Drumheller’s ar­chi­tec­tural his­tory recorded in blog

The Drumheller Mail - - AROUND TOWN - Mailphoto by Kyle Smylie Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail

In a piece for the CBC’s fea­ture se­ries Cal­gary at a Cross­roads pub­lished this week, au­thor Aritha Van Herk com­pared the iden­tity of her city to the char­ac­ter of some of the world’s best known and, of­ten, overblown me­trop­o­lises. She wrote, “Lon­don re­sides in its stately im­pe­ri­al­ism, New York swag­gers on size. We’re nei­ther, not nearly as staged or as ven­er­a­ble. his­to­rian Michael Gaschnitz, who pub­lished a pam­phlet for the Drumheller Main Street Pro­gram de­tail­ing the his­to­ries be­hind Drumheller’s old­est build­ings.

“When I was a young kid I re­mem­ber my dad and grandpa giv­ing me a copy of this coil bound book to read with the his­tory of all the build­ings in town,” says Cen­tury 21’s Bob Sheddy. “Twenty-five years later I went search­ing for that book, and while read­ing it, I thought that it was some­thing that de­served to be up­dated and put on­line.”

The blog uses Gaschnitz’s ini­tial ground­work, fo­cus­ing posts on in­di­vid­ual build­ings in Drumheller and re­lay­ing lo­cal sto­ries and his­tor­i­cal fact to put to­gether a nar­ra­tive for each build­ing as its func­tion and ar­chi­tec­ture changed over the years. Dam­aged by fire, the chang­ing eco­nomics of the val­ley, evolv­ing tastes and needs, shape the lo­cal story as it de­vel­ops through the years.

Take the cur­rent Juras­sic Ink build­ing on 3rd Av­enue West. The build­ing was built in 1925 by a lo­cal miner of 35 years who built it as a gro­cery store with his own money. Dur­ing the miner’s strike he rented it out and it be­came a mil­i­tary shop, and later a Simp­son Sears or­der of­fice. Later it be­came a dress mak­ing shop, a hot tub rental store, and a beer and wine sup­ply shop, and then re­cently an in­sur­ance of­fice, and to­day, a tat­too shop.

But the record is in­com­plete. Gaschnitz did not de­tail ev­ery build­ing down­town, and the blog­gers are look­ing for as­sis­tance from lo­cals who know the ins and outs of lo­cal his­tory to help fin­ish the list be­fore the ar­chi­tec­tural record is al­tered or gone for good.

“Drumheller has a rich his­tory and we want to help pre­serve it,” said Cen­tury 21’s Cas­san­dra Hous­ton. “If you have any in­for­ma­tion or old pho­tos to share please email them to power.re­alty@cen­tury21.ca or call Bob Sheddy at 403-823-2222.”

“It is easy for me to up­date the ex­ist­ing build­ings that weren’t tracked,” said Sheddy.

“When I was a young kid I re­mem­ber my dad and grandpa giv­ing me a copy of this coil bound book to read with the his­tory of all the build­ings in town. Twenty-five years later I went search­ing for that book, and while read­ing it, I thought that it was some­thing that de­served to be up­dated and put on­line.”

A blog called “Sto­ries Be­hind Down­town Drumheller’s Build­ings” is ask­ing res­i­dents to share the un­told and un­recorded his­to­ries of Drumheller’s old­est build­ings. Not doc­u­mented in the list, among many, is the sto­ried Waldorf build­ing.

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