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STARTING THE MUSEUM...
The original 16 member group who restored this Canadian rig was then known as the Antique Canadian Gas Rig Restoration Crew and for most of them drilling gas wells had been a way of life. They decided to create the display because of the significant role natural gas has played in the development of the Region of Haldimand-Norlfolk (H-N).
The Canadian rigs manufactured by the Oil Well Supply Company of Petrolia, Ontario were very popular back in the 1930’s. There were 18 or 20 in the H-N area at that time.
On December 7, 1995 an investigation led to the discovery of an antique steam powered Canadian rig on the property of George Ruddell near Acton, Ontario. Originally owned by A.E. Hoover and later by his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Art Dawson of Hoover’s Point Rainham Township, it was moved to Acton around 1950, where it continued to drill wells until 1961.
RECOVERY OF THE RIG
The rig minus the jackshaft and jacket was moved to A. Swent & Sons Ltd., a machine and fabrication shop in Rainham Centre, on January 15, 1996. Years ago, the main part of A Swent & Sons business was servicing the gas rigs and at one time they worked for over 50 different rig owners. When construction started it looked like a pile of junk but using our memories and pictures we pieced it together.
By mid-June, construction of the 62 ft. high derrick that was to tower over the natural gas display at the 2006 International Plowing Match (IPM) was nearly complete. It took 3000 feet of red pine-2x6’s and 2x8’s-to build the tower. (Haldimand Press August, 1997)
On July 17, 1996, the rig was moved to the IPM site, erected and the finishing touches added. At that time over $30,000 of donated money and hundreds of volunteer hours have been invested to restore the rig to working order.
A PERMANENT HOME
In September of 1997 the rig was moved to it’s permanent location in Rainham Centre not far from it’s original working area where it would stand as a monument to a past full of hard work and progress. To accompany the rig a museum building was constructed on the site and the Canadian Drilling Rig Museum was formed. The occasion was marked with a ceremony on Saturday, September 19, 1998. Since then, with the same hard work and progress, a full museum site has been constructed and continues to grow with the determination of members and help from the community, municipality and province.
"Restored Gas Rig Moved To Permanent Site”
Original Rig Restoration Construction Workers were:
Stan Boyt, Lee Chambers, Jack Culver, Ferg Heastont, Morris House, Blake Montgomery, Bill Carpenter, Ivan Cox, Bob Elfner, Mark Heastont, Gerald McKenzie and Ted Montgomery.
Material and Equipment Contributors were:
Jack Atkinson, Gerodo Construction, Gerald McKenzie, Long Point Region conservation Authority, Petrolia Oil Discovery, Selkirk Home Hardware, Ed Smith, Blake Stadder, Union Gas Co., Ron Atkinson, Ed Hoover, John Lightfoot, Dave Meadows, Elgin Mitchell, Roger Mitchell, Pat Mousseau, Vic Powell Welding, Fred Ruddell, A. Swent & Sons Ltd., Turkstra Lumber and Vern Yager.We also gratefully acknowledge assistance from Ontario Power Generation Inc.-Nanticoke.
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