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Kresge Building


Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The two-storey brick Kresge Building has a flat roof with a limestone capped parapet, decorative limestone stringcourses, and decorative brick pilasters with moulded art deco limestone caps on the second storey. It is located on a commercial street in the downtown core of Lethbridge.

Heritage Value
The Kresge Building is significant for its association with the theme of Depression-era development in Lethbridge, and for its association with the S.S. Kresge Corporation.

Built in 1930, the Kresge Building is significant for its association with the limited development that occurred in Lethbridge during the Depression. J.E. MacElroy, an architect from Windsor, Ontario, designed this building with the assistance of Lethbridge architects Mitchell, and Meech. The Art Deco style, popular in the 1920s and 1930s, is evident in the stylized and streamlined decorative concrete elements on the second-storey of the front façade. The second-floor was used by Kresge’s for their offices and finance department. The second-floor interior, which is less than half the building’s depth, retains its original design.

The Kresge Building is significant for its association with the S.S. Kresge Corporation. The Kresge Corporation purchased the lot in 1929 and constructed this building the following year as one of the first Kresge stores in Western Canada. Kresge’s, which became K-Mart in 1962, was an American chain of five-and-ten-cent stores which specialized in inexpensive goods, and proved very successful in Lethbridge, particularly in the difficult economic times of the Depression. It operated at this location until 1952, when the building was sold and the business moved to 522 4th Avenue South.

Character-Defining Elements
The character defining elements as expressed in the form, massing, and materials of the 1930 two-storey Kresge Building include:

Exterior Elements:
-the flat roof;
-the flat parapet with limestone cap;
-the stepped parapets on the side façades;
-the common bond brick cladding;
-the brick pilasters on the second storey;
-the decorative cast stone stringcourse with art deco detailing above the second-storey windows;
-the limestone stringcourse above the sign band;
-the limestone sills on the second-storey windows;
-the brick lintels on the second storey windows;
-the flag holders on the building’s front façade;
-the tall brick chimney; and
-the pattern, style and construction of all original window openings.

Interior Elements:
-tin ceiling;
-tin crown molding;
-hardwood floors and trim (second storey); and
-doors (second storey).


Street Address: 319 - 5 Street South
Community: Lethbridge
Boundaries: Lots 30 and 31, Block 32, Plan 4353S
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
30 and 31

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
49.694859 -112.839967 Digital Maps NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2017/01/30

Historical Information

Built: 1930 to 1930
Significant Date(s) 1930 to 1930
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Trade and Commerce
Historic Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Current Function(s):
Architect: Mitchell and Meech
J.E. MacElroy

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0423
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link:
Data Source: City of Lethbridge City Hall, 910 - 4th Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 0P6
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