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J.J. Gaetz House

Red Deer

Other Names:
Willow Villa

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The J.J. Gaetz House is a two and one-half storey brick veneer, wood frame Edwardian style house built circa 1914. Situated on a large property directly east of the Red Deer Cemetery and adjacent to the Michener Centre, it is located on the escarpment overlooking the city of Red Deer.

Heritage Value
Heritage Value: The J.J. Gaetz House is significant as the home of John Jost (Jack) Gaetz (1859-1937), an early homesteader and extended member of Red Deer’s founding family. Jack Gaetz became a leader in community affairs, serving as Red Deer’s MLA from 1918 to 1921 and later as a member of the University of Alberta Senate. The community values the J.J. Gaetz House for its association with Jack Gaetz who, in 1893, donated a portion of his homestead for the Methodist Cemetery which later became the Red Deer Cemetery. The J.J. Gaetz House is also valued for its association with the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, land preserved due to Jack Gaetz’s commitment to the natural environment and declared a bird sanctuary by a 1924 Dominion Order-in-Council.

In 1973 the house was acquired by the Province of Alberta for use as part of the Michener Centre, a provincial institution for persons with mental disabilities.

Aesthetic Value: The J.J. Gaetz House, built circa 1914, exemplifies Edwardian Free-style design applied to a local farmhouse. It is one of the few remaining original Red Deer area farmhouses now within the city limits.

Character-Defining Elements
-Form and massing including: high pitched gable roof, two shed dormers, wood clad gable ends, and rectangular bay window projections;
-Edwardian Free-style features including: wrap around verandah, patterns of window and door openings, decorative brackets, and dentilated cornices on gable roof ends;
-Original location east of the Red Deer Cemetery and above the Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary


Street Address: 3505 - 55 Street
Community: Red Deer
Boundaries: Lot 3, Block 1, Plan 7921758
Contributing Resources: Building: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
3 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
52.274443 -113.780656 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1984/04/30

Historical Information

Built: 1914 To 1914
Period of Significance: N/A
Theme(s): Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s):

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0035
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link:
Data Source: Mingling Memories. Red Deer East Historical Society, 1979.
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