News Local

Arlington reduced to rubble

By Lorne Stelmach

It seems it didn't want to give up without a bit of fight right until it came down for good.

It was almost somehow fitting that the south wall of the Arlington Hotel, which proclaimed the name of this historic building in downtown Morden, seemed reluctant to come down as the demolition crew went to work on taking down the landmark structure Tuesday.

It remained standing for a good part of the day but came down before evening, and the skyline of downtown Morden became dramatically different. Wednesday when the last of the standing structure was reduced to rubble.

Work is now underway on clearing the site, and despite the chill of the morning, many Mordenites were out to watch and take final photos.

Demolition became the last option remaining for owner Rudy Ens but not before he and others had fought hard to try to save the building, which was damaged in a heavy rainstorm earlier this fall.

After having gotten a reprieve from a demolition order, Ens had to give up his attempts to save the building because of financial reasons.

The estimates to just stabilize the building came in higher than what he would be able to manage at his own cost. And in the end, the Town of Morden then told him that they could not step in to help cover the estimated cost of over $862,000 just to stabilize the building.

Brief video shot by Tyler Schroeder:

Here is a repeat of the obituary letter to the editor submitted previously by Terry TItchkosky:


1898-2011: Requiem for a heavyweight - An obituary for the Arlington Hotel

Arlington Hotel:

Born July 21, 1898 to Mr. John Hugh Kennedy and the residents of Morden, Manitoba, Arlington spent his entire life in Morden, devoted to the belief that the area was on the verge of future greatness, and thereby providing the eastern comforts of home to rich and poor alike.

Arlington took up residence at the corner of Sixth and Stephen Street in the Town of Morden and remained there all his life.

In his early years, he was a towering soul and a formidable businessman, generating influence and prosperity to a new frontier.

He waited patiently for someone and longed for someone, such as him, to come along and help him recapture the pioneering spirit he once held so dear.

Alas, it was not to be. Compassion was not a part of the new culture.

Although there were methods to cure his debilitating condition, the cost of health care in the new age prevented the extension of his life.

On September 20, he suffered a stroke of misfortune due to age and neglect.

In the weeks that followed, he appeared to rally and was given life support, but due to the prohibitive health care costs, life support was removed.

He succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on October 24, 2011.

Arlington spent his last remaining years in relative isolation and obscurity, no longer recognized or valued by the residents for his pioneering work.

His contributions were long forgotten by the old and young alike, as he now resigned himself to the menial task of having photographs taken on his steps and becoming a novelty, instead of being taken as a serious contender to the once vibrant business scene he once embraced.

During his later years, no one was allowed to come in and visit him and his strength slowly ebbed from his body, as the elements and passage of time began to wear away at his large framed body.

Most of his possessions had been sold prior to his death, leaving him to survive in relative obscurity and poverty.

He is survived by only a few siblings - an older brother, Manitoba, who resides near him and is now called The Travelers. Some close friends, such as the Kenmors, the R.M. of Stanley, the S. Pickle household (Bevan and Sandra Wiebe), Albert E. Ferguson blacksmith (Posers), John Hobbs (Marathon Pizza), Van Burens livery stable (7th St. Collectables), D. Rabinovitch (Floral Scents), Heckel's Block (Morden Agencies, Dr. McConnell house (the townhouse), A.P. Brown (Photography by Basil), J.T. Acheson (Stephen Streetwear) all mourn his passing.

He was predeceased by one sister, The Queens Hotel, and close friend The Buhr Family Home as well as many long time residential and business structures, now absent in the town in which he grew up and remained all his life.

Viewing was being held with brick interment in the Arlington Cemetery to follow in November. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Town of Morden heritage health fund. Rudy Ens family in charge of arrangements.

Terry Titchkosky