The last Sunday in June each year constitutes Heritage Day at the Claybank Brick Plant in Southern Saskatchewan. It ceased operation in the mid 1980s. This plant remains the best preserved brick plant in North America. 2013 marked the 99th year for the site.
Visitors came from near and far to take in the annual event. The makeshift parking lot was overflowing by early afternoon.
The refurbished bunk house marked the first stop to check out some historical facts in the interpretive room.
This building appeared as if it was recently erected with its clean lines and sturdy brick construction.
Inside a display of tools and special molds round out the exhibit of photos. The photo display included images of historical buildings that used Claybank brick. One of these noteworthy buildings is the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.
Stacks of bricks, classic and custom, lined the paths in the yard. A quick view through one of the specialty bricks yielded this image.
The machine house continues to function fully, but for preservation’s sake the equipment is only used once a year. Here we witnessed the completion of a set of pressed fire brick.
A view of the dormant kilns, an impressive sight. It took one week to load and another week to unload this large structures after firing and cooling. Originally wood heated these kilns. They were later converted to gas.
Ladders and scaffolding between the kilns created interesting patterns with the help of the bright sunshine – an opportunity for capturing line and shape with the camera.
One of the tall chimneys reaching high into the sky, once a way to vent the extreme heat away from the work site – now a reminder of immense productivity and strong work ethic of days gone by.
Bricks spilling from one of the kiln openings – a composition not to be neglected.
The large storage shed houses new and reclaimed brick once produced in this plant. The interplay of light and shadow was a secondary feature…
One of the reclaimed brick stacks competing for attention with the shadow play.
And there it was – the wicked corner! There really is such a thing.
Where there are machines, there must be a blacksmith. This experienced volunteer entertained a full house all day. With patience and entertaining stories he imparted blacksmith lingo with ease.
Another opening that beckoned to be captured with the camera.
During an excursion into the nearby hills lush meadows led the way.
These open areas indicate rich clay deposits.
A young rider and her horse awaited our arrival.
On the left an untouched clay deposit. The soil cover was undisturbed, on the right a clay bank the way it was left at the time of the plant’s closure.
Nature’s pattern – water and wind continue to slowly erode the clay deposits.