Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer

Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer

History Column: The August Gross Home

The August Gross home and Wetaskiwin history.

There was a time when Wetaskiwin was only known as Siding 16 but when the Calgary and Edmonton Railway came through in 1891, a station was built and before long the community of Wetaskiwin was growing.

By the turn of the century, the community was thriving and a lumber company was operating under the guidance of H.E. Rosenroll by 1898. In 1902, John Peter Gross came along and bought one-third of the company and changed the name to Gross Lumber Company.

Gross had been born in France and moved to the United States when he was a child. By the age of 15, he was blacksmithing and by 1898 he was prospecting in western Canada and decided that he wanted to start farming. He brought his family to the area and purchased a farm south of Wetaskiwin. After he bought the lumber business, he let his sons August and Frank run the farm until he bought out the business and brought his son August in as the manager of the company. John Peter would serve on the village and town council at this time as well.

In 1912, Wetaskiwin became a city and the growth of Gross Lumber Company was seen as a symbol of the success of the community. By this point, August was directing most of the company and he was heavily involved in the community as well. He served on town council from 1908 to 1909 and then on the city council from 1918 to 1919. In addition to his time on council, he also served with the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Parish, the Board of Trade, the Hospital Board and the Kiwanis Club.

It was during all this that August Gross began to construct a large wood frame house for his family at 4408-51 Street. With 12 rooms, it was a perfect home for the leading businessman of Wetaskiwin at the time. Gross would live in the home for just over a decade until 1920 when he moved to Puyallup, Washington.

In 1963, Gross returned to the community to be honoured for his many civic achievements at the age of 88.

Listen to my podcast Canadian History Ehx on all podcast platforms or at

— Craig Baird

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP execute search warrant; illegal drugs seized

Two Wetaskiwin residents have been charged with possession and trafficking of Methamphetamine.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

Alberta premier Jason Kenney, right and Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, provide details about Bill 13, the Alberta Senate Election Act., in Edmonton Alta, on Wednesday June 26, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Minister Doug Schweitzer talks on Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit

Provincial government rolling out new benefit this April to better help small businesses.

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

By 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, 4,500 seniors had booked their appointments

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Mike Ammeter (Photo by Rebecca Hadfield)
Sylvan Lake man elected chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association

Mike Ammeter is a local farmer located near the Town of Sylvan Lake

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

Most Read