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Key Number: HS 14430
Site Name: Bowman Arts Centre
Other Names:
Site Type: 0310 - Educational: Museum or Gallery
0314 - Educational: School

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
9 21 4


Address: 811 - 5 Avenue S
Number: 11
Street: 8 S
Avenue: 5 S
Other:
Town: Lethbridge
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style: Classical Revival
Plan Shape: Rectangular Long Facade
Storeys: Storeys: 2
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Nailed Frame
Superstructure Cover: Brick - Bond: Stretcher Concrete: Plain Precast Panel
Roof Structure: Low Hip
Roof Cover: Asphalt Shingle
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Single Detached
Wall Design and Detail: Column or Engaged Column
Wall Design and Detail: Ionic Capital
Wall Design and Detail: Inscription or Date Stone
Roof Trim - Eaves: Plain Frieze
Dormer Type: Gable, Pediment
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Offset Right
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Offset Rear
Chimney Stack Material: Brick
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Plain Flat
Window - Sill Type: Continuous Sill
Window - Number of Sashes: Two, Double Hung
Window - Number of Sashes: Three, Casement
Main Entrance - Location: Centre (Facade)
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Moulded Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Curved Pediment
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Panelled
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Concrete
Main Stairs - Direction: Straight
Main Porch - Special Features: Ionic Capital
Exterior: The building is characterized by a symmetrical facade, with a prominent entrance accented by giant order ionic columns and an open curved pediment above the square portal. A wide dentillated cornice caps the facade, and a grand archway surmounts the entrance.

S elevation: projecting frontispiece with columns, moulded arch over main entrance, entablature with inscription, parapet with projecting entablature an semi-circular window (above main entrance) sandstone (moulded), belt course below 1st storey windows, E, S and W elevations. Quoins on all corners. Concrete lintels over 1st storey windows, concrete sills below all 2nd storey windows. Substantial brick chimneys.
* * *
Turn of the century school house, red brick with main entrance highlighted with concrete.
Interior: The building is home to a considerable number of community arts organizations and contains an art gallery which features regional artists.
Environment: The Bowman Arts Centre is located on the southeast edge of Lethbridge's downtown business district at 811 - 5 Avenue South. The streetscape is relatively open, thus affording excellent views of the structure. The province's first Kindergarten, now the Pemmican Club, is situated next door. Commercial
Condition:
Alterations: N/A

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Cornerstone laid
1912/08/21
Usage: Usage Date:
Regional Centre, for Domestic Science and Manual Arts. Manual Training School
Secondary School
Elementary School
Community Arts Centre
Allied Arts Council
1912/10/10
1915/01/01
1929/01/01
1965/01/01
1967/11/01
Owner: Owner Date:
School Board
City of Lethbridge.
1911/01/01
1967/01/01
Architect: H.M. and W.A. Whiddington
Builder: Smith Bros. & Wilson
Craftsman: N/A
History: The Bowman Arts Centre is a two storey brick structure with a slightly bell-cast hipped roof and interesting classical detailing in the projecting central bay. It served various educational functions until 1963, when it was taken over by the Allied Arts Council in Lethbridge. The building opened originally as the Lethbridge Manual Training School. It was constructed in 1912, at a cost of $40,000, to serve as a regional centre for the teaching of domestic science and manual arts. It was the first school in Alberta to be built specifically for this purpose but continued as a Manual Training School only until 1915. It was used as the Lethbridge High School from 1915 to 1928 when it was reduced to an elementary school and renamed in honour of Charles B. Bowman, a prominent Lethbridge businessman. The School continued to occupy the building until 1967, when it was purchased by the City of Lethbridge. At this time, the Allied Arts Council moved into the building and it became known as the 'Bowman Arts Centre'. It continues to be used as a community arts centre. The Bowman School was built on a reduced scale compared to many of the educational buildings of the period which were often three stories in height. This is due perhaps to its role as a technical school, with a limited enrollment, and less need for the regular environment of public schools. The bungalow schools built in Calgary, such as Balmoral Bungalow School (1913) were also percieved as not being full- fledged schools and their scale and massing are very similar to Bowman. Earl Kitchener School (1916) in Medicine Hat shows the same effect. Buildings of related design came to be known as Collegiate Gothic in the late 19th century and many such schools followed a popular trend to the extensive use of classical detailing. The Bowman Arts Centre is a small but well-detailed example of this trend.

* * *
Bowman Arts Centre 811 - 5th Avenue South In 1911, the Provincial Department of Education allocated funds for a manual training school. The Lethbridge school was the first manual training facility in the province. Local architects H.M. and W.A. Whiddington designed the building. Construction costs totalled $40,000 and an additional $20,000 was expended on equipment. On August 21, 1912 the Minister of Education, the Honourable John R. Boyle, laid the cornerstone for the the new school, and on October 10, the Duke of Connaght, Governor General of Canada, offically opened the building. The school was described as 'one of the best in Canada' and offered adult night classes in addition to manual training courses for grades 6 to 10. The building also accommodated the school board offices and board room. The building is 100 feet by 60 feet, and consists of two storeys with a partial basement. In 1915, the school's funds and teaching staff were reduced and vocational classes were terminated. The building was renovated as a high school until 1928. From 1929 to 1963 it was known as the Bowman elementary school. C.B. Bowman, owner of the Acadia Block, was an early Lethbridge businessman. The City of Lethbridge purchase the building from the School Board in 1963, and currently it is leased by the Allied Arts Council. The building is home to a considerable number of community arts organizations and contains an art gallery which features regional artists.

