The century-old building that housed Eckville’s first hospital has been donated to the Eckville and District Historical Society for the purpose of developing into a museum.
The donation of the house is conditional upon the society developing a museum or a heritage centre on the site.
“It would be somewhere to display our history and preserve it for future generations,” said treasurer and EDHS spokesperson Helen Posti. “The longer you live in a community, the more important its history becomes,” she added.
The project has also seen interest from former Eckville residents, said Posti.
The historical society applied to town council March 14 to have the house and property designated as a Municipal Historic Resource. The application was denied as council requested administration to prepare a report outlining the processes involved to designate a Municipal Historical Resource.
Once the municipal historic designation is obtained, the society will look at applying for a Provincial Historic designation. The society is of the view this rural hospital played a significant role in the provision of medical services for rural Albertans.
In the meantime, the society has taken charge of the property and will soon commence fund raising activities. All contributions will be held in trust pending the official launch of the museum.
To join the society or make a donation, contact Posti at 403-746-3245.
The building, built by Dr. P.L. Backus in 1921, was the home of Roy and Marg Saari from 1949 to 1999. With the current property owners hoping to develop the building into a museum, the matter was taken to council for approval.
Originally offering a shared space of residence and medical office, the building was purchased by the Medicine Valley Community Hospital Association in 1937 for use as a dedicated hospital.
Posti hopes for the building to also offer space for a tourist information booth in Eckville.