Friday, 10 March 2017 05:52

Wallace Stegner House celebrates a century

Written by  Dominique Liboiron —Southern Alberta Newspapers
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Megan Nash of Palmer, Sask., performed at Eastend’s Memorial Hall during the 100th anniversary of the Wallace Stegner House held Mar. 4. The singer and songwriter performed a selection of her material along with popular favourites. Megan Nash of Palmer, Sask., performed at Eastend’s Memorial Hall during the 100th anniversary of the Wallace Stegner House held Mar. 4. The singer and songwriter performed a selection of her material along with popular favourites. Dominique Liboiron

A crowd filled Eastend’s Memorial Hall to capacity March 4 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wallace Stegner House.


Close to 200 people, many of them stylishly dressed in the fashions of 100 years ago, partook in the evening of song, magic and good food.
The celebration not only marked the Stegner House’s first century, it was also the 30th annual fundraiser for the heritage property that serves as an artists’ retreat.
Anne Davis is a member of the Eastend Arts Council, which is the organization that owns and operates the Stegner House.
“It was a great evening,” Davis shared. The level of support from Eastend and the surrounding communities touched Davis. She added in terms of attendance this was one of the more successful annual fundraisers.
Magician and comedian Trevor Moore of Medicine Hat, was the master of ceremonies.
His smooth comedy and deft magic tricks that involved the audience kept the crowd entertained. 
Singer and songwriter Megan Nash of Palmer, Sask. played two sets. Her repertoire included songs she composed as well as covers of rock and country, which are two of the musical genres she listened to growing up. The 27-year-old performer played a cover of Patsy Cline’s Walkin’ After Midnight that caused the audience to break into an impromptu sing-along.
Like Nash, the Stayin’ Alive Choir was dressed in period clothes such as long floral dresses and cloche hats for the women and coveralls with newsboy hats for the men. The Shaunavon ensemble sang a few high energy songs from the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? to conclude the soirée.
Born in 1909, Wallace Stegner was an acclaimed American author who lived in Eastend as a boy from 1914 to 1921. Stegner’s father designed and built the family’s home in 1917. It’s described in two books Stegner wrote; one called The Big Rock Candy Mountain and the other named Wolf Willow.
The house backs onto the Frenchman River and is located at 126 Tamarack Avenue North, for those who wish to see it. Since being restored in 1990, it has hosted dozens of artists in residence, many of them writers, but also photographers, dancers and painters.
The current artist in residence is Ottawa sculptor Kathy Bergquist whose work is primarily abstract, but reflects the world around her.
To the best of Davis’ memory, at least half a dozen former artists in residence purchased a home in Eastend after staying at the Stegner House, not an insignificant amount in a town of 500 people.
Mary Thomson provided a history of the house and gave a reading of Stegner’s work.
In terms of fundraising, the wide selection of silent auction items included woollen garments, fine liquors, and a variety of artwork, much of it by local artists, such as pottery, stained glass, paintings and books.
Eastend’s Darlene McIntyre won the 50/50 draw valued at $277.
The annual event is known for its desserts and there were enough to cover two tables. This reporter felt obliged to taste at least some of the mouth-watering treats before writing about them — they deliciously lived up to their reputation.

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