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LeMarchand Mansion

Edmonton

Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
LeMarchand Mansion is an early twentieth century, four-storey building situated on three lots in Edmonton's Oliver district overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. The H-shaped building embodies Beaux Arts architectural influences and features a red brick facade with sandstone window details, cornice and columns.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of LeMarchand Mansion lies in its fine example of the ideals of the French Beaux Arts school of architecture. It also possesses heritage value for its association with the rapid growth of Edmonton and consequent demand for accommodation prior to World War One.

Rene LeMarchand arrived in Edmonton in 1905 from Paris, lured from Europe by his brother, a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) religious order. The inheritor of a valuable cache of second-hand straight razors, LeMarchand set up a luxury goods store in Edmonton and, like many entrepreneurial spirits in the city at the time, entered into the real estate market. He successfully acquired investment capital from France - from the Union Garcons de Café - and began construction on the magisterial LeMarchand Mansion, which he envisioned as one of the finest and most modern apartment buildings west of Toronto. Begun in 1909, the building opened in 1910, although the west wing was not completed until a year later. It was one of the first major apartment blocks in Edmonton. The elegant exterior and luxurious interior reflected both LeMarchand's French sensibilities and the heady, boom town optimism that suffused Edmonton in the pre-World War One period. The new apartment block housed some of the city's pre-eminent citizens - lawyers, doctors, businessmen, and politicians. It continued to be used as an apartment building until after World War Two, when some of the suites were converted into office space.

Designed by prominent local architect A.M. Calderon, LeMarchand Mansion features an impressive array of classically inspired, Beaux Arts architectural elements. The building's red brick facades with sandstone trim are embellished with columns, pediments, arches, and voussoirs. Some of the more striking features include the wrought iron balconies, the three-storey span of windows crowned by an arch on the west elevation, the prominent cornice that runs along the top of the building, and the central projection on the north facade including the main entrance on the ground floor and four Composite columns topped by a pediment between the third and fourth storeys. At the time of its construction, LeMarchand Mansion also featured a lavishly appointed interior. The building included fireplaces and exterior windows in every suite, Edmonton's first elevator, and natural gas heating provided by a coal degasifying plant built on site. Suites and common areas were graced with beautiful woodwork and other decorative elements; the lobby featured a brass-hooded fireplace surrounded by marble flooring. The marriage of red brick facades and sandstone trims, stately architecture, and luxurious interiors established LeMarchand Mansion as the most elaborate pre-World War One building of its kind in Edmonton.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 218)


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of LeMarchand Mansion include such features as:
- mass, form, and style;
- H-shaped plan;
- flat roof and chimneys with corbelled cornices and finials;
- short parapets on north and west elevations;
- dentillated and bracketed cornice and decorative modillion running along roofline;
- red brick facade, voussoirs, corbelling, and decorative features;
- at ground level, four courses of moulded concrete blocks imitating rusticated sandstone, surmounted by tall concrete plinth imitating ashlar sandstone;
- dressed sandstone facing at ground level;
- sandstone trim and decorative features, including stringcourses, sills, and keystones;
- central projection on the north facade including the main entrance on the ground floor and four Composite columns topped by a pediment between the third and fourth storeys;
- two towers crowned by turrets with finials that flank the north facade projection;
- two small projections on north facade capped with small, corbelled pediments;
- three-storey span of windows crowned by an arch on the west elevation;
- dentillated pediment on west elevation and decorative parapet balustrade;
- quarter-circular wrought iron balconies sypported by concrete pillars;
- fenestration pattern, style, and size, including round arch windows.


Location



Street Address: 11523 - 100 Avenue NW
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Lot 100, Block 15, Plan 1223405
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
24
52
31
16 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
1223405
15
100


Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.538454 -113.520689 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1977/07/13

Historical Information

Built: 1909 to 1911
Significant Date(s)
Theme(s) Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Residence : Multiple Dwelling
Current Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Office or Office Building
Architect: Alfred M. Calderon
Builder: Charles May
Context: HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

LeMarchand Mansion was erected in 1909-11 by Rene LeMarchand, a French immigrant to Edmonton. Through its imposing structure, luxurious design features, and elaborate architecture, it is a striking symbol of the booming economy of pre World War One Edmonton. The style, associations, and location of this building reflect the French heritage of its namesake.

It is important architecturally because of its age (it may be the first major apartment building in Edmonton); its location (it is one of the few, large, old buildings remaining in Oliver Community); its style (it is a good example of the use of late Victorian, French classical influences and one of the most elaborate pre-World War One buildings of this type in Edmonton); its material (sandstone trim); and its exterior originality. The combination of style and use of materials is unique to Edmonton and possibly all of Alberta.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0513
Designation File: DES 0218
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 18512
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. 218)
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