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Hull Block

Medicine Hat

Other Names:
Gaslight Plaza

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Hull Block is a large three-storey red pressed brick commercial block that occupies five lots in the downtown core. It has commercial storefront space at the street level with two floors of office space above. The facades are characterized by seven structural bays with symmetrical fenestrations separated by brick pilasters. A substantial pressed tin roof cornice projects outwards from the face of the building above which a solid brick parapet extends the building's overall verticality.

Heritage Value
The Hull Block is valued as Medicine Hat's only large-scale purpose-built commercial building in the downtown core. The Hull Block's impressive scale charted in a new larger building model for Medicine Hat and reflected the city's significant growth and the economic optimism of the period from the early 1900s to early 1910s. It originally contained nine commercial units on the ground floor and 36 offices spread over the second and third floors. The commanding scale and detailing of Hull Block attracted a variety of businesses when it first opened including the Dominion Bank, two music stores, a jeweler, a drugstore, and millinery.

The Hull Block is further significant for its long-term association as the Eaton's department store, the city's first large-scale department store.

It is also valued for its connection with Alberta rancher, meat packer, businessman, real estate developer, and philanthropist William Charles James Roper Hull, who constructed a number of buildings throughout Alberta.

It is also significant as a robust representation of a Classical Revival style Edwardian era commercial building constructed using locally sourced materials and is additionally valued as an iconic landmark in Medicine Hat's historic commercial core. Its scale, siting, and design make it a highly identifiable building.

Character-Defining Elements
The key elements that define the heritage character of the Hull Block include, but are not limited to its:

- location on the southwest corner of 6th Avenue SE and 3rd Street SE in Medicine Hat's historic core;

- positioning at the property line with no setback from the street, straddling five lots with an alley at the rear of property;

- form, scale, and massing as expressed by its: three-storey height with full-height basement; two public facades on 6th Avenue and 3rd Street as well as the facade along the lane way to the south; L-shaped plan with flat roof;

- masonry construction including: board formed concrete foundation; common bond red pressed brick with grey mortar; street facades faced with higher quality red pressed brick in commonbond with grey mortar; concrete banding at window sills and lintels;

- Edwardian commercial style details including: symmetrical form; regularly spaced bays separated by brick pilasters with central recessed panel detail on the street facades; central recessed entryways on each of the street facades; regular fenestration; decorative pressed tin cornice; brick parapet;

- fenestration such as: rectangular window openings of double and triple assembly on the second and third floors of the street facades; regular arrangement of rectangular window openings on the rear facade; concrete sills and lintels;

- elements associated with occupancy by Eatons including: one-storey rooftop elevator machine room constructed with red pressed brick grey mortar laid in common bond complete with large multi-light wooden-sash window with brick sill and Georgian glass and fixed multi-light wooden-sash window with brick sill; concrete parging around storefront.


Street Address: 579 - 3 Street SE
Community: Medicine Hat
Boundaries: Lots 16 to 20, Block 22, Plan 1491
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
16 To 20 inclusive

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
50.039567 -110.675712 GPS NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2015/09/08

Historical Information

Built: 1912 To 1913
Significant Date(s) 1906 To 1927
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Trade and Commerce
Historic Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Bank or Stock Exchange
Commerce / Commercial Services : Office or Office Building
Commerce / Commercial Services : Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Current Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Eating or Drinking Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services : Office or Office Building
Commerce / Commercial Services : Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Architect: Francis James Lawson
Builder: Oakes & Everard

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0335
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link: www.medicinehat.ca
Data Source: Source: City of Medicine Hat, City Clerk Department and Planning Department, 580 - 1st Street SE Medicine Hat, AB T1A 8E6, City of Medicine Hat (Bylaw 4190)
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