Out Of The Ashes

 

The old Waldorf Hotel on Mainstreet Leduc before the fire that razed it in 1940. 
 
During the late 1890’s Robert Telford had expanded his stopping place into a hotel and moved it to what would be considered Leduc’s Main Street. He also had his hand in a lumberyard, general store, real estate, and was involved in a number of projects to develop Leduc.
   He would sell Telford Place to an American by the name of Jerry Boyce and his partner Sam Gregory. Boyce was an ambitious man with a bit of  flare. Immediately he began to expand the hotel and changed its name to the Waldorf Hotel. Jerry Boyce was quite the character and tended to support, at the time, a number of questionable endeavors and people with character. He got involved with the development of horse racing and supported a Scotsman by the name of Bob Edwards of Calgary’s Eye-Opener fame.
Edwards was not a wealthy man and had wandered to Western Canada in 1894. For several months in 1896 Edwards was a guest at the Waldorf Hotel. While he lived in Leduc, Edwards would publish a weekly newssheet filled with articles of satire about the local folks. A year later he started the Wetaskiwin Free Lance newspaper and by 1902 he had founded the famous Eye-Opener.
In 1901 Boyce lost interest in the hotel and it was sold to Adam “Doc” Aicher and his family. Jerry Boyce moved back to the States and lived in Montana until his death in the early 1950’s.
Aicher would make a major enlargement of the hotel and added character to the establishment. His entire family got involved in the hotel. His wife, “Mother Aicher” ran the dinning room where excellent meals could be had for a grand total of 25-cents. His sons, Fred and Leo ran the saloon and hotel. The family would run the hotel for the next thirty years. 
“Doc” Aicher had migrated from Germany, by way of the US, and was sixty years old when he bought the Waldorf Hotel. He would often sit quietly behind the front desk, but occasionally he would say something profound that would end with his guests in gales of laughter. His wit along with his wife’s cooking became a major attraction for travelling salesmen and visitors. He could be gruff and hard on individuals who had trouble handling their liquor, but would not hesitate to help a farmer and his family in times of need. By the beginning of the 1920’s the Waldorf Hotel had an excellent reputation for its accomodations, food, and environment. Doc Aicher died in 1924 at the age of 83 and four years later Mother Aicher followed him. The boys continued to run the hotel for another three years then sold it in 1931. Fred moved to Edmonton and his brother to the USA.
By 1940 the Waldorf was owned by Bruce Reid and his partner Ralph Johnson. On Wednesday March 13th, 1940 Izzy Mablin was returning from a hockey game held in Fort Saskatchewan. It was about 1AM when he noticed smoke coming out of the hotel. By this time the hotel included a dry goods store and a barbershop, as well the pub and café.
Izzy called in the fire and the local fire department was on the scene in a matter of minutes. The first order was to evacuate the building and all of the hotel residents including Reid and his family. They were able to jump out the windows on the second floor into blankets held by the firemen and volunteers. 
The fire had grown and put a number of nearby stores in danger, however the Leduc firefighters, with the help of fire units from southern Edmonton were able to contain the flames to the Waldorf.
When dawn broke, Leduc found itself with only one hotel and since the Royal Bank had closed its doors, only one bank. Leduc’s future growth was looking pretty dim.
Bruce Reid was a determined man and was not going to allow this disaster to prevent him from contributing to the development of Leduc and making a living. He purchased the abandoned Royal Bank building and the Leduc Hotel. He used the material from the Royal Bank to expand the Leduc Hotel. It would be nine years before Reid was able to gather the capital needed to rebuild the Waldorf Hotel. 
On Jan 13, 1949, in the dead of winter, heavy equipment was brought in and began digging the basement of what would become the New Waldorf Hotel. Within an unbelievable six months the New Waldorf Hotel was completed and opened on July 1st, 1949. The new hotel included a barbershop, a beauty parlor, and even a 4-lane bowling alley as well as a café and pub. The hotel has served Leduc ever since. 
One of the quirks in life occurred when the Leduc Hotel blew up sixteen months later. Within four months after that event John Megley, who had bought the Leduc Hotel in 1949 from Bruce Reid, bought Reid’s interest in the New Waldorf and became its manager.
The Leduc Hotel was never rebuild but today Leduc and area can boost nearly a dozen hotels. However, the New Waldorf Hotel remains as the single link to when Robert Telford began Leduc’s reputation as a community built upon hospitality to newcomers and visitors.
More Stories:
  • Spirit of Giving Strong In Leduc On Friday, November 14, the Leduc & District Chamber of Commerce hosted its Annual ‘Spirit Of Giving’ Luncheon. Close to three hundred regional business people gathered to celebrate the Festive Season and to collectively ...
