First stage of demolition underway at former Hitch'n Post building

By Charles Lefebvre
September 11, 2018 - 4:23pm Updated: September 11, 2018 - 6:59pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB — The demolition process has started on the site of a historic hotel and building in downtown Medicine Hat.

A metal fence has officially surrounded the property at 210 South Railway Street on Tuesday, and crews are scheduled to take down the front canopy of the Hitch’n Post Saloon building.

“Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to be working with the neighbouring property owners to make sure everything is going to be fine in terms of working with the demolition,” says Stan Schwartzenberger, commissioner of development and infrastructure with the city. “There may be a little bit of disruption with some of the operations, so we’re working with them on preparations for that.”

The full building will be demolished from October 5-7.

A gas well on the site has been leaking methane at a low level for the past several years, though the risk to the public is low. The Orphan Well Association is working with the city on demolition and future management of the well on the site.

Council voted to demolish the building in February.

The site was first home to the American Hotel, which was built in the 1890s, and later was home to the Ming Tree Restaurant and the Hitch’n Post Saloon. The property has been empty for several years.

“The more people I talk to about this building, the more memories I learn about,” said Schwartzenberger. “There’s a lot of good times in that building, a lot of good memories created.”

Schwarztenberger adds the demolition will have a positive impact on downtown Medicine Hat.

“The fact of the matter is the building was old, it was in disrepair, it was becoming dangerous, and en eyesore,” he said. So, the removal of the building is seen as a very productive and positive move to enhance the viability and the marketability of the downtown.”

The Orphan Well Association will be installing an enhanced Soil Gas Management System to help manage the leaking well into the future.

Schwartzenberger adds there likely won’t be any more buildings built on the site due to the well, and says the future of the site will likely be a parking lot or another surface-level development.

Residents can watch the demolition when it happens in October, as long as they stay behind the barrier and obey all signage, says Schwartzenberger.

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