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Richards Block


Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Richards Block is a three-storey red brick building situated on a single lot on the north side of 82 (Whyte) Avenue in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona Provincial Historic Area. The building embodies the Edwardian Commercial style and features such classical details as a symmetrical front façade, brick pilasters, a prominent roofline cornice with brackets and a raised parapet.

Heritage Value
The Richards Block is provincially significant as an outstanding example of Edwardian commercial architecture and for its association with the economic, social and cultural development of Strathcona in the early twentieth century.
The Richards Block was built in 1909-10 by A.H. Richards Co., one of Strathcona’s oldest commercial firms. It was one of many three-storey brick commercial blocks constructed along Whyte Avenue between 1910 and 1914, reflecting a trend common across Alberta’s urban centres during the early twentieth-century economic boom. The scale, design, and materials illustrate the decisive shift away from wood-frame ‘boomtown’-style merchant buildings to more substantial commercial blocks that strongly communicated a sense of permanence and optimism in Strathcona’s (and Alberta’s) future. The building was also a statement of the owner’s wealth and prominent status within the community, reflected in such classically-inspired ornamental features as the roofline bracketed cornice, corbelled parapet and brick pilasters.
The building functioned as both a commercial and social centre. The main floor was a commercial space for Richards general store and other businesses, while the upper floors contained a dance hall and meeting space for fraternal organizations such as the Freemasons and the Odd Fellows. These activities, in particular the association with fraternal activity, speak to the important role that the Richards Block played in the growth and development of economic, social and cultural activity in early twentieth-century Strathcona.

Source: Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: DES 0191)

Character-Defining Elements
The heritage value of the Richards Block is expressed through such character-defining elements as its:
- location on 82 (Whyte) Avenue and within the Old Strathcona Provincial Historic Area;
- scale, form and massing;
- red brick façade with recessed fifth course to resemble rustication;
- symmetrical arrangement of windows and pilasters on second and third storeys;
- brick quoins;
- lintels topped with pediments and sandstone sills;
- storefront cornice and roofline cornice with brackets;
- corbelled parapet with central arch and wood “RICHARDS BLOCK” signage;
- remnants of historic painted signs on sides and rear of building;
- east side alley fenestration reflecting second and third floor residential apartments; and
- cast concrete or stone pilasters flanking storefront at corners.


Street Address: 10422 - 82 Avenue NW
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Lot 32, Block 67, Plan I
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
53.518405 -113.498562 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2019/06/27

Historical Information

Built: 1910 to 1910
Significant Date(s) 1910 to 1925
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Trade and Commerce
Historic Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Community : Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club
Current Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0466
Designation File: DES 0191
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 28839
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: DES 0191)
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