Frank Van den Dorpel tries to start a 1910 International Harvester gasoline engine as Ray Ramey (left) watches during an open house at the Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association site in 2017. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Frank Van den Dorpel tries to start a 1910 International Harvester gasoline engine as Ray Ramey (left) watches during an open house at the Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association site in 2017. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Chilliwack’s Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association hosts open house to raise funds for new roofs, lighting

The association is inviting the public to check out some of Chilliwack’s farming history this weekend

The folks at Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association (ATA) are welcoming the public to come for guided tours of its heritage farm site and museum this weekend.

“We’re trying to raise money, we’re trying to raise membership [and] awareness. We’re literally Chilliwack’s best kept secret,” ATA president Ray Ramey says.

Members of the ATA are currently fundraising for new roofs on two of its 30 buildings, plus new lights inside the largest building on site, the Pioneer building where the museum is located.

The lighting in there is “atrocious,” he says.

Ramey figures it’ll cost about $80,000 to fix both roofs, and $13,000 to install new lights.

From Saturday, Nov. 16 to Monday, Nov. 18 the ATA site will be open to the public. There will be guided tours on Sunday and Monday with Ramey.

Thousands of items are on display in the museum for people to see. The ATA’s collection of antique farm machinery, logging and mining equipment and related items cover the floors, display cases and rooms of both floors of the museum. Other buildings on site include machine shops, a chapel and a general store.

“We want young families to join [the association]. It’s not just about older people, it’s about families,” Ramey says. “If you’re a member, you can come here any time you want. The whole place is yours — the greenspace, everything.”

Eventually, Ramey would like to bring back the association’s steam engine show which was popular in the ’80s and ’90s. But that’s only feasible once the roofs and lighting projects are complete, and after two of the steam engines are restored.

People can help make these goals possible by becoming members, or by donating money (tax receipts are available). Annual membership prices are $45 for a single person, or $55 for a family.

“What does Chilliwack have that they can say is theirs? They have this,” Ramey says. “It’s about leaving a legacy, about leaving a big legacy in the long run. We are Chilliwack’s pioneer village. We belong to Chilliwack.”

The ATA’s fall open house takes place Saturday, Nov. 16 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — no guided tours this day), Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. (guided tours start at 1 p.m.), and Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (guided tours all day).

The Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association is located at 44146 Luckakuck Way (beside Chilliwack Heritage Park). It’s open regular hours to the public year round, except for December and January where it’s by appointment. More info: www.atchelitz.ca, atachwk@gmail.com, or 604-858-2119.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: History brought to life at engine show in Chilliwack


 

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Val Janzen mixes up batter for griddle cakes during an open house at the Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association site in 2017. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Val Janzen mixes up batter for griddle cakes during an open house at the Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association site in 2017. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)