The ancestral home of Alberta’s thirteenth Premier Edward Stelmach, and first of Ukrainian descent, is one step closer to opening at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village as part of the collection of historical buildings that help bring Alberta’s rich history to life.
A sod turning ceremony was held during annual Ukrainian Day celebrations in August to mark the importance of the Stelmach house’s permanent home. The house will now be relocated from the Ukrainian Village restoration compound to its permanent location on grounds near the Visitor Reception Centre.
Move and Restoration
Since its move to the Ukrainian Village restoration compound in 2012, the Stelmach House has been carefully stabilized and partially restored by heritage carpenters under the direction of the Conservation and Construction Services program.
Once the house is moved onto its permanent foundation, work will resume restoring the property so it can help illustrate the life of Ukrainian pioneer families in the region.
Great care is required to move the log structure finished with clay plaster and cedar siding. Steel beams will be placed under the building to evenly carry the weight and avoid shifting the log walls or cracking the clay plaster.
The home was built by Nykola and Theodora (Dora) Stelmach, grandparents of Ed Stelmach, premier of Alberta from 2006 to 2011. The Stelmachs came to Canada as a newly-married couple in 1898 from the Village of Zavydche, presently in Western Ukraine. After taking up land in the Krakow district of east central Alberta, the couple had the house constructed for them at the end of the First World War by craftsmen who also came from Zavydche.
The move and restoration of the Stelmach House to the Ukrainian Village was initiated by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Alberta Provincial Council, as part of its recognition of the 120th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada.
The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is closed for the season and apart from a one day public event on January 19 and school programs, will reopen in May 2015.