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Key Number: HS 14431
Site Name: C.A. Magrath 'Riverview' Residence
Other Names:
Site Type: 0101 - Residential: Single Dwelling


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
9 21 4

Address: 109 - 7 Avenue S
Number: 9
Street: 1 S
Avenue: 7 S
Town: Lethbridge
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Style: Georgian Revival
Plan Shape: Rectangular Long Facade
Storeys: Storeys: 2
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Stone
Superstructure: Nailed Frame
Superstructure Cover: Brick - Bond: Stretcher
Roof Structure: High Gable
Roof Cover: Asphalt Shingle
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Single Detached
Wings: Either Side
Wings: Front, Rear and Both Sides
Number of Bays - Facade: First or Ground Floor, 1 Bay
Number of Bays - Facade: Second Floor, 1 Bay
Wall Design and Detail: None
Wall Design and Detail: Skirt-Roof
Wall Design and Detail: Decorative Brick
Wall Design and Detail: Upper Storey Door
Roof Trim - Eaves: Plain Soffit
Roof Trim - Eaves: Moulded Frieze
Roof Trim Material - Eaves: Wood
Roof Trim - Verges: Plain Soffit
Roof Trim Material - Verges: Wood
Towers, Steeples and Domes: None
Towers, Steeples and Domes Location-Side to Side: None
Towers, Steeples and Domes Location-Front to Rear: None
Dormer Type: Gable
Dormer Type: None
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Offset Left
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Offset Front
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Rear
Chimney Stack Material: Brick
Chimney Stack Massing: None
Chimney Stack Massing: 2 or More, Attached at Bottom
Roof Trim - Special Features: None
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Plain Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Voussoirs
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Wood
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Brick
Window - Sill Type: Plain Slip Sill
Window - Sill Type: Plain Lug Sill
Window - Sill Material: Wood
Window - Sill Material: Plaster or Stucco
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Plain
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Window - Number of Sashes: One
Window - Number of Sashes: Two, Double Hung
Window - Opening Mechanism: Single or Double Hung
Window - Special Types: None
Window - Special Types: Triangular
Window - Pane Arrangements: 2 over 2
Main Entrance - Location: Centre (Facade)
Main Entrance - Location: Not on Facade
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Plain Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Wood
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Plain
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Side Lights
Main Entrance - Number of Leaves: 1
Main Entrance - Number of Panels Per Leaf: 1
Main Entrance - Leaves - Special Feature: Carved or Decorated
Main Stairs - Location and Design: First or Ground Floor, Without Railing
Main Stairs - Location and Design: First or Ground Floor, Closed Railing
Main Stairs - Direction: Straight
Main Porch - Type: Closed Porch
Main Porch - Special Features: None
Main Porch - Material: Concrete
Main Porch - Height: First Storey
Exterior: Foundation: concrete and rock mortar.
Covering: brick painted.
Roof Type: high hip except for gable ends on south, east and west sides.
Roof Covering: Asphalt Vinyl Shingles (recent)
Plan Shape: irregular; concrete block garage on southwest side; extension (one storey) on north side.
Number of Storeys: 2, very high storey's.

2 high brick chimneys, lots of double hung, 4 panel windows; decorative shingle siding on gable ends; lugsills beneath each window; Georgian type style.
A hipped roof, gable dormers, mullioned windows and wooden shingles.
The exterior has been painted but the brick seems able to be cleaned. Every brick, piece of lumber, and all interior finishings were brought to Lethbridge from Ontario.
* * *
Old farm house style with many new additions; well matched old and new.
Interior: 1st floor - 7 rooms; 2nd floor - 7 rooms. 'Large living room, formal dining room, family room, tea room, loft library, four bedrooms with large dressing area and sunken bath off master bedroom. Wood burning fireplace.'
Environment: Lot size: 100 feet by 210 feet. The building occupies a landmark position high on the west bank of the Oldman River near Lethbridge's downtown core in the famous London Road district. Formerly location called Brunton Street. Is at west extremes of 7 Avenue S. overlooking the Oldman River. Originally river view property was more expansive than it is now. Large wire fence around front yard; lots of trees; frontyard slopes to south. * * * Pie shaped lot; facing coulee; stamped concrete driveway; mature landscaping.
Condition: The building is in excellent condition and the foundations are sound. Good (2004)
Alterations: Numerous alterations. Renovations in 1929 when the structure was converted to apartments have altered somewhat the historic nature of both the interior and exterior. Renovated 1981-1982. Additions: garage, bay windows, gazebo.


Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Completed
Usage: Usage Date:
Owner: Owner Date:
C.A. Magrath
A.F. Coneybeare
M. Kocsis
Julia Fischer
Tren Holdings Ltd.
Lorenz C. Carlson
Bank of British Columbia
Arthur Noel Larson
Architect: N/A
Builder: C.A. Magrath
Craftsman: N/A
History: After many alterations the address is probably changed: (negative 84-R65-21 shows the number 110). Also Lot is 2 and Plan is 5883GF according to the Gordon Smiley Form. (T.G.)
1894 - home purchased by C.F.P. Coneybeare of Coneybeare, Church, McArthur and Davidson, Barristers and Solicitors.
1929 - home converted into 3 apartment units, one which 1929. Home converted into 3 apartment units, one which was lived in until 1941 by Mrs. Ethel Conyberare (1937-1941). Mrs. Conybeare died in 1941.
1942 - sold by Conybeare Eastes to H.N. Becker.
1914 - Charles F.P. Coneybeare lived at Riverview. Bruce Coneyberare also lived there as well as Ethel Conybeare. Dr. C.F.P. Conybeare was a Lethbridge City Solicitor for 20 years. He was born in England, and was an early member of the Alberta bar. One of first prestigious homes built in Lethbridge. Located in London Road Neighbourhood, westend of 7 Avenue South.
* * *
Building/Site Description:
The 'C.A. Magrath House' is a two storey brick building with a hipped roof. It is basically a cube with three projecting wings of two stories and one of one storey. One of the two storey wings has a gable dormer. The use of mullioned windows and wooden shingles give the building an English aspect, although its basic configuation is far from typical. The house sits at the east end of the London Road district high above the Oldman River with a spectacular view across the valley to the University of Lethbridge. Open to view on two sides the house is flanked by other later structures and there is no apparent front door to the building. Some exterior renovation was undertaken in 1929 when the building was converted to apartments.

Historical Significane:
The house at 109 - 7th Street was built in 1892 by C.A. Magrath. Magrath had moved to Lethbridge in 1885 to work as a surveyor and land agent for the North West Coal and Navigation Company of Sir Alexander and Elliot Galt. He quickly established himself among the elite of the town, became the president of the first Board of Trade and the town's first mayor. After the tragic death of his wife, Magrath sold the house to C.F. Coneybeare, a local lawyer.
It was largely through Magrath's efforts that the Mormons first moved to Alberta and undertook the province's first large scale irrigation project that was to bring settlers to the arid south. Upon his retirement, Magrath had an impressive list of honours and chairmanships, including a membership in the Royal Society of Canada.

Architectural Significance:
Although built in 1892, the 'C.A. Magrath House' is not completely typical of late Victorian domestic architecture. While its high verticality is typical, its massing, hipped roof and small projecting wings capped by gables that abut the building are unusual. This eccentricity suggests that the owner might habe been involved in its design. If indeed Magrath did design the building, it is obvious that his desire for a view was greater that his concern for style. The building is ideally suited to its location as it commands fine views of the river. The house is still a landmark in Lethbridge.
* * *

C.A. Magrath Residence

The community of Lethbridge is unusual: it now serves as an agricultural service centre, but it started as a coal mining town, the product of the entrepreneurial ambition of Sir Alexander Galt and his son Elliot.
By this time, Charles Alexander Magrath had been appointed Land Agent for the N.W.C. N.Co. thus beginning the long standing relationship between Magrath and the Galts. Magrath was born at North Augusta, Upper Canada in 1860, the son of Bolton and Laura Magrath. His father was a superintendent of schools for the area. In 1866 the family moved to Aylmer, Quebec wher his father continued his career in education. At the age of sixteen, yound Charles secured a job as a sessional clerk in the House of Commons, after completing his education under the formal tutorship of his father who as a Dominion Land Surveyor had also prepared him for his surveyor's exams which he passed in 1878. It was the interest in surveying that ultimately brought Magrath west having tired quickly of the tedious and long petty duties of a sessional clerk. In the spring of 1878 he joined the western survey party of J.S. Dennis, D.L.S., but by 1882 was in charge of his own crew. He continued to work the Geological Survey of Canada until 1885, in ample time for the official opening of the new railway in September.
Magrath was intially involved in the social and political activities of this group of young easterners during the years after 1885. He became a Warden of St. Augustine Anglican Church, served as the town's first meteorologist and was chairman of the Board of Trade.
... ...
As the first Chairman, C.A. Magrath became in essence the town's first mayor.
The candidates for mayor of the new town in the 1891 election were C.A. Magrath and William Stafford, 'the workingman's candidate;' but Stafford's nomination was withdrawn later because he lived outside the town. Magrath became mayor in law as he had been in fact and made his inaugurial address on February 3, 1891 stressing the town's great future. Magrath added a N.W.C. N. Co. contribution to the town's coffers, neglecting to mention that he was an employee or the fact that the Company was to be exempt from taxes for the next 20 years.