* * *
The Bowman Arts Centre In 1911, the decision was taken by Alberta's Department of Education to build a manual training school in Lethbridge. It was to serve as a regional centre for the teaching of domestic science and manual arts. At the time there were two other schools in the province offering these courses, the Calgary Normal School and the Camrose Normal School, but Lethbridge was the first school to be built specifically for these purposes. In 1913, the Edmonton Technical School was built to serve the northern portion of the province.
H.M. and W.A. Whiddington, local architects, were engaged to design the building. A contemporary newspaper article stated that the school was to be 110' x 60' two storeys with a full basement. There were to be two rooms for manual trainig, one for woodwork and one for metal, and two for household science which included cooking and sewing. The building was erected at a cost of $40,000 and equipped for an additional $20,000.
Tenders concerned with the furnishing of the new school were considered at a special meeting of the school board held September 17, 1912. Smith Bros. and Wilson were awarded the contract for the benches and seats at a price of $240. Other contracts were awarded to the Hayr Hardware Co. and the J.M. Hendry Co. of Toronto. The Grand Rapids Hand Screw Co. were given the contract for twenty-five manual training benches, which fully equipped cost $15 each.
The school was, in fact, built as a low two-storey structure faced in red stretcher bond brick and capped by a slightly bellcast hip roof. The first storey is partially sunken in the ground and edged by a partial base of rock faced sandstone laid in a broken course. The school's predominantly horizontal massing is emphasized by the banded windows, continuous linking stone sills, and stone banding at the corners. Balanced against this horizontal thrust, the projecting central bay is topped by a parapet extension. The surface of the central bay is dramatized by the play of light and shadow. The plasticity of the surface and the importance of the entrance area are emphasized by the Ionic columns which support an entablature with a modillioned cornice. The doorway is capped by a stone round headed hood with returns supported on consoles. The parapet extension is capped by stone coping and is domanted by a thermal or Diocletian window, which is semi-circular and divided into three lights by two vertical mullions. Narrow vertical windows flank the entrance and contribute to the central vertical tension which contrasts with the horizontal massing of the structure.
The school is not on the same scale as many educational buildings of the period in Alberta which were often three stories in height. This is due perhaps to its role as a technical school, with a limited enrollment and less need for the regular environment of regular schools. The bungalow schools built in Calgary in the same period, such as Balmoral Bungalow School (1913) were also perceived as not being full-fledged schools, and their scale and massing are very similar to Bowman. Similarly Earl Kitchener School (1916) in Medicine Hat shows the same effect. Buildings of related design came to be known as Collegiate Gothic in the late 19th century. While many schools in Alberta have the roughly Gothic look which this style espoused, many also followed another popular trend to extensive use of classical detailing. The Bowman Arts Centre is a small but well-detailed example of this trend.
On August 21, 1912 the Minister of Education, the Honourable John R. Boyle laid the cornerstone for the new school and stated that, 'Lethbridge must pay attention to the utilitarian side of education, and in erecting school solely for that purpose at the start, the City of Lethbridge is setting a new record in the province.' The official opening occured on October 10, 1912 in the presence of the Duke of Connaught, then Governor General of Canada.
In 1913, the Manual Training School was acclaimed to be '... the last word in school construction, ... the finest manual training school in the province and at the same time one of the best in Canada.' The school offered a grades 6 to 10 programme of domestic science for the girls and woodworking and machine shop courses for the boys, while adult night classes were also offered in vocational subjects. In addition the building housed the school board offices and the board room.
In 1915, as a result of the economic impact of World War I, the school's funds and teaching staff were greatly strained. Vocational classes were ended, and after appropriate renovations, the building reopened as the Lethbridge High School, a function which it served until 1928. In 1929 it was reduced to an elementary school and renamed in honour of Charles B. Bowman, a prominent Lethbridge businessman. Bowman had worked as a clerk for the H. Bently Company and in 1891, began the C.B. Bowman Insurance Agency. He was also extensively involved in civic affairs, serving as an alderman, a director of the Board of Trade and as a school board member. The school continued to occupy the building until 1963, when it was purchased by the City of Lethbridge.
The Allied Arts Council moved into the building after the purchase, when the City of Lethbridge spent $12,000 on minimal improvements. It became known as the Bowman Arts Centre. In 1980, Bailey Consultants published, Encore: Recycling Public Buildings for the Arts.

Internal

Status: Status Date:
Active
Active
1979/01/01
2004/01/08
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
1982/03/19
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1989/06/22

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0485
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