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Grierson Residence


Other Names:
Grierson (Rees) Residence
R. W. Grierson Residence
Rees Residence

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Grierson Residence is a two-and-a-half-storey home clad in wooden drop siding. The house is dominated by a large wrap-around verandah on its south and west sides and a two-storey octagonal tower on the southwest corner. The building also features Palladian windows in the gables, a tall brick chimney and an irregular roofline with a south-facing eyebrow window. Some interior trim elements (notably the picture rail on the main floor) were reinstated in 1999. The Grierson Residence is situated on a landscaped corner lot with deciduous and coniferous trees and a bordering hedge. The house is located in Edmonton's Highlands residential district.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Grierson Residence lies in its identity as an excellent example of Queen Anne style of architecture. This style of residential architecture was popular in Alberta during the early decades of the twentieth century.

Named for Anne Stuart, Queen of England from 1702 to 1714, the flamboyant Queen Anne style of architecture arose in 1860s Great Britain as part of a Victorian Age nostalgic architectural revival movement. The style was based on interpretations of English estate homes and was further influenced by Dutch architectural design. Designers of Queen Anne style buildings could pick and choose from a large selection of design elements, resulting in the creation of a range of different houses all based on the same central theme. This high level of adaptability meant that the style was accessible to homeowners across all classes and was not restricted to the wealthy, which led to its immense popularity. Typical design elements that characterize the style included complex rooflines; massive chimneys; a mixture of exterior finishes; wrap-around verandahs with curved corners; and circular and polygonal towers with conical, pyramidal or polygonal roofs. Decorative trim work was essential, but could range from minimal to copious. Trim work typically included wooden scrollwork, pendants, finials, columns and metal or wood cresting. Windows assumed an important decorative role in addition to being functional. Palladian windows were common with other decorative window treatments, such as multi-storied bay, oriel, eyebrow and circular windows also being applied frequently. A further level of sophistication was often achieved through the integration of decorative glass treatments, such as stained and beveled glass, curved panes and arches. The Queen Anne style arrived in North America by the 1880s and gradually moved west, appearing in Alberta around the turn of the century, reaching the height of its popularity in the province just prior to the First World War.

Edmonton's Grierson Residence is an excellent example of the Queen Anne style of residential construction in Alberta. The home, built between 1912 and 1914 and located in the upper class Highlands neighbourhood, features a number of elements that mark it as a Queen Anne style residence. With its complex roofline, corner tower, Palladian windows, and wraparound verandah, the Grierson Residence embodies the playfulness and charm associated with the style. The interior of the home is substantially intact and its dark-stained and well-crafted finishings impart the residence with a distinctively comfortable, domestic character. Prominently situated on a landscaped corner lot in Edmonton's historic Highlands neighbourhood, the Grierson Residence is a fine example of Queen Anne domestic architecture in Alberta. Comparable extant examples are Red Deer's Cronquist House, which was relocated, and Lethbridge's E.B. Hill Residence and Calgary's Nimmons Residence, both of which are slightly more opulent.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1167)

Character-Defining Elements
Key elements that define the heritage value of the Grierson Residence include such elements as:

- exterior walls clad in horizontal drop-siding;
- hip roof with two street-facing (south and west) gables and a rear-facing (north) gable;
- flared eaves on the gables;
- Palladian windows of a central arched window flanked by two flat head windows located just below the street facing gable ends;
- rectangular balcony with a wooden railing and turned spindles located just below the rear-facing gable end;
- south-facing dormer with eyebrow window;
- a tall, substantial brick chimney with raised decorative elements towards the top extending from the ground floor and projecting through the west facing eave;
- wrap-around verandah on the primary (south and west) facades featuring a curved southwest corner;
- wooden verandah railing with turned spindles
- square, wooden columns supporting the roof of the verandah;
- two-storey, octagonal tower with a medium pitched octagonal roof located on the southwest corner;
- main entry located on the south elevation, surmounted by a pediment;
- dentils and molding decorative elements at the top of the tower;
- extant original windows, storm windows and frames;
- situation on a landscaped corner lot with deciduous and coniferous trees and a bordering hedge.

- extant original lath and plaster cladding on the interior walls;
- extant original wood strip flooring;
- darkly-stained wood trim work on the baseboards, door and window frames;
- fireplace with wood mantle and brick surround;
- built in seating and storage below on the main floor, tower windows;
- wood front entry door with large glass window;
- extant original wood staircases with banisters;
- extant original wooden interior doors.


Street Address: 6124 - 111 Avenue NW
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Lot 15, Block 11, Plan 3642AJ
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
3642 AJ

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.564798 -113.432370 GPS NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2009/10/08

Historical Information

Built: 1912 to 1912
Period of Significance:
Theme(s): Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling

The Rees Residence (Grierson House) was built between 1912 and 1914 during Edmonton's greatest land boom. The rapid expansion of the city resulted in the creation of the exclusive Highlands subdivision by the firm of Holgate and Magrath in which a number of homes similar to the Grierson (Rees) House were built.

The first owner, Mayme Armstrong, did not reside in the house and may have taken part in the speculative process. In 1916, R.W. Grierson bought the house and his family continued to live in it until 1972. The house has functioned as a single-family residence since its construction.


The Grierson (Rees) House, built in a style popular during the late Victorian period, conforms more to the Queen Anne style than any other. This style of architecture was most exuberant and eclectic in its use of texture, colour, and form and as such was most 'Victorian'.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0688
Designation File: DES 1167
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 17889
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. 1167)
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