In November of the same year, Magrath was acclaimed to yet another public office, when he became the local member in the Legislative Assembley at Regina, a responsibility which increasingly took him away from the town. Shortly after, Magrath stepped out of the Mayor's office preferring to devote his attention to the work of the Territiorial Government.

Magrath had married Margaret Holmes White Mair of Lethbridge in 1887 and on January 9, 1889, their first son, Bolton, was born. In the fall of the following year (1890) the 'Local News' section of the News announced that construction had commenced on the foundation of Magrath's house on the River bank. Initially the house was to be of stone, but the plans were changed and the house was built of brick at an estimated cost of $5,000. The builder was Lethbridge's most prominent contractor, Thomas Henderson, who built his own house a few blocks to the east of London Road. According to the News, Magrath's house was of a large unusual design, quite apart from the mainstream of building design both in the West and Eastern Canada. The building is a two storey, brick structure with a hipped roof and dormer windows, which project onto what appear to be small additions to the building. This appearance is deceptive, however, as historical photographs reveal that these abutments were part of the original plan. The house originally had a small glazed verandah but this has been completely altered. The use of millioned windows and brick arches and shingles gave the building an English flavour.

The unusual appearance of the Magrath house and the lack of any information on the designer may indicated that Magrath himself had considerable input into the as-built product. Certainly the oddly projecting sections of the house take full advantage of the views that were available of the river valley and the surrounding countryside.

Unfortunately, Magrath's years in the house were unhappy ones. His wife died on June 12, 1892 only a month after giving birth to their second child, Magrath then sent the two children to his parents in Aylmer, but the baby died in August and eventually Magrath exchanged houses in 1894 with A.F. Coneybeare, Lethbridge's first lawyer.
Through the 1890s, Magrath devoted more and more time to his political career and held his seat in the Legislative Assembly from 1891 to 1898. At the same time he retained his position with the Galt firm, which had been renamed the Alberta Railway and Coal Company. It was as land agent with this firm that he had fist realized the potential for irrigation in southern Alberta. As early as 1887, he had been in contact with Mormon Church in Salt Lake City to test thier interest in cheap land in southern Alberta in exchange for work on the irrigation canals. At this point, however, the potential settlers could not get the backing of the church and the contract was not acted upon.

Magrath chose to work full time on the promotion of irrigation in Alberta. During the next few years he brought irrigation to the City of Lethbridge and with the Mormons established sugar beet farming in southern Alberta.

In 1899, Magrath married Elliott Galt's sister, Mabel Lilias. They settled in Lethbridge where the new offices of the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company had been completed in 1898. ... Magrath finally moved back to the east in 1912 and worked as a 'dollar a year man' during the First World War. He then joined Ontario Hydro as Chairman from 1925 to 1931. He became a member of the Royal Society of Canada in 1928.

Coneybeare sold the house in 1929 when it was divided into three flats. Its brick facing has since been painted, but the basic massing of Magrath's gracious house on the river bank remains esentially unaltered.
* * *
Alberta Culture News Release
July 14, 1982 Edmonton, Alberta

The home of C.A. Magrath, the first Mayor of Lethbridge, is now designated Historic Resource, announced the Honourable Mary J. LeMessurier, Minister of Culture.

The residence was constructed in 1892, seven years after Magrath moved to Lethbridge to work as a surveyor and land agent for the North West Coal and Navigation Company. It sits at the east end of the historic London Road district. Although built during the late Victorian era, the house is not completely typical of the period's domestic architecture.

Eccentricities such as the hipped roof and small projecting wings capped by gables abut the structure. These unusual features suggest that Magrath himself may have been involved in the design, reflecting his concern for a view rather than style. The residence is ideally suited to its location commanding a spectacular view of the Oldman River.


Status: Status Date:
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
WANG 1983/05/27


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0188
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