The former Smoky River Express building on Main Street in Falher was demolished on August 14.
The building, next door to the present Smoky River Express office at 217 Main Street SW, became the property of the Town of Falher, when it was thought the house could be saved as a historical building. The newspaper was willing to turn the house over to the town in exchange for land from the town to have a newer building brought in to house its office.
In 2012, the Town of Falher agreed to a trade, giving the Smoky River Express an adjacent lot and the town assumed ownership of the old building.
Falher Council initially planned to keep the house as a heritage site.
However, while the structure, built by Adelard Giroux in 1914, is significant in terms of local history, it failed to meet the provincial historic regulations to receive provincial funds towards the restoration and maintenance of the building.
The house did not meet the official definition of a “heritage building,” due to numerous modifications to the original structure over the years, and considering the cost to ratepayers of bringing the old building up to code, Council decided to sell the structure and land.
The Town had the land and building for sale for a number of years, and in the spring of 2017, Council made a motion to offer the building to the M.D. of Smoky River but the M.D. declined the offer.
In the summer of 2017, a local individual asked for the building with the intention of moving it to a new location, and that September, Falher Council approved the request.
Ultimately, that person proved unable to have the building moved, so, having exhausted all options, in July 2018, Council made the decision to demolish the building.
Although Council made the decision in July of last year, it decided to wait until the Falher 100th anniversary celebrations were over, before demolishing the building.