It all started in 1996 when the former Reeve of the Hope Township, Ian Angus, gave us a big boost. The day the old sand dome on county road 10, was to be demolished Ian offered me its use. I said yes we would love to use it. Easier said than done. By the newspaper articles, this did not go through council easily. Even back in those we did not have a lot of believers. But it passed. Thank you Ian, you are a proud part of our journey.
But in July 2007 reality hit hard when we got an eviction notice from the Dome. Oh someone knows we are out here. For 12 years we just keep putting stuff in the Dome.
It fight back time. First we had to get a stay-of –execution.
We had friend in the ward 2 works department who knew who helped build this. He did an inspection and convinced the town it was safe/ not leak proof or much good, but with traps and things under equipment to keep stuff out of the water we could survive
So we need a plan of action, we knew we did not want the Dome repaired our ownership of it. Very poor space with a lot of area unusable. 40 feet of ceiling nothing to a point. If we got it would cost of money to take down.
We decided that we wanted to lease the land in front of the dome and then build our own building.
So Earl and I met with Cal Morgan looking for help on how we did this. Bring it to council he said. Ok how do you do that? Cal did not know this only that we should.
So we put together this super plan on what we need from council and submitted it.
We waited …Nothing, weeks pass then.
Earl was in Florida and I was told that the council was going to vote on this tonight and the recommendation was NO.
I had never been to a council meeting before and did not know what to expect. The staff present a No way for this to the council. Unusually, during this part of the meeting, Councilor Bob Fudge asked if I could speak. I explained that no one even phoned us to ask any thing about the request, so what did we do wrong?
How could they say no? Our ward two councilors threw it out and said to the work department talk to them and find a way to make it happen.
Now with meeting with the Town staff we found out, the main reason we were told No, was they did not like the word museum. It came with all kind of red tape, like wheel chair accessible washroom, Heck we did not even want a washroom at first, parking lights, site plan for traffic etc.
So we found a new word… Heritage Center.
Now a few years have passed since our eviction notice. Thanks to the help of Peter Angalo our town engineer and his staff, they put together a proposal for council, that passed and on May 5, 2009 we signed the deal.
Now we have property, some money and lots of antiques. It had been very hard to ask people for money when you only had a dream. A dream that even some of our own member did not believe in. But now we had LAND. So we needed more money.
Earl said, I can sell folks on this center and took on fund raising with a passion.
We were well on our way to having the money when the Currelly family step up to the plate and made it happen. First they offered a matched dollar for every dollar we raised.
After that they made a significant donation to make our dream possible.
We have to give a huge Thank you to Ben and Jackie Currelly and family.
President Earl, Being from the old school, always said, you don’t buy it if you don’t have the money to pay for it. We are no getting into debt. So again some said a new building will never happen!
One meeting Earl announced…. Hey we got the money. So let’s go.
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In 2010 our member went to work preparing the pavement and laying out the pole barn. One of our members, Charlie Weever ask his grandson Adam to dig some posts holes for us, using this new vacuum technology. Well it turned out to be a very hard job, as it was a gravel pit previously, but Brass Industrial came through.
Those post holes where like digging a foundation for our building.
We hired Bill Lang construction to put up a 50 by 100 steel building. It is a building with 2 different roof heights and doors at either ends.
It looks great from the outside,
Now we have to do the inside work ourselves.
We use the lower area for tractors and smaller equipment, and the higher ceiling area we store Thrashing machines, hay rakes and combines.
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Also we built an insulated, heated, workshop complete with all the tools, air compressor, welder, generators, etc. We have big screen TV with DVD system for meetings, etc. and above the shop is a parts and storage area.
Now with a safe, enclosed building, the club could go to work. As in all clubs, only a few did the work. Thousands of hours building, wiring, hanging and cleaning to get us to where we could show folks what we have done with their donated equipment and money.
Sept 12, 2012 we had our grand opening, in attendance were financial donor, members, and the Council for Municipality of Port Hope, Mayor Linda Thompson, Councillor Jeff Gilmer
As part of the opening Mayor Linda, drove this year’s draw to cut the ribbon.
Welcome to the Hope Agricultural Heritage Club, Grand Opening of The Antique Machinery Centre (AMC)
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The following weekend we showed off the center to the public for the first time.
Now we are spending time making labels, collecting history and information on how does it work and where did it come from.
So we started thinking about Phase two.
As you all know that winter was bad. So bad the Old Sand Dome went TOPLESS.
Now the discussion with the Municipality was When, not Please.
So on April 4, 2014, the Dome came down
Olivers spent 3 day taking it down and hauling it away to Newcastle scrap,
Where is was ground up, metal removed and the rest used for particle board
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Next the claws lifted out the cement footing that was only sitting on the black top.
Well now we have the land cleared for the expansion with little cost and work to us.
Now comes the real work, raising the fund for this expansion.
I have taken the leaded on this and in working with Ben Currelly designed a program called Harvest for Heritage.
Well that is who we are and how we got here.
Please come to one of our open houses.
We wanted to let you know we still are collecting antiques of all sorts, but with space at a premium we have to be choosy
And thank you for letting us share the history of our Hope Agricultural Heritage Club and our collection of this agricultural areas’ History.