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History Lesson - The Strathcona Hotel
Tuesday September 30 , 2014
The 45-roomed hotel is one of the last remaining 19th century wood framed hotels in Alberta. It was built in 1891 by the Calgary and Edmonton Railway Company to accommodate immigrants stopping over after utilizing their railway route into the Northwest. Initially named the Edmonton Hotel, its name was changed in 1899. Covering two city blocks the three-storey hotel had extensions added to it over time. In 1903, a two-storey annex was constructed and then a three-storey added to the north side in 1907. Between 1891 and 1904 Strathcona Hotel was the largest in the region.
A change of use came when the 1916 prohibition curtailed the west annex tavern's business and the hotel struggled to continue profitably. The building was used by the Presbyterian Church to house the Westminster Ladies College from 1918 to 1924, then later the Westminster Residence for Girls. During this period through foreclosure the building was acquired by the Presbyterian Church. In 1923 after the repeal of Prohibition the hotel became profitable again and was subsequently sold to private investors in 1928.
Today the building is still used as a hotel and bar, a venue for clients seeking cheaper accommodation for festivals and ghost hunters. It is said the ghost of a prostitute haunts the rooms, where she met an untimely death at the hands of man who refused to pay. Her long dark haired apparition dripping with blood wanders the rooms.
The Strathcona Hotel is a significant historical location and is recognised under the Statue Historical Resources Act (Provincial Historic Resource Type).
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