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"Riverview" C. A. Magrath House


Other Names:
C. A. Magrath 'Riverside' Residence
C. A. Magrath House
C. A. Magrath Residence
Magrath House
Magrath Residence

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
C.A. Magrath's 'Riverview' is a two and one-half storey, late Victorian red brick house that sits on one city lot on 7th Avenue South in Lethbridge, overlooking the Oldman River valley in the established London Road neighbourhood.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the 'Riverview' lies in its association with its original owner, Charles Alexander Magrath, who played an important role in the early history of Lethbridge and the settlement of southern Alberta.

Magrath arrived in Lethbridge from Ontario in 1885 to work as a surveyor and land agent for the Northwest Coal and Navigation Company in the new community. Magrath quickly became established among the elite of the town as a prominent figure in local politics, as the first president of the Board of Trade in 1889 and first mayor of Lethbridge when the town was incorporated in 1891. In addition to local politics, Magrath played a major role in the effort to recruit settlers to southern Alberta. He negotiated with the Mormon community in Utah, who later agreed to construct irrigation canals in exchange for cash and land. These irrigation projects helped to entice settlement by creating potential farmland out of the prairie grassland. Built in 1892, 'Riverview' was his primary residence for four years, before being sold to Lethbridge's first lawyer, A.F. Coneybeare.

'Riverview' is a slightly unusual example of late Victorian domestic architecture. While the high verticality of the house is typical of similar residences of the periods, such eccentric features as its massing, hipped roof and small projecting wings capped by gables that abut the building suggest that Magrath himself may have been involved in its design.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1019)

Character-Defining Elements
Character-defining elements of 'Riverview' include such features as:
- form, mass, and scale of the building;
- small projecting towers with decorative shingled and bellcast treatment of the gables, characteristic of the Victorian period;
- two original corbelled brick chimneys;
- remaining original millwork, crown moulding, and ornate radiators in some of the interior spaces;
- use of locally manufactured bricks, including soft orange bricks employed throughout the building envelope;
- voussoirs over the original window openings on the main and second storeys;
- soffit bracket detail on the south side;
- landmark status in Lethbridge's historic London Road district;
- unobstructed views of the house from the Oldman River valley.


Street Address: 109 - 7 Avenue South
Community: Lethbridge
Boundaries: Lot 58, Plan 8210101
Contributing Resources: Building: 1

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

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


Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
49.688590 -112.845430 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type
5505642 366894 Digital Maps NAD 83


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1982/01/05

Historical Information

Built: 1892 to 1892
Period of Significance:
Theme(s): Governing Canada : Politics and Political Processes
Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling

This house was built in 1892 by C.A. Magrath. Magrath had moved to Lethbridge in 1885 to work as a surveyor and land agent for North West Coal and Navigation Company of Sir Alexander and Elliot Galt. He quickly established himself among the elite of the town, became the president of the first Board of Trade and the town's first mayor. After the tragic death of his wife, Magrath sold the house to C.F. Coneybeare, a local lawyer.

It was largely through Magrath's efforts that the Mormons first moved to Alberta and undertook the province's first large scale irrigation project that was to bring settlers to the arid south. Upon his retirement, Magrath had an impressive list of honours and chairmanships, including a membership in the Royal Society of Canada.

The C.A. Magrath House is not completely typical of the late Victorian domestic architecture. While its high vertically is typical, its massing, hipped roof and small projecting wings capped by gables that abut the buildings are unusual. This eccentricity suggests that the owner might have been involved in its design.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0188
Designation File: DES 1019
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 14431
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1019)
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