The big lamp in Donalda continues to shine

The big lamp in Donalda is finally being rejuvenated. A car accident back in May knocked out the walkway to the lamp.

Donalda Diary

The big lamp in Donalda is finally being rejuvenated. A car accident back in May knocked out the walkway to the lamp. It was still accessible to the public but did not look very picturesque. Now the repair to the walkway are almost complete. We will let everyone know about the “grand reopening.”

At 42 feet tall and 16 feet wide, the replica of a coal oil lamp was the brainchild of four local residents. The purpose of the lamp was to bring attention to our local museum and the collection of oil lamps in its collection.

Ray Kneeland and his daughter Teresa, along with Phil Racine and his wife, Joyce, got together in early spring 1997 and discussed several ideas to promote Donalda until they had come up with the lamp idea. Phil had taken drafting in high school and volunteered to design it and then present it to the Ag Society which set aside $5,000. The Village and the Museum Society were then approached, where the concept was accepted. The village donated the land and the museum agreed to manage the project. A committee went to work on fundraising and getting estimates and an engineer who could work out the structural strength and fine-tune the design. The massive steel and fiberglass structure was built by DNR Welding (Stettler) and Versa Fiberglass (Meeting Creek).

The committee members at this time were Ray Kneeland, Phil Racine, Joyce Racine, Susan Dahl, Harry Erickson, Leona Erickson, Sharron Scott, Lane Damberger, Joe Schafer, Harry Collin, Ina Damberger, Deb Schafer, Victor Richelhoff, Paul McKay, Jean Knudtson, and Robin Cosgrave, Village Administrator. Also involved were the villagers and community of Donalda, the Government of Alberta, and a lot of other contributors from near and far across Canada and into the U.S.A.

Yes, there were a few skeptics around, such as one gentlemen who stated that the Committee could not raise more than $30,000. In fact, the Committee raised a grand total of $140,000 by the end of June, 2000. This was enough to pay for the lamp at $115,000 and to start landscaping around it.

Since its opening on July 1, 2000, tourist attendance has been climbing in Donalda. Since the demise of the railway, the number of tourists has declined but the lamp remains an iconic feature of Donalda that attracts people from far and wide.

Make your way out to Donalda to view the lamp and the spectacular view of the coulee rim. If you are interested in a walk there is a hiking trail into the coulee and a place to enjoy a warm Indian Summer afternoon.

Best wishes this week to Jason Clement, Walter Broemeling, Alice Kittler, Betty Sideritsch, Justin Fuller, Olivia Awe, Terry Dahl, Hadie Salmon, Aaron Anderson, Lisa Salmon, Nadira Komishke, Colin Bailey, Darren Rider, Sheila Sutton, Ty Nixon and anyone else celebrating a birthday this week.

Happy birthday!