City workers loading the sandstone (contributed photo).

City workers loading the sandstone (contributed photo).

Stash of century-old Red Deer River sandstone turned over for building repairs

Bill and Elaine Woof donated reclaimed stone from Red Deer’s Indian Residential School

A rare cache of sandstone, quarried more than 120 years ago from the Red Deer River bank, has been gifted to the community for old building restoration.

Bill and Elaine Woof found six tones of cut sandstone on the C&E Trail property they bought two decades ago.

They were told by the former property owner that this stone had been reclaimed from the abandoned and now destroyed Indian Residential School (also known as the Red Deer Industrial School). It was located across the river and up-steam from Fort Normandeau.

Elaine said they found no use for the cut blocks, so the sandstone spent 20 more years piled under some spruce tree boughs.

But before Elaine lost Bill to cancer last month, the couple had discussed putting the material to better purpose by turning it over to the community for old building repairs.

Red Deer city councillor and local historian Michael Dawe recalled his excitement at hearing about the Woofs’ intention to donate the unique stone. “That’s all there is of this, you can’t get any more.”

He noted the material was mined at a local quarry that closed in the 1920s. “The advantage is this is the same colour and texture of the sandstone on our old buildings,” he added, noting that Red Deer River stone is more silver grey than sandstone from the Calgary area.

Since the donated material is in good condition and the same hard-to-match shade, the community is grateful for such a generous and valuable gift, said Dawe.

Elaine said, “We were just happy to see it used as a legacy, to maintain historical buildings.”

The sandstone now sits under a protective tarp in the City of Red Deer’s Public Works yards.

If it was reclaimed from the Red Deer’s Indian Residential School, then it was mined before the facility opened in 1893. The school has a sad legacy. With poor living conditions and the highest student mortality rate in Canada, it was shut down in 1919 and replaced with another Indian Residential School near Edmonton.

Most other sandstone buildings also vanished from the area over the years. Dawe said few all-sandstone clad buildings remain in Red Deer, so the ones still standing are worth preserving.

The best example is the St. Luke’s Anglican church, which requires some repairs around several windows, and the Green Block, now home to Artistry in Gold Jewellers, on the corner of Ross Street and Little Gaetz. Several old homes were also created with sandstone foundations, including the Parsons House and the J. J. Gaetz House.

“Now we have this wonderful supply for the next big project,” said Dawe.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of Red Deer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

City workers loading the sandstone (contributed photo).

City workers loading the sandstone (contributed photo).

Elaine Woof with her late husband, Bill Woof (contributed photo).

Elaine Woof with her late husband, Bill Woof (contributed photo).

Just Posted

The interchange at Highway 2 and McKenzie Road at the south end of Gasoline Alley is being redesigned with two roundabouts. Construction is expected to begin this month and finish in October. (Graphic from Red Deer County)
Roudabouts coming to McKenzie Road overpass at Gasoline Alley

Project expected to improve traffic flow at busy intersections

A federal strategy to preserve threatened trout could conflict with provincial coal leases in the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies. (Contributed photo by Jeff Lund).
Federal regulations could save Alberta’s bull trout by shutting down mining plans, says biologist

Ottawa’s new strategy identifies a 30-metre protected area along rivers and streams

(Contributed image)
Wolf Creek Public Schools will not participate in curriculum pilot

Central Alberta school jurisdiction joins others across Alberta

Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, fom left, celebrate after winning women's gold medal match against Brazil's team at the Beach Volley Worldtour Major Series, in Vienna, Austria on August 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ronald Zak
Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch (24) gets fouled by Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu throws to a New York Yankees batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau (13) scores the game winning goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender David Rittich (33) in overtime NHL action in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Canada's Evelyne Viens celebrates scoring against Wales during the women's international friendly soccer match at Leckwith Stadium, Wales, Friday April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Potts/PA via AP
Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

After weekend hiccup at men’s worlds, Grand Slams move into curling bubble

After weekend hiccup at men’s worlds, Grand Slams move into curling bubble

Erickson Gallardo of Canada's Toronto FC and his teammates celebrate after Andres Mosquera of Mexico's Leon scored an own goal during their Concacaf Champions League soccer match in Leon, Mexico, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRES/AP/Mario Armas
Toronto FC gets vaccine boost but injury list still an issue ahead of Leon rematch

Toronto FC gets vaccine boost but injury list still an issue ahead of Leon rematch

Most Read