Cobblestone Manor in Cardston

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The earliest known picture of Cobblestone Manor

Known as Cobblestone Manor today, the historic building had a start many years ago when it was the home of Joseph Young. Young would build the home in 1889 and after he and his family, along with the house, survived the flood of 1908, would sell the home to John Bateman. Bateman in turn would sell it to Henry Hoet in 1913. With sand, gravel and cobblestone plentiful and at his disposal on the property, Hoet got to work converting the log home into a cobblestone house.
Living alone with Newfoundland dog, Hoet began laying down rocks along the exterior walls, secured with mortar, to change the entire look of the home. It is believed he was building his “Dream Palace” for the love of his life, who was back in Europe. Once the home was completed, he would send for her to come to the home he had promised her. Speaking little English, he worked hard and accumulated many scraps of exotic woods from all over the world. For more than 10 years he worked, cutting intricate and delicate patterns for the walls, ceilings and light figures. In the Stained Glass Room, Hoet bought hardwood from across the globe, and the ceiling tiles were made from scraps of rare wood from the Alberta Temple. For the Tiffany lights and bookshelves, he imported stained glass from Italy. The Golden Oak Room was the last room constructed, with Hoet building it between 1920 and 1929. The honeycomb design found on the ceiling required Hoet to use 61 pieces of oak per tile.
His work continued until he had a mental breakdown, possibly brought on by a letter from his fiancé, telling him she was not coming. He would end up in an institution in Ponoka, where he died.
The building would then be acquired by the Masonic Lodge on Oct. 5, 1929 in an auction administered by the Government of Alberta. Hundreds came out for the auction, with the Lodge winning the auction with a bid of $1,200. That bid would be worth $17,439 today. This was considered a steal since the fixtures and decorations inside were valued at $20,000 to $25,000, or $290,000 to $363,300 today. Using it as their clubhouse, it was known as one of the best clubhouses for a Masonic Lodge in Canada.
The Masonic Lodge would retain ownership until 1959 when it was sold to David Fraser. Lloyd Whittaker would take over, and then sell it to Bill Pitts.
In 1977, Ed and Arlene Flickinger bought it and turned it into a restaurant called Cobblestone Manor. In June of 1983, it was designated as a Historic Site. Today, it is owned by the Negrych family as a bed and breakfast and restaurant.
Suggestions for columns or questions? E-mail Craig at crwbaird@gmail.com. Listen to his podcast by searching for “Canadian History Ehx” on your podcast form. Find his show on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/CanadianHistoryEhx
Information for this column comes from Chief Mountain Country: A History of Cardston and District Volume II and The Cobblestone Manor (www.thecobblestonemanor.com)
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