100-year-old Eaton catalogue house revived
The Wadey Centre is open to the public year-round and supports the programs and functions of the organizations that operate from it, the Blackfalds and District Chamber of Commerce as well as the Blackfalds and District Historical Society.
It also acts as storage for the donated historical artifacts Blackfalds historian Judy Carleton has collected.
The Wadey house is an Eaton’s package house that was shipped to Blackfalds in 1916 and erected by George Wadey. George, and his wife Mary, lived in the home and worked and farmed in the community.
The restoration project, which finished in time for the Canada 150 celebrations July 1, 2017, was possible thanks to a $162,600 Federal Government of Canada grant, as well as the efforts of local historian Judy Carleton and the Town of Blackfalds. The grant covers about half of the project’s estimated $325,000 cost.
The Wadey House will also be used as a gathering space for community organizations and residents to use for celebrations of regional events.
Judy Carleton worked for 12 years to save the Wadey House.
The Wadey family history George Wadey came to Blackfalds from Illinois in 1911 and bought the Roy Trout farm on the south side of the then Village of Blackfalds. In 1916 he built the house that stands there today – a century later.
George married Mary Hedemark in 1917 and they had four children. The Wadeys struggled through their early years of farming and ran a rural mail route for eight years.
George passed away in 1942. Mary kept the farm with the help of her sons.
Mary joined many Blackfalds organizations and causes. She was a founding member of the Blackfalds Women’s Institute, called the W.I., which supported numerous causes locally and internationally such as supporting the troops during the war years, helping the poor in developing countries and local projects to better the lives of women. They held meetings that taught knitting, sewing, quilting, cheese making, cooking, gardening and decorating. They also supported the Red Cross, raised money for local playgrounds and held community picnics.
Carleton, wrote in Blackfalds history:
“One time Mary’s husband jokingly packed a suitcase for her and placed it on the back step with a note – ‘Wanted – a wife who will stay home.’” But this tactic only worked for a week.
Mary also helped start the Blackfalds 4-H Sewing Club and a girl’s club called the Blackfalds Busy Bees. Mary was a huge supporter of the United Church Ladies Aid in Blackfalds, which held turkey suppers, weddings, teas and fundraisers
Local teachers often boarded at the Wadey home since it was located across from the Blackfalds School.
Mary lived a long life and passed in 1992 at the age of 98.
The Wadey House is wheelchair accessible and has public washrooms. It is bordered by the scenic Denise Nielsen Memorial Park, which offers picnic areas and spaces for photos and family-friendly outdoor activities.