This week, I learned that the building Dad’s store was in has a name, and is quite old. A lot older than I ever imagined. Built in 1912, it’s called the Stovel Block, and has a longer history than you might think for such a plain looking brick building.
A bit of family history. When us kids were growing up, Dad ran a little corner store with his uncle in downtown Edmonton. One half of the store was a breakfast/lunch counter, and the other side of the store was a grocery type store with canned goods, candy, magazines, a small meat/deli counter, that kind of thing. The back room had a small kitchen where food for the diner side was prepared and a small table we would sit at when we weren’t roaming the store or “helping” at the counter.
A lot of weekends, we’d ride the bus downtown with Mom to go to the store. It was always a neat place with people coming and going, and the stools at the diner counter were fun to sit and spin around on. I’d help out behind the counter on the grocery side getting things off the shelves that customers asked for.
Dad’s uncle retired from the store, and Dad closed down the diner side and turned it into more grocery space. In the early 80s, Dad finally closed the store down. The area had changed quite a bit, developing more of a lower class atmosphere, and there just wasn’t a lot of business anymore. After the store closed, the space was filled with a succession of pawn and loan stores that just added to the less-than-reputable feel the area had developed.
It’s nice to hear that the building has a history and may get a historical designation. Looking forward to see what it looks like after the renovation.