Leduc can trace its earliest roots to individuals looking for a new start, and as a place that opened its arms and welcomed people from all over the world. At first, it was a refuge for early homesteaders seeking an opportunity to establish a farm and a safe environment for their children. For over fifty years, people came from all over the planet and found that Leduc could be that place. Fact is, they still do.
In 1929, while most of the world was plunging into a major depression, Russia’s Stalin was introducing his first five year plan to farmers. The plan had been introduced in 1928, but the creation of the collective farming system did not go into effect until the following year. Edward Volke and his family saw trouble coming, and made plans to immigrate to Canada. By the middle of 1929, they were stepping off an ocean liner in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and boarding a train for Leduc. But, before that could happen, the family had to go through Canadian immigration, and, as was often the case, something became lost in translation and the Volkes became the Wolfes.
Upon arrival in Leduc, now Edward Wolfe, was hired to run a Feed Mill in August of 1929. After four years Edward partnered with a young Herman Waskel and opened up a butcher shop called the Central Meat Market across the street from the old Waldorf Hotel. They then invited recently married Reinhold Arndt to apprentice as a butcher. The store quickly got an excellent reputation specializing in smoked and cured meats. The Central Meat Market became an asset drawing people from far and wide for its fresh sausage, fresh beef, pork, fish, and fowl. It would not be long before a second butcher shop would open across the street by Herb Reed to help meet the increase demand.
Herman Waskel eventually sold his interest in the shop and moved to White Rock, British Columbia, where he died in 1972 at the age of sixty. Meanwhile Reinhold and Edward would maintain the shop for nearly 30 years. Edward and his wife Augusta would have seven children, six of them girls, and a son Norman. Wolfe’s brother and two of his sisters remained in Russia, but another sister moved to Germany prior to the start of World War II.
Edward Wolfe was another of a long line of community spirited individuals that felt they had to give back something to the community that had provided them with an opportunity to prosper, and upon his death in 1966 at the age of 73, Edward seceded land to Leduc to be used as a park. At the time that Wolfe seceded the land, Leduc was unable to use it for a park, but he was not forgotten and when the appropriate time came, land was set-aside in Willow Park along 57th Avenue for a child friendly tot lot, and named the Edward Wolfe Park.
The last surviving member of the original Central Meat Market staff was Reinhold Arndt who remained in the community for the rest of his life, and died in 2005 at the age of 97.