Published online at GlobalTVEdmonton.com on February 17, 2011.
Linda Hoang, Global News: Thursday, February 17, 2011
Keillor House a forgotten piece of Edmonton’s history
It’s a century-old stone and log cabin hidden away on the grounds of the Whitemud Equine Centre.
It’s called the Keillor House and it’s a forgotten piece of Edmonton’s history.
“It’s something that’s been here for almost 100 years now. It represents a very important component of Edmonton’s river valley and Edmonton’s structure,” said Gord Blinston, chair of the centre.
“It’s important that everyone in Edmonton knows about this place. It’s one of the few remaining original structures in the river valley, most of them now are gone.”
The house was built in 1918 by an early Edmonton doctor and WWI veteran, Capt. Fredrick Keillor in and is one of the few remaining log cabins in the city.
Logs making up the cabin’s stairway rails, on the walls and ceilings are some of the last load of logs that floated down the North Saskatchewan River from Tomahawk.
“It’s quite big part of our history,” said Sheila Edmonds an Equine Centre volunteer.
When Keillor wasn’t farming the lands, the respected doctor would visit his patients by horse and buggy.
“He was very hard working. He loved horses, he loved people, he loved the land, he loved the city,” Edmonds said. “He worked as an alderman but wouldn’t take a paycheck because he said it was an honour to serve.”
In 1925 Keillor moved his family into Edmonton, donating the farm as a recreation spot that became a popular place for people to go horseback riding, hiking, and picnicing. The old stone house was always the main attraction.
A beautiful stone fireplace located inside the cabin was built by Keillor himself.
“When you look at fireplaces, it’s nice to see a stone fireplace but to see one like this where everything is split and matched symetrically, it’s just gorgeous,” Edmonds said.
Above the fireplace Keillor had placed a heart-shaped stone, and during renovations, workers also discovered on the floor by the fireplace, a horse hoof-shaped stone.
“It’s almost a spiritual experience to be in here,” she said. “It’s very unique.”
Now the public is getting an opportunity to experience a part of the city’s history.
“For a limited time for a special rate we’re going to open this cabin so people can come for $125 and use it for four hours or all day for $200,” Edmonds said.
“You can have an event here… a wedding. We’ve had lots of weddings here, lots of pictures… there’s so much here.”
The money generated from the Keillor house, along with other fundraisers, is going to help pay for some much-needed renovations at the Whitemud Equine Centre.
The non-profit horseback riding facility is one of only a handful within city limits in cities across Canada, and it’s about to get a major makeover.
“We’re going to do something bigger and better for the city and it’s really wonderful to have the history and be able to build something better for the next five generations,” Edmonds said.
With files from Gord Steinke