City of Calgary sells 1950s Eamon's service station at fire sale price of $10

A recently released document reveals the City of Calgary got just $10 for Eamon's 1950s gas station after spending $250,000 trying to save it.

Multi-year saga at city hall ends with High River group buying service station for just $10

The city sold the iconic 1950s Eamon's gas station for $10. (City of Calgary)

After spending more than $250,000 to save a 1950s era gas station, the city gave up and sold it last year.

Turns out Eamon's gas station was sold for just $10 to a car enthusiasts group in High River.

At the time the sale was announced, the price was not disclosed.

However, a recently released city document indicates Eamon's went for a ten-spot.

It's the final chapter in a long-running saga at city hall.

Park and ride lot meant Eamon's couldn't stay

The city bought the Art Moderne-style landmark to make way for the park and ride lot for the Tuscany C-Train station in 2012.

The Eamon's sign was restored at the site, but the gas station was moved and put into storage.

The city hoped it could restore the building and return it to the lot, not far from its original site.

It had advertised for a tenant who might run a business like a coffee shop or diner in the building.

However, there were no takers and the city was paying $1,000 a month to keep it in storage.

Finally last year, the city decided to sell Eamon's.

Eamon's 'not worth anything'

Councillor Ward Sutherland, who long advocated the city should cut its losses and sell the building, says $10 was best price the city could get.

"The building's not worth anything," said Sutherland. "It wasn't a good decision from beginning to end, but I didn't let it bleed and we're moving on."

As for accepting the bargain-basement price, the Ward 2 councillor said it would have cost the city even more money if it had just hauled Eamon's to the dump.

He said he's glad the River City Classics group is going to put Eamon's to good use.

"There's still value to it to those people and they're using it now. I've got to look at it that way. We got to cut our losses and move on."

The High River group intends to restore Eamon's and use the building as its clubhouse.

CTF calls $10 a laughable return

The Canadian Taxpayers Association agrees it's good the heritage building will survive. But Paige McPherson pans the way the city handled Eamon's.

"They ended up with a laughable return on investment at the end of the day," said McPherson.

The group feels taxpayers should not be happy about the deal or the way the city handled the issue.

"Obviously, city council here wasn't putting respect for tax dollars at the top of its decision making. They stretched out the decision," said McPherson.

"The expensive strategy of 'if they build it, they will come' obviously did not pan out for Calgary's city government."

Councillor Druh Farrell fought to save Eamon's as a rare remaining example of that type of 1950s architecture.

"I'm disappointed it couldn't have been restored on site. It would have been an interesting amenity for the northwest, which has almost no heritage designated buildings," said Farrell.

In its heyday in the 1950s, Eamon's Bungalow Camp featured cabins, a restaurant and a gas and service station for people driving the old highway between Calgary and Banff.

The building was briefly featured in a music video for "I Am By Your Side," a hit for Canadian singer Corey Hart in the 1980s. 

The original sign from the mid-century Eamon's Bungalow Camp and gas station was saved and installed at one of the park-and-ride lots at the new Tuscany LRT station in northwest Calgary. (City of Calgary )