History of RHHS

The formation of a heritage component of the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association (ARHCA) occurred in a series of meetings initiated by Gerry Stotts that extended back to 1994. A variety of objectives were addressed at these meetings, including raising some funds for the construction of a facility at the Reynolds Alberta Museum (RAM) in Wetaskiwin, Alberta.

In 1998 RAM and ARHCA were ready to collaborate on an exhibit to be established on the RAM grounds. “The ARHCA has joined forces with RAM to tell the story of roadbuilding in Alberta”, stated the ARHCA in a newsletter calling for donations. The process of planning and gathering the necessary resources had begun in earnest. Various plans and details concerning the utilization of the RAM property to display antique roadbuilding equipment were discussed. It was decided that this would follow the successful completion of the Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) sponsored “Dragline Project”, involving the installation of 1917 Bucyrus steam dragline at the museum, and the donation by the Mannix family of several pieces of surface mining equipment in 2000.

In 2002, joint meetings held between the ARHCA and RAM focused on three main topics:

  • “Roads to Resources”, a book on the history of roadbuilding in Alberta which ARHCA eventually published
  • A permanent facility and display of roadbuilding equipment to be installed at RAM
  • The Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA) 2005 Annual Convention and Exposition, which was held at the RAM site

Later in 2002, these three projects went their separate ways. Although the ARHCA administration withdrew it interest in a heritage component, the “Roads to Resources” book was completed and launched in January 2006. The HCEA held a very successful Convention in August 2005 chaired by Bill Graham and assisted by Keith Haddock, National Director of the HCEA.

RHHS was established in 2006 to carry forward the former objectives of the heritage committee of the ARHCA. Its first meeting was held Aril 27, 2006 and was incorporated as a non-profit society in Alberta on June 28, 2006.

In July, 2007, following the protracted discussions with RAM management, it was decided that it would be in the RHHS’s best interests to relocate its proposed facility and displays from RAM to the Leduc No.1 Energy Discovery Centre at Devon, Alberta.

The first HCHS Steering Committee meeting at Leduc-Devon was held on August 2, 2007. The HCHS Joint Liaison Committee was established on October 30th with its first meeting held on that date. Liaison Committee members: Bill Graham and Keith Haddock of HCHS and Dan Claypool and Don Hunter of Leduc / Devon Oilfield Historical Society.

In October 2010, the HCHS Steering Committee became the HCHS Advisory Committee. Regular meetings of the above committee will continue until the facility is built and operating. RHHS has since staged a number of period equipment exhibitions in Calgary, Edmonton and Devon. On September 1, 2011 HCHS hired a Manager & staff and opened an office in the Leduc No. 1 Energy Discovery Centre.