BY KALISHA MENDONSA
In the early hours of the morning on Nov. 2nd, crews were hard at work preparing the historic Wadey House for its final move to its new location, in the southwest corner of All Star Park in Blackfalds.
The movement and re-purposing of the home will serve as the Town of Blackfalds’ Canada 150 Project, made possible through funding received from the federal government to the tune of $162,000.
The funding for the project was officially announced in July 2015.
An official ground-breaking ceremony of the new site took place on July 28th of this year. The house will be permanently relocated at the corner of South St. and Vista Trail.
“It’s an exciting day for us as we physically move the Wadey House,” said Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol.
“That’s a huge project and we’ve been working on it for a long time. It’s our Canada 150 project, and so it’s very important to have that completed before Canada Day 2017. We’re really excited to be getting that done because it shows our Town’s commitment to that project, and we will have a great Canada 150 celebration around that historical home after its renovation and re-purposing.
“It’s a really neat project that demonstrates many strong partnerships in our community – the Town, the Blackfalds & Area Historical Society and the Blackfalds Chamber of Commerce. It’s really getting turned into a useful building in the community.”
A new foundation has been built for the home to include a basement where the Blackfalds Historical Society archives will be stored.
The bedrooms of the home will be converted into office space and the main floor of the home will be display and tourist-based space. It will house both the Historical Society and the Blackfalds Chamber of Commerce offices.
At the new location, the home will be visible and accessible to the community and will serve as a cornerstone symbol for the Town.
The Eaton’s Catalogue package home was shipped to Blackfalds and assembled in the Town by an early settler, George Wadey, in 1916.
It was acquired by the Town of Blackfalds a number of years ago after the land it was built on was approached by a developer.
“We approached them and said, what is your intention with this house? And they, of course, said, ‘It’s for development, it would be our intent to clear the land’. We then had the home inspected to make sure it was of good quality, because sometimes homes like this, if they’re not cared for can fall apart.
“What we found in that inspection was that the master beams were all in excellent condition and this home was a quality home worthy of preservation,” Stol said.
The developer allowed the Town to take the home at no cost, saying they simply had to pay to move it.
In July, at the groundbreaking ceremony, Sean Barnes, head of the Blackfalds Recreation board and project lead, said the Wadey family was thrilled the house wasn’t going to be torn down.
“I’m hoping the public, in general, will get some enjoyment out of it,” he said. “We need more amenities, and I think it’ll be a little town jewel sitting in the corner of the crossroad.”
-with files from Zachary Cormier and Cyril Brabant