS BROTHER LEFT AND FRANK CONTINUED ON TO WORK WITH THE RAILWAY. SO WE CAME IN, I CAME IN HERE AND GOT SOME PHOTOS FROM YOUR ARCHIVES. ONE SHOT FROM THE ROOF OF THE BREWERY OUT IN THE YARD. ANOTHER TAKEN IN THE YARD, UP CLOSE TO THE TURNTABLE, AND THEN A COUPLE OF TERRY BLAND’S COLOUR SHOTS AFTER, IN THE TIME THAT INTERVENED BETWEEN THE ROUNDHOUSE BEING TORN, WELL THE YARD BEING MOVED TO KIPP AND EVERYTHING BEING TORN UP. YEAH, THERE WERE SOME BEAUTIFUL PICTURES, YOU KNOW … WHAT HE DID FOR LETHBRIDGE WAS JUST MAGNIFICENT AND WHAT A FINE PHOTOGRAPHER HE WAS. AND WHAT A LESSON TO PEOPLE, TO OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS, TO WEAR A CARBON-FILTER MASK. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT KILLED HIM, THE FIXATIVE ON HIS DEVELOPING AND HE WAS SHY TO SHARE THAT.” FROM NEWSPAPER ARTICLES: AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED MARCH 25, 1927 IN THE MONTREAL GAZETTE EXPLAINS WHAT A FROG IS: “IN THE RAILROAD TRACK CIRCLES, A ‘FROG’ IS NOT AN AMPHIBIOUS QUADRUPED, BUT THE TIE THAT BINDS AND HOLDS THE RAILS.” A JANUARY 17, 2002 ARTICLE IN THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD DESCRIBES A FROG: “THE FROG IS AN X-SHAPED COMPONENT WHERE THE LEFT RAIL CROSS THE RIGHT RAIL AT A SIDING. ‘PURCHASING NEW FROGS IS A MORE EFFICIENT ALTERNATIVE TO INTERNAL REMANUFACTURING OF TRACK COMPONENTS,’ SAYS IAN LACOUVEE, A CPR SPOKESMAN IN CALGARY. THE LEBRIDGE SHOP, PART OF THE COMPANY’S SOUTHERN ALBERTA OPERATION FOR DECADES, HANDLED REBUILDS FOR ALL OF THE CPR’S TRACK NETWORKS ACROSS WESTERN CANADA. IT WAS MOVED TO THE KIPP SITE IN THE EARLY 1980S WHEN CANADIAN PACIFIC SOLD ITS DOWNTOWN LETHBRIDGE RAILYARDS AND ROUNDHOUSE AREA TO THE CITY FOR REDEVELOPMENT.” THE 2002 ARTICLE CONTINUES, DISCUSSING THE CLOSURE OF THE SHOP IN KIPP: “IT’S THE RAILWAY’S LAST REPAIR SHOP OF ITS KIND IN WESTERN CANADA. BUT CANADIAN PACIFIC IS CLOSING ITS RAIL FROG REBUILDING FACILITY AT KIPP THIS SPRING. EIGHT JOBS WILL BE LOST … WHEN THE RAILWAY BEGINS TO BUY ALL ITS TRACK SWITCHING EQUIPMENT FROM AN OUTSIDE SUPPLIER INSTEAD OF REBUILDING WORN COMPONENTS … NOW THE COMPANY HOPES TO SELL THE KIPP FROG REPAIR BUILDING AND ABOUT FOUR ACRES OF INDUSTRIAL LAND, LOCATED TO THE WEST OF CP’S FREIGHT CAR REPAIR SHOP AND OFFICE BUILDING.” THE ARTICLE CARRIES ON TO SAY: “THE LETHBRIDGE SHOP WAS ONE OF MANY OPERATED BY CANADIAN PACIFIC ACROSS CANADA. UNTIL MAY, IT WILL BE THE LAST FACILITY REBUILDING FROGS AND RELATED EQUIPMENT FOR TRACK MAINTENANCE CREWS ACROSS WESTERN CANADA. NEW COMPONENTS, BUILT BY PROGRESS RAIL IN WINNIPEG, WILL BE INSTALLED INSTEAD WHEN EXISTING EQUIPMENT NEEDS REPLACEMENT. OLDER COMPONENTS WILL BE SCRAPPED. LETHBRIDGE EMPLOYEES WERE GIVEN 120-DAY NOTICE OF THE COMPANY’S PLANS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR UNION AGREEMENT.” A MAY 20, 1982 ARTICLE HAD THE FOLLOWING TO SAY ABOUT THE PROPERTY: “WORK IS ABOUT 20 PER CENT COMPLETE ON CP RAIL’S NEW TRAIN MARSHALLING YARDS AT KIPP. THE $25.2-MILLION CONSTRUCTION PROJECT, EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETE DEC. 3, INCLUDES NEW ADMINISTRATION HEADQUARTERS AND A 2,322 SQUARE-METRE REPAIR SHOP.” MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE PROPERTY, INCLUDING A FLOOR PLAN (SEE PERMANENT FILE) COME FROM A BANKERS COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE ADVERTISEMENT: “BUILDING TOTALS 18,400 SQ. FT. MAIN FLOOR, AS WELL AS 1,000 SQ. FT. MEZZANINE. BUILDING DIVIDED UP INTO 3 MAIN AREAS WITH LARGE BAY DOORS IN EACH AREA. THE BUILDING HAS A 5 TON OVERHEAD CRANE AND UPWARDS OF 600 VOLTS FOR ELECTRICAL. LAND DIMENSIONS – APPROXIMATELY 3.2 ACRES. 600FT EAST TO WEST, APPROXIMATELY. 20FT ON EAST SIDE OF BUILDING. 25FT ON NORTH SIDE OF BUILDING. SHARED ROAD ON SOUTH SIDE. 400FT TO WEST OF BUILDING, APPROXIMATELY.” RELOCATING THE RAIL YARDS TO KIPP IS COVERED IN DETAIL IN SEVERAL NEWSPAPER ARTICLES, ESPECIALLY IN THE PERIOD OF 1980 TO 1982. THESE ARTICLES TEND TO FOCUS ON THE BENEFIT FOR THE CITY OF LETHBRIDGE AND THE ABILITY TO REDEVELOP THE YARDS. FOR EXAMPLE, AN OCTOBER 10, 1980 ARTICLE DISCUSSES REDEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES: “THERE MUST BE A GOOD CORRIDOR WITH A DIVIDED HIGHWAY THROUGH THE CITY TO ACCOMMODATE BOTH TRAFFIC THAT DOESN’T WANT TO STOP AND TRAFFIC THAT WANTS TO GET OFF AT DOWNTOWN LETHBRIDGE. RAILWAY RELOCATION GIVES ROOM FOR SUCH A CORRIDOR FROM THE RAILWAY BRIDGE THROUGH TO 13TH ST.” FOR MORE DETAILS, PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE. FOR COPIES OF NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND FOR A TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW, PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE.
Catalogue Number
P20160008002
Acquisition Date
2016-03
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail