East Coulee mu­seum hon­oured as first mu­nic­i­pal her­itage site

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail mailphoto by Kyle Smylie

The East Coulee School Mu­seum was pre­sented with a plaque com­mem­o­rat­ing their sta­tus as Drumheller’s first mu­nic­i­pal her­itage site on Mon­day, si­mul­ta­ne­ously ce­ment­ing their place as a sig­nif­i­cant his­tor­i­cal re­source for the re­gion and open­ing the door for much needed fund­ing.

“We’re re­ally hon­oured to be cho­sen as the first one, for sure,” said mu­seum man­ager Barb Steeves at the plaque pre­sen­ta­tion from the mayor, coun­cil, and board mem­bers of Drumheller’s Her­itage Com­mit­tee on Au­gust 8.

“It’s an im­por­tant des­ig­na­tion. In East Coulee, the school is the last build­ing that shows how big the pop­u­la­tion was here. There’s rem­nants at the At­las, but that was an in­dus­trial site that wasn’t in town.”

The East Coulee School Mu­seum was built in 1930, with four more class­rooms added in 1934. Af­ter a pop­u­la­tion boom in the 30s and 40s which saw the pop­u­la­tion of East Coulee reach 3,800, the At­las Coal The East Coulee School Mu­seum was pre­sented with a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque on Mon­day, Au­gust 8 to hon­our their dis­tinc­tion as Drumheller’s first mu­nic­i­pally de­clared her­itage site. At the pre­sen­ta­tion was her­itage board mem­bers Ron Ken­wor­thy, Mine closed in 1952 and the pop­u­la­tion dwin­dled un­til the 1970s, when the school closed. It was re­opened as a mu­seum in 1985 af­ter a ma­jor restora­tion.

“As far as her­itage goes, this build­ing was built in the ‘arts and crafts’ style. In Al­berta, there were only two schools built in that styling and the other one is gone, so this is the last re­main­ing build­ing,” said Steeves. She said that style in­cludes touches to the ex­te­rior ar­chi­tec­ture like peaked roofs and high win­dows and ceil­ings.

As a de­clared mu­nic­i­pal her­itage site, the mu­seum must re­tain fea­tures of the struc­ture which are deemed to be “her­itage,” and for the roof, this in­cludes re­tain­ing me­tal cop­ing around the edges and ren­o­vat­ing a por­tion of the roof in a cer­tain way. The old­est por­tion of the build­ing, the orig­i­nal four-class piece near the en­trance, fea­tures a roof with grad­ual slopes, which would have to be re­tained, but the re­main­der of the newer class­rooms are built in the modern style.

“What you can visu­ally see on the build­ing has to re­main her­itage as much as pos­si­ble,” says Steeves. “Hope­fully this will open up some fund­ing re­sources for them and knock down a few hur­tles,” said Mayor Terry Ye­men. “I know there’s a lot of work to be done here and part of it is to have this des­ig­na­tion to be ap­pli­ca­ble for pro­vin­cial grants.”

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Tom Zariski said the com­mit­tee was formed in 2014 and so far 50 sites in the val­ley have been iden­ti­fied as po­ten­tials for mu­nic­i­pal her­itage sta­tus. The age of the build­ing, the orig­i­nal con­di­tion­ing, its ap­pear­ance, and largely a build­ing’s ex­te­rior fea­tures are the cri­te­ria used.

“We wanted this one to be the very first as a kind of guinea pig be­cause they were al­ready in the mode of re­con­struc­tion and had a so­ci­ety be­hind it that was putting money into the build­ing,” said Zariski.

He added that the next two build­ings likely to re­ceive her­itage sta­tus are the old Cen­tral School and the Navy League build­ing in Drumheller.

Don Brinkman, Mike Todor, coun­cil­lor Sharel Shofi, Mayor Terry Ye­men, the mu­seum’s Barb Steeves, Di­nosaur Val­ley Her­itage So­ci­ety’s Mar­garet Spar­ling, David Daly, and coun­cil­lor Tom Zariski.

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