The Early Industrialization of Alberta...
- Category: Medicine Hat
A large part of Medicine Hat's story is about the early industrialization of Alberta. That history begins with our community's clay industries, including Hycroft China and the Medicine Hat Brick & Tile plant, in addition to Medalta.
Hycroft China was founded in 1937 by Harry Yuill as Medicine Hat Potteries Ltd and quickly emerged as Medalta's main competitor - both for customers and staff. As the story goes, one of Medalta's best employees demanded a raise to 50¢ per hour or he too was going to leave for a similar position at Hycroft China. Lucky him, he got the raise he asked for.
The factory changed hands several times, eventually being acquired by local businessman and Medicine Hat's Mayor - Harry Veiner - in 1957, who operated it until it fi nally closed for good in 1989. In 1992 it was acquired by the Friends of Medalta Society and in 1995 it was named a Provincial Historic Resource.
Although closed to the public, the Friends of Medalta Society plans to restore the facility, which sits within the 150-acre Historic Clay District - a National Historic Site in its own right. Medicine Hat Brick & Tile site is an important part of Medicine Hat's heritage. With over a century of history dating back to 1886 it is believed to be one of the oldest continuously operating industrial sites in Alberta until the fl ood of June 2010 forced the plant to cease operations.
In December 2011, the Medicine Hat Brick & Tile site was acquired by the Friends of Medalta Society from I-XL Industries Ltd., who had owned and operated it since 1929.
The vision for the site includes tours of the historic brick plant, the re-creation of a soft mud brick interpretive site, which will explain the brick-making process as it was done in the late 19th Century, as well as residence facilities for visiting artists to Medalta's International Artists in Residence program.