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Buchanan Residence


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Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Buchanan Residence is an impressive Edwardian Foursquare house with elements of Arts and Craft architecture situated at the intersection of 4th Avenue S and 14th Street S in the City of Lethbridge’s Victoria Park neighbourhood. The residence sits on a substantial L-shaped lot fronted by a grassed boulevard with mature trees. It is readily identifiable by its two and one-half storey height with bellcast hipped roof with multiple dormers. The body of the residence is clad in lapped siding and numerous single and double assembly windows punctuate the walls of the home. The front entry possesses a front-gable canopy with half-timbering and exposed rafter tails, and a split stone door surround. The house is further characterised by a one-storey hipped roof addition on the east façade.

Heritage Value
The Buchanan Residence, constructed in 1908, is valued as representative of a period of economic prosperity and residential development during Lethbridge’s Edwardian Boom in the early 1900s. Lethbridge underwent significant development during the Edwardian era (1908-1914), due to its large coal deposits; available land; irrigation networks; and its positioning on the CPR railway, all of which attracted immigrants to the area. By 1910, nearly 5,000 dryland homestead claims had been filed with the Lethbridge Land Office. This rapid period of settlement resulted in an increased demand for housing and caused a boom in construction. During this time many of Lethbridge’s historic commercial blocks were constructed and residential neighbourhoods established. Labourers, farmers, and professionals were drawn to the city, necessitating the construction of a range of residential forms. The Buchanan Residence is representative of one of Lethbridge’s more affluent residents as evidenced through its large scale, and finely crafted design and interior finishes.

The Buchanan Residence is further significant as a physical link to notable Canadian editor, publisher, long-serving politician, and first provincial librarian, William Ashbury Buchanan. Born in Fraserville, ON, on July 2, 1870, Buchanan first apprenticed at a newspaper in Peterborough before managing papers in Toronto and St. Thomas. In 1905, Buchanan with his wife Alma and two sons moved to Lethbridge. In December of that year, he purchased half interest of the Lethbridge Herald and acquired full ownership the next year at which time he rebranded it the Lethbridge Daily Herald. Buchanan’s work gained province-wide recognition and resulted in his appointment as Alberta’s first Provincial Librarian in 1907, a position he briefly held until November, when he returned to Lethbridge. Upon his return, he constructed the extant house the following year. The property originally consisted of three lots; however, the later subdivision and construction of houses to the east and south has reduced the size and prominence of the site. Buchanan continued his career in public service as Liberal MLA for Lethbridge City (1909-1911), MP for Medicine Hat (1911-1917), MP for Lethbridge (1917- 1921), and Alberta Senator (1925-1954). Buchanan’s over four decade-long career in public service is a testament to the deep connection he had with the province. Buchanan remained at the house until his death in 1954.

The Buchanan Residence is further valued as an impressive Edwardian Foursquare style house with details of Arts and Crafts architecture in the City of Lethbridge. Edwardian architecture emerged as a new architectural form in stark contrast to the excesses of the previous Victorian period. Hallmarks of this early 20th century architectural style include: two-storey residences with square or rectangular floor plan divided into quadrants; central or off-centre entry and stairs; four rooms per floor; hipped roof with dormers; arched entries between rooms; and high quality crafted interior and exterior finishes. Buchanan obtained a permit for the construction of the extant house in June 1908, listing the value of construction as $2,600. The residence was constructed by Thomas Stubbs of the local firm of Oliver Manufacturing Co. It was expanded in 1928 through an addition to the east façade, the infilling of the original recessed front porch, and addition of an Arts and Crafts styled front-gabled entry canopy with stucco, half-timbering, and exposed rafter tails. The residence characterises the Edwardian Foursquare style through its form, scale, bellcast hipped roof with multiple tapered dormers, and original, but now hidden, exterior cladding of lapped wooden siding and shingles.

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Buchanan Residence include the following:
-location at the intersection of 4th Avenue S and 14th Street S in Lethbridge’s Upper Eastside neighbourhood;
-setback from the street on a large landscaped L-shaped lot with mature trees;
-form, scale, and massing as expressed by its: two and one-half storey height with full-height basement; square-plan; bellcast hipped roof with multiple dormers with bellcast hipped and shed roofs; canopy over front entry; two-storey bay on rear façade;
-wooden-frame construction including: concrete foundation with stamped parging; lapped wooden siding on the first floor and shingle cladding on the second floor under later added vinyl siding; bellcast walls on the dormers with shingle siding;
-Edwardian Foursquare style details including: square-plan, two and one-half storey height; bellcast hipped roof and walls; modillions; diamond patterned window sashes; multiple roof dormers; off-centre entry; projecting eaves with wooden soffits; wooden corniceboards;
-Arts and Crafts style elements such as: front-gabled entry canopy with stucco, half-timbering, notched rafter tails;
-fenestration such as: single assembly rectangular window openings; double assembly rectangular window openings; triple assembly window with single-hung diamond patterned wooden-sash windows with 1-over-1 wooden-sash storm window on either side of a rectangular window opening; four-panel wooden door with multi-light upper glass panel and two-panel wooden storm door with upper glass panel;
-additional elements such as: internal chimney of red pressed brick with grey mortar; one-storey hipped roof addition to east façade of house with rectangular window openings; and
-interior elements including: original wooden floors and trim; arched entries and doors; six-panel wooden door with hardware; five-panel wooden door with hardware; newel post and spindle balustrade; radiators.


Street Address: 1404 - 4 Avenue South
Community: Lethbridge
Boundaries: Lot 36, Block 96, Plan 8610704
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
49.694727 -112.822116 Digital Maps NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2016/06/13

Historical Information

Built: 1908 to 1928
Significant Date(s) 1908 to 1928
Theme(s) Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Architect: Ernest T. Brown (1928)
Builder: Thomas Stubbs (1908)

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0428
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 20494
Website Link:
Data Source: City of Lethbridge City Hall, 910 - 4th Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 0P6
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