|Historical courthouse recognized|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Trevor Busch|
|Wednesday, 06 February 2013 18:23|
The Alberta government has designated the Taber Courthouse, one of Alberta’s early seats of justice, as a Provincial Historic Resource.
Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk visited the community last week for the ceremony and made the presentation of a small plaque for the building before representatives of the Town of Taber and the Arts Council of Taber.
“I look forward to the restoration, I think it’s going to be a wonderful project. It’s great to be here on behalf of Premier Alison Redford, and hang out here in Taber, and to join you on this very, very historic day marking Taber Courthouse as a provincial historic site. To me, it’s not only recognizing the historic valuation, but also honouring the rich history of this community and all those who have helped shape our fabulous Alberta.”
Built in 1918, the Taber Courthouse became the model for Alberta courthouses built prior to the Second World War. After being declared a judicial sub-district in 1917, the Town of Taber donated land for the construction of the courthouse building that would also house the local detachment of the newly-formed Alberta Provincial Police. The Taber Courthouse was also the site for meetings of local community organizations and the Taber Town Council. Following the dissolution of the judicial sub-district, the courthouse continued to be used for a variety of provincial government activities and in 1953 became the official Town Hall.
Mayor Ray Bryant expanded on some of the background of the building and its many uses over the decades.
“The thought of a courthouse happened in 1913, that there was an announcement that there was going to be a new courthouse built in the town of Taber. It was kind of a dream, because it didn’t happen until finally in 1918 a decision was made, a new courthouse, the town was fully prepared, the land was right here, and this building that we’re in today started in the spring of 1918, and this courthouse opened in November of 1918.”
The courthouse currently serves as home to the Centre Court for the Arts, a multi-use arts facility operated by the Arts Council of Taber that showcases the work of local and provincial artists. Bryant went on to note while the building had been used extensively throughout its history, the cumulative effects of neglect eventually began to show.
“Over those years, it was very well utilized, but unfortunately it was very neglected as well. Our intent is to bring this building back to a state that we can all be proud of. There’s no doubt this building was a focal point in our community for many, many decades, and we know that this building as well as the other two buildings that are adjoined, will be very well taken care of and will be utilized much more than they are now. In 1982, this building received Registered Historic Designation, which put some limitations on it. Just recently, council made a decision that we wanted to move it up to Provincial Historic Resource, and with that comes even more restrictions or guidelines, but there’s also the ability to apply for grants.”
Klimchuk commented on the need to preserve our past and keep our connections with history strong through the preservation and restoration of historic buildings across the province.
“Culture connects our past with our present, and the conservation of heritage is very important to me personally, and to our premier, in growing the strength and vibrancy of our communities into the future. We know by protecting these resources, we can tell our story even better, ensuring our children, and children of generations yet to come can come and hang out here,” said Klimchuk.
We’re so fortunate that our past consists of more than memories, our past is something we can indeed see, something we can touch and admire right here in Taber and communities across Alberta.”
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