  • Falun East Beef 4-H Club Update On September 24, 2014, 15 members of the Falun East 4-H Beef Club met up for their first meeting of the year. 15 bright, and joyful members met up in hopes of having a great season with their steer and also their club. The ...
  • Wetaskiwin Youth Respect Veterans When I (Barry McDonald) met Lindsay Yargeau, representative of the youth of Wetaskiwin, at the Remembrance Day ceremonies and chatted with her about her views of Remembrance Day and what the event meant to youth in Wetaskiwin ...
  • Millet Remembers With 400 Strong The Honour Guard led the parade through Millet streets down to the Cenotaph, after a meaningful Remembrance Day Service which filled the Griffiths-Scott school gymnasium. Participants included the Wetaskiwin Air Cadets, RCMP ...
  • Stories Of Remembrance - Warburg The 2014 Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 205—Warburg Remembrance Day Service was held in the Community Hall with Legion President Ralph van Assen, Pastor Glen McBride, Pianist Caroline McDonald, Service Officer Frank Moar, ...
  • Telford House Christmas Craft Sale The Annual Telford House Christmas Craft Sale was held on Saturday and Sunday, November 15th and 16th. Telford House was filled with booths and displays of various artisans from Leduc and area. Quilting, woodcrafts, toques ...
  • 2 Accounts Of Leduc’s Remembrance Day Tom Dirsa It was just before 11am when Iain Weikl, President of the Leduc Canadian Legion Post #108, stood in front of the Cenotaph and invited the large standing crowd to participate in remembering those who served and are ...
  • Flags Of Remembrance In Sylvan Lake In Sylvan Lake, a thriving community south of Leduc, an event was created this year by Veteran Voices of Canada (VVC) and its founder Al Cameron, to honor Canadian veterans. The Flags of Remembrance was a proud display of ...
  • Edmonton Icon Gone Forever Since January 1958, the Edmonton Petroleum Club has been a shiny, chic element of the capital’s cultural fabric. An imposing structure, it sits on a large property near Kingsway Garden Mall, rich in tall spruce trees and ...
  • 7th Annual Christmas In Mulhurst Bay On December 6th and 7th, 2014 Mulhurst Bay will be holding the 7th year of ‘Christmas in Mulhurst Bay’. This event involves five homes on the Christmas tour and a Christmas craft sale. The craft sale is held at the Mulhurst ...
  • Wetaskiwin FCSS Women’s Conference The well attended 8th Annual City of Wetaskiwin Women’s Conference once again provided an interesting and informative day covering a number of areas that contribute to health and a sense of well-being. The seating at round ...
  • Wetaskiwin Firefighters Social Club Lit Up Main Street — Santa Claus Parade At 6:15 pm on Friday, November 14th, 2014, vehicles and people began converging on 50 Avenue (Main Street) in Wetaskiwin and spectators began lining the entire parade route stretching from 53rd Street to 47th Street. All ...
  • Canadian Tire’s Festival Of Trees Canadian Tire’s Festival of Trees was held at the Leduc Recreation Centre (LRC) on Saturday, November 15th and Sunday, November 16th. Over 30 trees were on display from various business and community organizations. Patrons ...
  • Calmar Remembers November 11 started off as cool and cloudy in Central Alberta. At 9:30 sharp the Town of Calmar’s Annual Service of Commemoration started outside the Legion Hall. A Color Party marched to the west side of the building where ...
  • Leduc Continues To Grow Signs of Leduc City’s growth can be seen no matter where in the city you live. Most of the time it is steady and barely visible, but for the past month or so, that has not been the case. In the southeast, where Rollyview ...
  • Albertan Inducted into 4-H Hall of Fame Charlie Gould of Rosalind has been inducted into the 4-H Alberta Hall of Fame in recognition of his service to 4-H and his community. Alberta’s 4-H program is the largest youth organization in the province, developing leadership ...
  • Santa's Anonymous Submitted by Alder Flats, Buck Lake, Winfield and surrounding areas Santa’s Anonymous Committee It is nearing the Christmas season and we are reminded that there are some families who do not have the resources to give their ...
  • Honouring Farming Excellence Every year in the fall, a large contingent of farming families, county and MD leaders and elected officials gather in Edmonton to honour the recipients of the Farm Family Awards of Northern Alberta. A similar event is held ...
  • Black Gold Student Leadership Symposium The Black Gold Regional School Division (BGRS) hosted a Leadership Symposium on Thursday, November 6, 2014. A total of 140 students, teachers and parents from Black Gold schools attended the BGRS Student Leadership Symposium ...
  • Show Your 4-H Colors In the context of Farm Fair International, November 5th was the much-anticipated Farm Family Awards at the Expo Centre, a special day to honour farm families of Northern Alberta. Several guests stood at the podium offering ...




 
  • Leduc Radio Ad
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia
  • Industrial Netmedia