For an intriguing look into Lacombe’s history, check out the Historic Downtown Walking Tours which run Friday and Saturday evenings through to the Labour Day weekend.
Walks start out from the Michener House Museum at 6 p.m. and while there is no charge, donations are certainly welcome, said Melissa Blunden, executive director of the Lacombe Museum.
There are several tours available – Mural Tours, Historic Building Tours and the ‘Intrigue on the Prairies’ tour. Blunden said a Ghost Tour is also in the works for the autumn. She encourages folks to stay tuned to the organization’s social media platforms for the latest news on that and everything the museum offers.
As to the current weekly tours, the way it works is that the folks who show up on a given night choose the tour they’d like to take.
“We leave it open – our tour guides are able to do any of them,” said Blunden, adding that the guides can also include details from the other tours, too.
So if you are on the Mural Tour, a few highlights from Historic Buildings Tour could certainly pop up along the route as well.
“We’ve been doing the downtown walking tours for a few years now – probably close to 10,” she explained.
“But we’ve changed things up a little – we’ve always done the Mural Tour as Lacombe is so well-known for its murals. And then there are the historic buildings of course – our Main Street is very well-known as one of the best-preserved Edwardian downtowns in Alberta,” she said.
“People from across the province, and even from across the country do reach out and ask us how we have preserved our Main Street!”
Blunden said that a new tour has been introduced as well – the previously mentioned ‘Intrigue on the Prairies’ tour which is also proving to be a hit.
It covers essentially the same 10 blocks as the other tours, but it delves deeper into the histories of particular buildings and the folks connected to them.
“An example would be, ‘Did you know that the blacksmith that once worked here was kidnapped, tarred and feathered? He also served in the war and lost his arm and was then known as the ‘one-armed blacksmith’!”
For her part, Blunden has long had a passion for history.
“I have a BA in anthropology and archeology, so I worked in (those fields) for a while internationally and across Canada,” she explained. She later studied cultural resource management, which ultimately led her to the post here in Lacombe.
“I grew up with a passion for history, so it’s fantastic that I get to do this every day,” she said, glancing around the spacious office in the Flatiron building. Staff and volunteers are currently busy setting up a new exhibit called ‘Botany & the History of Medicine’ which will be unveiled July 29 and runs through to Oct. 21.
“There is always something new to do,” she said, adding there are all kinds of tasks to take care of from day-to-day. “I do research requests for the community, social media, the web site, marketing, take phone calls, take care of volunteer management, hiring – all of that!
“Not to mention managing the proper storage of thousands of artifacts that are in the museum’s extensive collection.”
But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s so exciting. It’s very special to work in the smaller institutions because you get to do everything.”
For Blunden, history offers a never-ending journey of discovery.
“You can be flipping through envelopes, and files and you can stumble across a treasure you didn’t even know you had.”
For more about The Lacombe & District Historical Society, check out www.lacombemuseum.com or call 403-782-3933.
You can also find them on Facebook at Lacombe & District Historical Society.