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McAlister Motors Garage  (now a museum)

If a building can have lives, then McAlister Motors Garage has had many.

In 1932, Bert McAlister purchased the land on Railway Ave. where McAlister Motors now sits.  The same year, he purchased and moved the "Fraser's Men's Wear Shop" building (left front section of building) from its Main Street location to the land.  This was the start of McAlister Motors, a garage and Ford dealership.  Owing to the need for more space, in 1933 Bert bought another vacant building (left rear of building) and moved it onto his property behind the existing structure.  He then built between the two using scarce depression era materials.  Finally, in 1938, Bert hired a contractor to expand his business space resulting in the largest addition, the arched portion of the structure (right section of building).


By 1954, Bert had moved to Stettler to start a new car dealership but still retained control of McAlister Motors in Big Valley.  Over the years, the building continued to be used as a garage (first it remained McAlister Motors and later became Holt Service) and then as a base for a trucking firm.  It was a North Star service station and then later became Shell.


The Big Valley Historical Society purchased the property from Bert in 1993 at a cost of $6,000.     The original parts of the building were not salvageable and were removed.   A new addition was added in its place and made to resemble the style of the old structure.  This new part now houses our main museum displays and archival area.    In the summer of 2006 we opened it for viewing and in the winter of 2006 installed a heating system.  The arched part of the building  has been renovated to fix the leaky roof and improve the sagging walls.   It now houses some of our antique cars and trucks.  Since there was three lots we had the room to build an equipment shed to hold tractors and other farm equipment and we installed a compound fence around the lots.


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