BY RYAN WELLICOME
The Michener House received its designation as a Municipal Historic Resource from the City of Lacombe in a ceremony held at the Michener House Museum this past Saturday.
The ceremony was marked by the unveiling of a designation plaque, highlighting the importance of the building as a historical resource in Lacombe. The ceremony also marked the 45th anniversary of the Lacombe and District Historical Society.
“The Michener House represents the beginning of the heritage conservation movement in Lacombe,” said Lacombe and District Historical Society President Jennifer Kirchner.
“When it was at risk of demolition, community members banded together and formed the Lacombe and District Historical Society with the express purpose of saving the building. The preservation of the home has paved the way for heritage conservation in Lacombe, and has shaped the way our community values our built heritage.”
Designation as a Municipal Historic Resource ensures the building’s preservation while providing the opportunity for funding from municipal and provincial outlets.
“It is very significant to the City of Lacombe,” said Mayor Steve Christie. “We are recognized for our historic downtown and our historic buildings and now the preservation of our historic buildings, not only provincially but municipally. We are one of few municipalities throughout Alberta that has a municipal designation so we are very proud of our buildings.
“I think our Historical Society and preservation committee are doing tremendous work here in Lacombe and are leaders throughout the province.”
Built in 1894, the Michener House originally served as the first manse for the first church constructed in Lacombe – Grace Methodist Church – until 1922. The house was home to the ministers of the church and, during these years, the house was also rented out and made available to young couples who wished to wed but could not afford a church in which to be married.
The house was the birthplace of former Governor General of Canada Rt. Hon. Roland Michener where his father, Edward Michener – second Reverend at Grace Methodist Church – lived from 1899-1900.
Preservation efforts of the Michener House began with the formation of the Maski-Pitoon Historical Society in 1971. The Society wished to acquire the residence to save it from demolition.
The house was completely restored by 1984 and was opened to the public as the Michener House Museum.