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You can help City Council protect Red Deer’s historic “Parsons House”

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  • The beautiful two story brick home has graced the downtown corner of 49 Street and 48 Avenue for 115  years.  It’s become well known as The Parsons House, named after Dr. Richard Parsons, the home’s third owner.  For the last number of years Parsons House has been home of the legal firm Lee Inglis Albrecht.  But the property and surrounding area have been purchased for construction of Red Deer’s new Justice Centre.  The Parsons House has been designated an historic resource but that in itself may not guarantee it’s future.   For long term viability, the home will likely have to be worked into the design for Red Deer’s new court house.

    The Parsons House, c. 1980. Red Deer Archives

    It’s no surprise this cause is important to Red Deer City Councilor and former city archivist Michael Dawe.  Dawe says there are many examples across Western Canada of historical structures being incorporated into the designs of new buildings.  Dawe offers this short history of the home.

    The Parsons House was built in 1903 on the south west corner of Mann (49) Street and Nanton (48) Avenue by Thomas Goard. He owned the Red Deer Music Company, one of the community’s very first music stores. His descendants still live in Central Alberta.
    In 1904, the house was purchased by Edward and Mary Michener. Edward was mayor of Red Deer and later M.L.A. He was also later the leader of the Conservative Party in Alberta. Edward and Mary’s son Roland became Governor General of Canada in 1967.
    In 1905, the Micheners started to build a large new house on the brow of the East Hill (now known as the Michener Hill subdivision). They sold the brick  house to Dr. Richard Parsons and his wife Ella. Dr. Parsons had moved to Red Deer in 1903 in anticipation of the opening of the Red Deer Memorial Hospital. He and Ella got married just before they purchased this new home.
    In 1912, Dr. Parsons decided to build a large annex on the southside of the house for his medical clinic. The annex not only included an office and examination rooms, but also a laboratory and one of Alberta’s first x-ray machines.
    Ella passed away in 1918 during the Spanish flu epidemic, leaving Richard as a single parent with four young children.

    Dr. Richard Parsons, with his four children Margo, Ella, Bill and MacGregor. 1919. The young person on the left is unidentified. Photo from the Parsons family.

    In 1920, he re-married, to Annie Forbes who had been a matron at the Red Deer Hospital.
    Dr.  Richard Parsons passed away in 1944. Annie continued to live in the house until her passing in 1983.

    The Parsons House, c. 1944. Photo courtesy of the Parsons family.

    For a few years, The house was used as the offices of the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre.
    It was later acquired by the legal firm of Lee and Short who renovated it into their firm’s offices.
    In 1990, the house was designated a Registered Historic Resource.
    In 2018, the house/law office was purchased by the Province as part of the assemblage of a new site for a new Red Deer Justice Centre (Court House).

    Parsons House, 1915 (in the foreground are soldiers of the 12th Canadian Mounted Rifles who were training prior to departure for service overseas in the First World War. Red Deer Archives

    Red Deer City Council has passed a proposed memorandum of agreement with the Province that will ensure the Parsons House is preserved when the new Justice Centre is built.  If you’d like to support this agreement to preserve this piece of Red Deer’s history,  consider sending an email to one of Red Deer’s two MLA’s and to the City saying you support the agreement with the Province.

    Email addresses:

    Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner – reddeer.north@assembly.ab.ca

    Red Deer South MLA Barb Miller – reddeer.south@assembly.ab.ca

    City Clerk’s office – legislativeservices@reddeer.ca

    Special appreciation to Michael Dawe for help with this post.

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    Community

    Debut Performance with RDSO

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  • The support of donors and sponsors ensures the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra can create and inspire the next generation of musicians. In particular, we provide professional level performance opportunities for emerging artists, such as Harbour Lehocky, to facilitate their development as musicians.’

    Harbour will be making her debut performance with the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra at the June 8th ‘Season Finale’ concert in recognition of being a 2018 winner of the Red Deer Festival of the Performing Arts.

    Harbour started violin at the age of six, almost 9 years ago, and continues to ask her parents why they didn’t get her started with lessons earlier! She is the concertmaster for the Rosedale Valley Strings Orchestra, conducted by Naomi Delafield, and a member of the Burman University Symphony Orchestra with whom she toured Western Canada in 2018 and California earlier this year. Harbour attended the Orford Musique Academy in Quebec in the summer of 2018, funded by the Lacombe Endowment Grant and will attend several international camps and competitions as well as perform a solo piece with a youth orchestra in Austria this summer.

    This busy young musician is also a provincial medals recipient in swimming, holds two provincial records in breaststroke, and is a 2016 Alberta Summer Games bronze medal recipient in triathlon.

    Join the audience (tickets remain available) and help the RDSO welcome Harbour Lehocky to the stage!

    https://www.rdso.ca/


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    Community

    Farmers (Public) Market Moves Back to Arena site… Opening Weekend!

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  • From the City of Red Deer

    Red Deer Public Market opens Saturday, May 18 at Servus Arena

    Red Deer Public Market opens this Saturday, May 18 at Servus Arena (D 4725 43 Street).The market was relocated to Red Deer Memorial Centre for three years due to construction at Servus Arena, and is returning to its original location for 2019. The market will operate weekly on Saturdays from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. through October 12.For more information, visit http://reddeermarket.com/ or contact Dennis Moffatt, Public Market owner, at 403-346-6443 or 403-350-5670 or dennismof@shaw.ca.

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