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Ewart-Duggan Residence

Medicine Hat

Other Names:
Duggan Residence
Ewart Duggan Residence
Ewart/Duggan House
Ewart/Duggan Residence

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Ewart-Duggan Residence is a two-storey home situated on a single lot near the centre of Medicine Hat. Built in 1887, the red brick house embodies Victorian style residential masonry construction and features a steeply pitched front gable roof, brick coursing, gingerbread trim, and a polygonal bay window.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Ewart-Duggan Residence lies in its association with some of the earliest and most prominent citizens of Medicine Hat and in its excellent and very rare early example of Victorian residential masonry construction.

In 1885, Harry Clinton Yuill arrived in the fledgling community of Medicine Hat and founded a construction business. His company was responsible for erecting many of Medicine Hat's earliest buildings. Yuill's entrepreneurship extended beyond construction; he also invested in real estate, the community's clay products industry, and contributed to the founding of several early regional Hat enterprises, including the Alberta Linseed Oil Company, the Alberta Foundry, and the Monarch Theatre Company. In 1887, Yuill built the Ewart-Duggan Residence for Medicine Hat pioneer and influential local businessman John Ewart and his wife, Jessie Herald. In 1920, the Ewarts' daughter Jacqueline and her husband Hector O. Duggan moved into the home. Like previous residents of the home, the Duggans were significant figures in the community; in addition to trading in real estate and handling investments for international clients, Hector was also a member of a powerful family that included D. M. Duggan, Mayor of Edmonton, and J. J. Duggan, well-known Edmonton entrepreneur and realtor. The home has thus been connected with three of Medicine Hat's most important families and provides a vital historical link to the founding and development of the city.

The Ewart-Duggan Residence is one of the earliest extant homes in Medicine Hat and may be the oldest brick residence still standing in the province. Built of locally-made bricks and embodying the Victorian style of architecture, the residence contrasted sharply with the humble, mostly wood-frame buildings prevalent in most North-West Territories communities during this period. The Victorian aesthetic is evident in the residence's asymmetrical massing, decorative brickwork and gingerbread trim, and its balconies, bay window, and dormer. The home's materials and design were well-suited to reflecting the civic prominence of its residents.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 314)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Ewart-Duggan Residence include such features as:
- asymmetrical massing, form, scale;
- fieldstone foundation walls;
- steeply pitched front gable roof;
- brick chimneys, including corbelled and banded chimney on east side of home;
- smaller gables near the rear of each side facade;
- gable dormer on west elevation;
- distinctive "soft mud" brick exterior laid in stretcher bond on the front facade and common bond on the sides and rear facade;
- fenestration pattern;
- inscriptions by Ewart and Duggan in exterior brick;
- belt courses with painted window lintel treatment;
- polygonal lower bay window with a multi-paned light in each face;
- rectangular gable-roofed balcony with diagonal fretwork in the gable end and a square rectangular grid as a backdrop to a flat gingerbread rail with quatrefoil decorations and curvilinear woodwork at the post tops;
- recessed French doors with a rectangular transom and moulded reveal;
- balcony on rear facade with a flat gingerbread rail;
- original interior wood and plasterwork, fixtures, staircases (including balustrades and fretwork along the steps), doors, fittings, floorings, baseboards, mouldings, and marble living room fireplace with egg-and-dart moulding;
- interior millwork, including door and window casings and main and rear stair balustrades.


Street Address: 443 - 1 Street SE
Community: Medicine Hat
Boundaries: Lot 6, Block 4, Plan 1491
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
50.040154 -110.679978 GPS NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1993/03/04

Historical Information

Built: 1887 to 1887
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Builder: Harry Clinton Yuill

This home was built by John Ewart in 1887 on what was then the western outskirts of Medicine Hat. John Ewart was a respected businessman who arrived in Medicine Hat in 1883 along with James A. Lougheed, grandfather of Alberta's former Premier, and R.B. Bennett, former Prime Minister of Canada. Upon arrival, they set up temporary stores in tents on the site of modern Medicine Hat's Riverside Park. In the following years, John Ewart became one of Medicine Hat's leading businessmen.

The Ewart-Duggan home is believed to be the oldest brick home still standing in Alberta. It was built from some of the first soft mud brick from Medicine Hat's first brick company, the McCord Brick Company. This home has been well maintained over the past 105 years, and remains virtually unchanged since the time it was built. The archives of the Medicine Hat Museum house the original pen and ink drawings of the home.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0491
Designation File: DES 0314
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 11045
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. 314)
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