In Carroll’s absence, vandalism continues at Alma

From Bob Foster

Dear Mr.Premier,
For over 1 year supporters of the Alma College property have been asking,begging & pleading with culture minister Aileen Carroll to give provincial heritage designation to 96 Moore Street in St.Thomas,Ontario.The culture minister has not responded in any fashion to our requests.Alma College was lost to arson in May of last year,however 2 buildings still remain on the historic property,and were an important part of Alma College.It was reported yesterday that part of the historic front gate,known as “the Sifton Gate” has been stolen,leaving only 1 half of the gate.If the culture minister does not move soon to protect what remains,its only a matter of time before we lose whats left of the Alma College legacy.We ask you and Minister Carroll to give provincial heritage designation to 96 Moore Street,so we can restore the music building,the chapel and the outdoor amphi-theater.The theft of the Sifton gate is heartbreaking,and we now need to have government protection put in place to ensure nothing further is removed from this historic property.Will Minister Carroll do the right thing and honor this historic property with Provincial Heritage Desigantion? We await a response.

Robert F.Foster


4 thoughts on “In Carroll’s absence, vandalism continues at Alma

  1. Bob
    While a Provincial Heritage Designation would be certainly be desireable, it would not likely have saved this gate. This valuable piece of Almas legacy has been lying in the dirt beside the entrance for years. The owner knew, the Alma Advocacy Assoc. knew, the Elgin ACO knew, the Alumnae knew and the neighbours knew. It is a miracle that it was not stolen long ago. Why was it not protected ?

  2. Donna:While I realize the designation wouldn’t have prevented the gate from being stolen,I felt strongly the culture minister should know what is still taking place at 96 Moore Street.It’s a real shame the college had been neglected for the better part of 10 years,as the owner and our own government stood by and allowed the elements to slowly put the building in such a state of disrepair.I was lucky enough to see Alma on April 24th,2008 after an invitation from Dawn Doty,and it was a day I will never forget,which is the reason I write almost daily to the culture minister and the premier asking for provincial heritage designation.The main building is gone and we will never capture that kind of beauty again,however the chapel,the music building and the amphi-theater could be restored and incorporated into any future development.I’ve had quite a few responses from MPP’s encouraging me to keep up the fight for our built heritage,and my hope is Aileen Carroll will finally realize 96 Moore Street is worthy of heritage designation. As you are well aware 96 Moore Street is a very special place to so many people,and the thought of Alma’s legacy simply being plowed under is a thought that keeps me awake at night,trying to finds ways to convince the government to act and protect what remains.Sometimes it seems like a losing battle,but when I thumb through the Alma history book and see the faces of all those who worked so hard to build the legacy,it only makes me more determined to succeed,on their behalf.

    Bob Foster

  3. Bob
    Thank you for all your effort to protect what remains of the physical Alma. I hope you will be successful. Alma was my home for four years in the 60s and I have been involved in the Alumnae since the 80s. I now live in London and I visit often. The Alma legacy does live on in those of us who were so lucky as to have been embraced and influenced by her. Many of the friendships I made at Alma remain strong today as do the lessons learned.
    There is no excuse for the negligence suffered by the building for so many years, the sight of that slow demise was painful.
    It would be wonderful to have that designation so Alma will be ‘on the map’ forever. Thank you again for trying.
    Donna Robertson, Acting Alma Alumnae President

  4. I will continue e-mailing the culture minister and the premier,because Alma College contributed to this province for many,many years and deserves to be recognized.Even though I was never fortunate enough to get inside the college,I’ve heard so many stories from people who were lucky enough to have walked the halls,and I come away with the feeling it was a magical place, a place that comes along once in a persons lifetime.The hurt in watching the college burn in May 2008 was a feeling unlike any other and I’m sure it was even worse for those of you who were a part of her history,so each time I write about the college,I have each of you in my thoughts and I hope we can all one day stand at the front gate and celebrate the province designating 96 Moore Street with provincial heritage designation.It needs to be done,its the right thing to do,and if I can help in any way to bring it about,it would be an honor for me.

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