An Edmonton antiques dealer is asking for his neighbours’ support in returning a century-old building to its original glory.
Alex Archbold’s most recent venture is a little burgundy shop at 10985 127 Street in Edmonton’s Westmount neighbourhood.
The 1913 building was one of many that went up in the beginning of the 20th century as the Edmonton Radial Railway extended the streetcar line north from Jasper Avenue along what is now 124Street.
Throughout a century, onlookers who peered into the shop’s four street-facing windows have seen a pool hall, barber shop, confectionary, grocery store and post office.
Twenty years ago, the shop was turned into a residence, Archbold says.
But today, he has transformed the building to look like a general store, complete with old advertisements, shelving and other display items. He wants to move his antique business, Curiosity Inc., into the building.
“We’re trying to put it back to its former history of being a commercial building, which it was for like 70, 80 years,” he told CTV News Edmonton.
“I wanted to be in a neighbourhood. I wanted to be part of a community. We’re a fairly low traffic store. We do a lot of business online so we don’t have hundreds of people through at a time.”
The issue is that several years ago the building was zoned for apartment building use—meaning its ideal purpose would to be torn down to make room, Archbold says in a plea to Facebook followers.
He will meet with the City of Edmonton Council in September to discuss adding the building to the city’s registry of historic buildings.
“Please add your message of support below in this post… Let’s keep history in Westmount!”
Archbold has the support of at least one heritage advocacy group.
“I’m hoping that he gets his rezoning approved and this building can live on here as it stands,” said Dawn Valentine, of the Heritage Forward Citizen Advocacy Group.
“Nobody here wants this little store torn down. It’s been standing here for more than 100 years, right here in our community and we hope to keep it.”
If all goes according to Archbold’s plan, he’ll open the new store location in October.
“If we get it designated then we would get a historic plaque, but I am going to put up some pictures around the building of what it looked like when it was in its former glory.”
With files from Amanda Anderson