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Rutherford House


Other Names:
A. C. Rutherford Residence
A.C. Rutherford Residence
AC Rutherford Residence
Alexander Cameron Rutherford Residence

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
Rutherford House is a two-storey, red brick and sandstone building from the pre-World War One period designed with Georgian/Jacobethan Revival influences. It is located on one city lot on the north side of the University of Alberta campus overlooking the North Saskatchewan River valley, in the historic neighbourhood of Garneau.

Heritage Value
Rutherford House is significant for its association with Alberta's first premier, Dr. Alexander Cameron Rutherford, who resided here from its completion in 1911 until his death in 1941. It is also an excellent example of upper-class Edwardian-era domestic architecture.

As Premier between 1905 and 1910, Rutherford and his Liberal government laid the legislative and administrative foundations of the new province. Amid significant expenditures on public works, Rutherford took a particular interest in public education, and was instrumental in establishing the University of Alberta in 1907. While resident in Rutherford House, he remained prominent in public life, practicing law and serving as president of the Historical Society of Alberta from 1919 to 1941, on the University Senate from 1907 to 1927, and as University Chancellor from 1927 to 1941.

Rutherford House is also an impressive example of domestic architecture in early twentieth-century Alberta. Its grandeur symbolized the pre-war sentiment that Alberta had concluded its pioneer days and was enjoying a period of economic prosperity. The building's design incorporated historical revival styles popular at the turn of the century, while its size and air of distinction exemplified Rutherford's prominence in provincial society and facilitated entertaining visitors important to both the province and the University. Rutherford's favourite room, the library, held a large collection of rare Canadiana. Rutherford House is one of the oldest and most prominent residences of the historic Garneau neighbourhood.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 307)

Character-Defining Elements
The heritage value of Rutherford House lies in such character-defining elements as:
- form, scale and massing;
- red brick construction with sandstone trim and sills;
- porch and balcony projecting over the main entrance, with coupled columns (Roman Doric Order) and balustrade of white painted wood;
- front concrete steps and approach;
- parapetted gables, steep gable roof, and corbelled chimneys;
- interior oak woodwork and paneling;
- fenestration pattern including six over one double-hung windows, two-storey bay windows on either side of front entrance, semi-circular grouping above front balcony, and interior stained glass skylight;
- interior room and staircase layout;
- enclosed sun room on the west side;
-unimpeded view of the North Saskatchewan and provincial Legislature.


Street Address: 11153 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Lot 1, Block 11, Plan 7822633
Contributing Resources: Building: 1

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

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

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.527640 -113.520205 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1979/06/28

Historical Information

Built: 1911 to 1911
Period of Significance: 1911 to 1941
Theme(s): Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Learning and the Arts
Governing Canada : Politics and Political Processes
Historic Function(s): Community : Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club
Residence : Group Residence
Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s): Leisure : Museum

The heritage significance of the house lies in its association with Alberta's first premier, Dr. Alexander Rutherford. Rutherford was Alberta's premier from its inception as a province in 1905 until his resignation during the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway controversy in 1910. Rutherford and his Liberal government are responsible for the establishment of the administrative and legislative foundations of the province of Alberta.

Rutherford was primarily responsible for the establishment of the University of Alberta. He initiated the enabling legislation and supported as Premier and Minister of Education. Rutherford served on the University Senate from 1907 to 1927 and as University Chancellor from 1927 until his death in 1941.

In addition, Rutherford was a public ally active individual, serving numerous public service offices. He was also a prominent and respected lawyer in the city of Edmonton and in Alberta.

Site Data Form (February 13, 1976)

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0437
Designation File: DES 0307
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 22330
Website Link: https://rutherfordhouse.ca
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. 307)
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