July 12th, 2024

Wedding has family ties to historic Norland estate

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on June 21, 2022.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Jordan Hickmott and Jessie Niles pose for a wedding photographer on a balcony after the couple got married on Saturday on the Norland Estate. Niles' great great grandfather Charles Roland Daniel built the property in 1909.

The Norland Historic Estate hosted a wedding on Saturday that had a little extra significance to it.
The southern Colonial house reflected Charles Roland Daniel and wife Maurine, and the estate was ordered from a lumberman’s catalogue and began assembly in 1909 before acting as an integral part of a large farming operation which stood on a vast 2,000-acre area of treeless prairie landscape.
Then with the expansion of irrigation, trees and crops were able to flourish and resulted in the hidden gem that surrounds the estate.
The bride, Jessie Niles, is the great great granddaughter of Daniel, who erected the estate on the property 111 years ago. She married Jordon Hickmott at Norland on Saturday.
Her grandmother, Sheila, was a granddaughter of Charles and Maurine.
“Absolutely,” said Niles, on picking the estate for the wedding venue. “It was the perfect wedding venue, it’s stunning, it’s got that family tie and I’m so happy that Jordan’s family could travel and see it as well.”
She spoke about what she remembered from her time coming to the estate to visit her grandparents, William and Sheila Niles, who got married at the Norland in 1951.
“We’ve got a long family history here,” said Niles. “This is the place where my grandma grew up and Lethbridge is where she met my grandfather (William Niles) and then they got married here at the Norland. So, it’s really special to be able to continue the tradition here and celebrate Jordan and I here today. Even though it’s not in the family anymore, it means a lot to us.”
Jessie’s grandmother’s side of the family moved from Seattle to the prairies of Alberta.
“I think it was a very big move and big change, but they really built a homestead here and built a life and families here together,” said Jessie.
“So I think it was really special.”
She has had a chance to visit the estate over the years and saw where her grandfather grew up at in the ice cream shop his family had owned in the city.
“So I have vivid memories of visiting the ice cream shop when we came down to visit Lethbridge,” the Turner Valley native said.
Another memory she has was when the family brought William down to the estate just months before he passed away a few years ago.
“We had a chance to sit on the porch and he had a chance to share many memories and stories of his time at Norland spent with my grandmother. So that chance to get some special final moments with him here at the Norland is something I will always remember.”
Daniel is Jessie’s great great grandfather. Her father, Chris Niles, described him as a “humourless and stern man as far as the stories go.”
“He was actually alive when I was first born,” said Niles. “He and a group of investors came up from the United States just at the turn of the century and built this home. It was shipped to border on rail and that really set into motion four generations in effect of living and working together.”
He remembers the stories of his mom going out in the winter time with his grandmother Ginny Talbot – who had relations in common with Daniel – to go to the cattle barn to get fuel from a tank that stuck open and didn’t turn off.
“They had a kerosene lantern that exploded and lit the barn on fire,” he recalled. “Those were some of the early memories that were hard on farms and of course the farm had to survive through the Depression and through two World Wars. And of course there was no labour here at the time. But prisoners of war were sent to work on the farm and so it’s quite a mixed history but I think it’s a history that was common to most southern Alberta farms.”
He also remembered the stories of his great uncle Bruce, who came back from the Second World War, and lost a leg.
“And of all the crazy things, he got the room at the top of the house and the story is there’s a ghost,” he said.
For Hickmott, it was a special day to celebrate the wedding on the grounds of the Niles’ family’s historical significance.
“It’s really special to me to be able share this with her family,” he said. “I know that her dad and her aunts and her uncles and all the kids from her grandma are here. It’s really special for her to be able to carry on a tradition and to be a part of it. Yeah, it’s a beautiful venue and it’s pretty cool that we get to stay and get married where her grandma grew up.”
Current owners Dale Lehr and Marci Stickel bought the Norland from Al and Karen Fritz in 2017 and since have had the opportunity to meet some descendants of the Daniels from as far away as New York.
“We have been so honoured to have the privilege of hosting members of the Daniel family at the Norland,” said Stickel.
“We truly feel it is ‘their home’ and that we are simply the stewards of this amazing home and property.”
The current owners added the ballroom to make it a year-round wedding venue.

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