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Elizabeth Street School

Medicine Hat

Other Names:
Gas City Kiwanis Centre

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
Elizabeth Street School is a one-storey red brick Edwardian period school situated on 11th Street SE in the South Flats neighbourhood in the City of Medicine Hat. The school, which is owned by the City of Medicine Hat, is identifiable by banked fenestration on both the front and rear facades, separate boys' and girls' entryways, a projecting rotunda on the front facade, and a hipped-roof with octagonal cupola. The school is surrounded by a large yard with mature deciduous trees lining the street, and a laneway bordering the rear of the property.

Heritage Value
Elizabeth Street School is valued as an excellent example of an intact historic Medicine Hat school built before the First World War as a component of a city-wide school building program that was initiated in 1909 by the city's School Trustees. Medicine Hat's school building program was developed in preparation and response to the city's tremendous growth during the Edwardian boom, which started in 1910 and continued through 1913. The one-storey school with full-height basement was built in 1912-1913 and was named after the street it was located on, Elizabeth Street, which is now 11th Street SE. The school, one of the first to be constructed outside of the downtown core, reflects the burgeoning development of the South Flats community that took place in response to the establishment of multiple manufacturing industries nearby. Industrial workers and their families primarily settled the South Flats neighbourhood, situated to the south of the CPR right-of-way in the low-lying flats of the South Saskatchewan River and Seven Persons Creek. As the number of industries located in the area increased to include clay works, greenhouses, glass works, mills, and foundries, so too did the required workforce. In turn, the demand for the necessary infrastructure and social services for the workers and their families also increased. The architectural style and quality of construction materials used reflect both the value placed on schools by the community, and a belief in the permanency of the South Flats neighbourhood.

Elizabeth Street School is further valued as a rare and intact example of a Classical Revival-style educational institution. The Classical Revival-style of architecture was fueled by the improved understanding of Greek and Roman buildings attained through the study of archaeology. The style applied Classical Greek form, scale, and massing to civic buildings. During the Edwardian era, civic buildings were frequently built in this architectural style due to its ability to convey a sense of aesthetics, security, and permanency. Elizabeth Street School illustrates these characteristics through its symmetrical and balanced plan, projecting brick rotunda, and elegant detailing. The exterior form and interior layout of Elizabeth Street School is similar to that of Earl Kitchener School (constructed 1916 - 1917), in the Downtown/Southeast Hill neighbourhood although the two were not designed by the same architect. Elizabeth Street School was designed by noteworthy Medicine Hat architect William T. Williams, and was one of four Medicine Hat schools he designed. British-born, Williams was a prolific Medicine Hat architect designing numerous public, commercial, financial, civic, industrial, and educational buildings during his ten year residency in the city. Elizabeth Street School was constructed over a period of six months and for a cost of $40,000.

Elizabeth Street School is also valued as a landmark in the South Flats neighbourhood due to its impressive Classical Revival architectural style and its high visibility on the residential streetscape.

Source: Bylaw No. 4329; the Elizabeth Street School Municipal Historic Resource Designation Bylaw, City of Medicine Hat

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

- prominent location situated mid-block on 11th Street SE in a Medicine Hat residential neighbourhood;

- set back from the street with parking lots on the east and west sides of the school and backing on to a public laneway;

- landscaped yard with mature deciduous trees running parallel to the street along the school's front facade;

- form, scale, and massing as expressed by its: one-storey height with full-height basement; rectangular plan with projecting rotunda; medium-hipped roof;

- masonry construction as expressed by its: common pattern red pressed brick with tooled red mortar; concrete foundation; parged concrete sills;

- Classical Revival-style elements such as: symmetrical proportions; arched entries with keystone and quioning; projecting front rotunda; amethyst glass transoms;

- additional elements including: separate boys' and girls' entrances; internal red brick chimney with corbelling, domed roof, octagonal wooden cupola; and

- interior features such as: wood trim, chair rail, newel post, railing; oak double swinging doors with sidelights and transom.


Street Address: 826 - 11 Street SE
Community: Medicine Hat
Boundaries: Lots 15 to 20, Block 12, Plan 483M
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

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

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
50.028463 -110.665940

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type
5541849 523927


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2016/02/01

Historical Information

Built: 1912 To 1913
Period of Significance: 1906 To 1913
Theme(s): Building Social and Community Life : Education and Social Well-Being
Historic Function(s): Education : Primary or Secondary School
Current Function(s): Community : Civic Space
Leisure : Recreation Centre
Leisure : Sports Facility or Site
Architect: William T. Williams
Builder: Lussier Construction Co.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0337
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link: www.medicinehat.ca
Data Source: City of Medicine Hat, City Clerk Department and Planning Department, 580 - 1st Street SE Medicine Hat, AB T1A 8E6
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