Michener House Museum and Archives
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Michener House is a modest, two-storey wood-frame house located at 5036 - 51st (Alberta) Street in Lacombe, between 50th and 51st Avenues. The original building was constructed facing 51st Street in 1894. A two storey L-shaped addition was constructed onto the south-west facade in 1918. A porch was added sometimes between 1918 and 1940. The building is situated on a single urban lot. The house is the only element of the property with heritage value. The house rests on a modern concrete foundation poured in 1984 that is non-contributing. A small one-storey addition was added in 1984 to accommodate the new staircases, which are also non-contributing. The back staircases and landing are also not contributing.
The Michener House is an example of early Lacombe residential architecture and is the oldest remaining documented building in Lacombe today.
The Michener House is valued as the first manse constructed for the first church built in Lacombe. The building was constructed by Reverend E.J. Chegwin (Minister of Grace Methodist Church from 1893-1899) with the assistance from several members in the community including E.E. Matthias, George Jamieson, Percy Switzer, Peter Talbot, Dan Gourlay, M.J. Mcleod, and W.F. Puffer. The house was constructed on the lot immediately north of Grace Methodist Church (built in 1893 - demolished in 1984) and served as a manse until 1922 . In addition to being the home of the Ministers of Grace Methodist Church and their families, the house was the location of several weddings services for young couples who may not have been able to afford a church wedding at the time. Today, it is the oldest remaining manse and structure in Lacombe.
The Michener House is valued as the catalysts for the creation of the Maski-pitoon Historical Society and the first conservation effort in Lacombe. The society was formed in 1971 to acquire the birthplace of Rt. Hon. Roland Michener, which was accomplished in October of 1972. Rt. Hon. Roland Michener was Governor General of Canada from 1967 until 1974. His father, Edward Michener, was the second Reverend at Grace Methodist Church from 1899-1900. With the assistance of the Alberta government, work was completed to restore the house from 1981 until 1984 at which time it opened as a Museum to the public and became known as the Michener House Museum.
The heritage value of the Michener House resides in the following character-defining elements:
Those elements that speak to the house's status as the first manse constructed for the first church in Lacombe, such as:
* The building's orientation on its original site;
* The simple form and massing; and
* Those elements constructed by Rev. Chegwin or installed up until 1922.
Those elements associated with the Maski-pitoon Historical Society's efforts to conserve the residence, such as:
* Those elements that separated the 1894 home from the 1918 addition; and
* Shape of the red-brick chimney.
Those elements that exemplify the early Lacombe residential architecture:
* Wood siding (painted white);
* Wood shingles on roof;
* Form, scale and massing;
* Fenestration; and
* Door and transom window.