The following is from the Journal-Pioneer newspaper on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012.
Equipment claws away at the former Stedman's building in O'Leary Tuesday. Reacting to safety concerns expressed about the structure, O'Leary Council issued an order in October for the building to be repaired of town down.
FORMER STEDMAN'S BUILDING IN O'LEARY DEMOLISHED
by Eric McCarthy/ Journal Pioneer
O'LEARY - Demolition equipment made quick work Tuesday of a vacant building in the heart of O'Leary's business core.
The former Stedman's department store building, which measured 80 feet by 80 feet and over 60 feet high at the peak, had most recently operated as a liquidation centre. It had gradually been stripped of its roof shingles and siding in recent months and was no longer in operation.
Its condition had prompted neighbouring businesses to raise safety concerns with the community council.
Council issued a letter to the property's owner on Oct. 22, ordering that the building be fixed or torn down within 30 days.
Equipment moved onto the lot Monday and went to work Tuesday. Loads of debris were trucked to the former O'Leary dump property for subsequent disposal. The Main Street property had been a scene of retail activity in O'Leary since early in the 1900s.
Florence Turner, a longtime O'Leary resident, said Bill Kennedy operated a store there as early as 1913 or 1914. It subsequently burned and Hal Jelley opened a large store there to sell furniture and other merchandise. When that burned,, Jelley built another store on the property and sold half of it to Denziel MacNeill in 1963.
MacNeill acquire the rest of the building the following year and operated a clothing and general merchandise store for many years.
It went through three more owners since then. A doctor's office occupied part of the property for about two decades. There was also a pharmacy in the building a few years ago.
O'Leary Community Council chairman Stanley MacDonald expressed optimism that the owner will see fit to develop commercial space on the prime piece of real estate.
Charlottetown developer and one of the owners of the building, Cliff McQuaid, said he has no plans for the property. He siad there were plans when they purchased it, and that was to relocate the O'Leary Liquor Store to the site, but those plans fell through.
Equipment claws away at the rear of the former Stedman’s building in O’Leary Tuesday. Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer