A century ago, early Blackfalds settler George Wadey ordered his home from Eatons and it was sent out by train and pieced together on site.
That home served generations of the Wadey family over about 80 years before the home came into the hands of the town, after the land was sold to developers.
On Wednesday, that example of early mail-order ingenuity was on the move to a new site at All Star Park, a few hundred metres from its original location. It will become the Wadey Centre, a unique visitor information centre and a space for the local chamber of commerce and Blackfalds and Area Historical Society.
Historical Society president Judy Carleton was among the small group of spectators who turned out on a chilly morning to watch as the house was slowly moved by truck down the road to its new spot at the corner of Broadway Avenue and South Street.
“Blackfalds doesn’t have very many historical houses left that are still standing, let alone in good condition,” she said.
Left empty for a number of years, the house was fortunate to survive vandals and arsonists.
“They torched the Quonset in the same yard and they broke into the house many times.”
While the interior has been trashed, the house remained structurally sound.
Carleton said the society has had its eye on the house since 2002, but there was never the money available to move it.
That changed last year when the town received a $162,600 federal grant through a program to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday next year. A condition of the grant is to have the project completed by Canada Day.
The town contributed the rest of the $720,000 to move and renovate the building, which will have a basement historical archives.
Carleton said the society is taking an inventory of its historical buildings with the help of the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.
“We’ve identified 15 to 20 buildings,” she said. “There are heritage buildings in Blackfalds and I think it’s important to try to preserve your history.”
It is hoped town council will follow Lacombe’s lead and pass a bylaw to designate historical buildings.