Res­i­dent look­ing for more info about his­toric build­ing

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBEN­BERG — mlieben­[email protected]

Swift Cur­rent busi­ness owner Lawrence Carr is hop­ing to learn more about a his­toric build­ing in the city and he wants to hear from any­one who might know some­thing about it.

“It's one of the old­est build­ings in Swift Cur­rent,” he said. “It was built in 1883 and so there are dif­fer­ent tales of it, but we're not sure they all are true or aren't true.”

He pur­chased the prop­erty at 435 North Rail­way Street East, at the cor­ner of 5th Av­enue NE, in May 2017 and he wants to pre­serve the build­ing.

He has an in­ter­est in old build­ings and he prefers them to be as orig­i­nal as pos­si­ble. He be­lieves it is im­por­tant to pre­serve built her­itage and he also owns the his­toric Royal Bank of Canada build­ing in the city's down­town area, which was built in 1913.

“I love her­itage,” he said. “To get rid of your her­itage is like tak­ing an eraser and eras­ing it, but you never get it back. You knock that down and you'll never get it back. It's part of who we are. I'm very pas­sion­ate about these build­ings.”

The struc­ture on North Rail­way Street East is con­sid­ered to be a good ex­am­ple of a field­stone build­ing from that time pe­riod. A pre­vi­ous owner ob­tained a de­mo­li­tion per­mit in 2012, but he did not go ahead with his plan to de­stroy it.

“I think it was so ex­pen­sive to rip it down, be­cause it's all field­stone, that it just got left for a while and then I got in­ter­ested in it,” Carr said.

His goal is to re­store the build­ing and then to lease out the space. The down­stairs can be used as an of­fice space and the up­stairs might be a liv­ing space.

“I want to make it look orig­i­nal when I'm done,” he said. “I've al­ready ripped all the in­side out. I've taken eight and a half tons of lathe and plas­ter and junk out of there. So I got it all ripped apart on the in­side and we started to level the floor a lit­tle bit.”

He feels the build­ing's con­di­tion is still pretty good, but the field­stone will re­quire a lot of re­point­ing and var­i­ous other de­tails will need at­ten­tion.

“All the sand is com­ing apart in all the joints and they've done it with some other stuff and it's not right,” he said. “So every stone will have to be re­pointed again. ... The old chim­ney still re­mains and pretty much all of it is in­tact for the most part. The most im­por­tant part is the out­side any­way. There's a bunch of stones miss­ing that have come out from around the win­dows that they didn't do right or they knocked a new win­dow in and then didn't do it right. So all that stuff has to be fixed up prop­erly.”

It will take a while to get all the work done, and he has no spe­cific sched­ule for com­plet­ing this restora­tion project.

“I'm just chip­ping away at it, do­ing what I can, be­cause it's go­ing to take money over a pe­riod of time,” he said. “It's go­ing to cost a lot, so I'll just have to chip away at it.”

In the mean­time he has been re­search­ing the build­ing's his­tory and he has al­ready gath­ered a file of in­for­ma­tion. One of the chal­lenges has been to dis­tin­guish be­tween folk­lore and fact.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal folk­lore the build­ing might have been used by both CP Rail and the North West Mounted Po­lice, but so far no records have been found to con­firm this. By 1911 a lo­cal mer­chant and busi­ness owner Dean Sawtelle owned the prop­erty, but it was sold after his death in 1918.

Carr has been able to con­firm that the build­ing was used by the RCMP after 1928, but the ex­act time pe­riod is not clear yet. An archival photo of the build­ing clearly shows the let­ters RCMP above the back door.

He also knows it be­came a room­ing house at some time, but the ex­act dates are not clear. He re­ceived in­for­ma­tion from a lo­cal res­i­dent that five fam­i­lies stayed in the house at the same time dur­ing the 1940s and 1950s, when there was one bath­room on the main floor with a toi­let in the base­ment.

He in­stalled a large sign on the build­ing's ex­te­rior that asks any­one with in­for­ma­tion to give him a call. There were a few re­sponses, but only one fol­low-up e-mail with in­for­ma­tion from a per­son who lived in the build­ing.

“It was pretty neat to get that,” he said.

He is hop­ing to re­ceive more in­for­ma­tion about the build­ing from any­one who lived there or who knows some­one who was a res­i­dent. Pho­to­graphs of the build­ing's ex­te­rior or in­te­rior are also wel­come.

“Any­thing or any pic­tures, it doesn't mat­ter from when,” he said. “All the way back and any in­for­ma­tion.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the prop­erty at 435 North Rail­way Street East can call Lawrence Carr at 306-7414494 or send an e-mail to lcarr.whiskey­[email protected]­tel.net

Pho­tos con­trib­uted

Above: A copy of an archival photo shows the let­ters RCMP above the back door.At lft: Lawrence Carr found this W.W. Cooper Store pam­phlet from the Sec­ond World War in­side the old build­ing.

Photo by Matthew Lieben­berg

Lawrence Carr looks at an old news­pa­per that he found at the chim­ney in­side the old build­ing.

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