This month, the Creston Museum is celebrating one of their prized pieces turning over into a new century - the Ford Model T, fondly nicknamed Derry.
“He is completely unique,” said Tammy Bradford, manager of the Creston Museum. “At the time, the chassis starter kits were sold by Ford, and the owners built everything else.”
Originally, the truck was manufactured in the United States in July 1921. It was purchased for about $600 in North Dakota by Robert, Joseph, and George Derry. The three brothers drove the truck back to their home in Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan to be put to work on a grain farm.
In 1937, the family relocated to settle in Canyon, presumably because of drought conditions on the prairies.
Last licenced in 1950, the truck continued to be utilized for puttering around the farm for many, many years.
“They used Derry for everything,” said Bradford. “From hauling hay to the neighbours, transporting chickens, and driving up Mount Thompson for huckleberry picking - it’s a very versatile truck.”
In 1964, the truck officially retired and found a new home as part of the collection at the Yahk Pioneer Park Museum. Later in 1979, that museum went bankrupt. The Creston Historical Society purchased the entire collection at auction, including Derry the truck, which was used to establish the Creston Museum.
Today, the truck remains mostly original with the handmade cab and box from the Derry brothers. There have been some minor modifications over the years to keep it running safely for the parade route at the annual Creston Valley Blossom Festival. Still, Derry hasn’t quite made it through the whole parade.
“At parade speeds, there’s just not enough air flow to keep the engine cool. He did vapour lock on us, so he needed a push the rest of the way,” said Bradford. “But, the fact that he is still going points to the resourcefulness and mechanical ability of that generation.”
To learn more about Derry, check him out at the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market every Saturday this July from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Otherwise, he can also be found at his permanent home at the Creston Museum.
To highlight his story spanning 100 years, a 12-page colouring book has been produced with funding from the Community Initiatives Program. Families can take home a copy for free.
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