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Key Number: HS 16196
Site Name: Ravina Apartments
Other Names:
Site Type: 0101 - Residential: Single Dwelling
0104 - Residential: Apartment Building

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
52 24 4


Address: 10325 Villa Avenue
Number: 25
Street: 126
Avenue: Villa
Other:
Town: Edmonton
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style:
Plan Shape: Rectangular
Storeys: Storeys: 2 1/2
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Brick
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: High Hip
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes:
Exterior: Projecting front piece with gable roof; two storey corner bay with gable roof; several corbelled chimneys; semicircular windows; corbelling in brick work; lugsills; verandahs, balconys; gable dormers; hipped gable.
The exterior shell of this building consists of eight inches of solid brick plus another four inches of exterior brick veneer. The exterior brick work displays a high quality of craftmanship. Its surface is clean except for the bottom of most window sills which may require cleaning. Aside from the missing original west porch and balcony, the exterior of the building displays a very high degree of original fabric. Structurally, it is sound and stable. The foundation exhibits no major settlement, except for minor movement indicated on the northeast corner by a small crack, visible above the main floor window lintel. This movement is considered very mild and permanent.
Hip roof with front gable projection; arched front gable entry porch with keystone and square tapered columns; double assembly; double hung wooden sash with arched feature window; 2 storey cut-away corner at northeast.
Gabled and dormered roof; undecorated cornices; unique windows front facade.
Interior: N/A
Environment:
Condition:
Alterations:

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Purchased lots
Construction began.
1911/01/01
1912/01/01
Usage: Usage Date:
Residence
1912/01/01
Owner: Owner Date:
Malcom Groat
William Tretheway
Rober P. Inglis
Peter E. Buthcart
The Great West Land Company Ltd.
John Robert McIntosh
Gordon Francis Cairnie
Grace McBian McIntosh
Astral Agencies Limited
Better Asher White
Lillian Kline
Alfons Heine & Elizabeth Heine
Francois Morin
T.A. McPherson Professional Corporation.
1887/05/13
1905/04/04
1905/11/12
1906/03/17
1907/12/03
1911/05/10
1917/11/05
1921/08/15
1927/08/04
1941/06/17
1944/06/03
1955/03/25
1959/04/01
1978/05/17
Architect: Alfred Calderon
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: John R. McIntosh moved from Colorado to Edmonton in 1902 and held various positions such as clerk, bookkeeper, investor and real estate developer. He purchased two lots overlooking Groat Ravine in 1911. In 1912 he engaged A.M. Calderon, a local architect, to design a large residence for him to front on Villa Avenue. The structure contained some fifteen rooms and approximately 2000 square feet. Its size and location befitted the community of land/real estate speculators that played such a large role in the physical development of the city prior to World War I.
The building remained in use as a private residence until 1920, when McIntosh had it converted into a revenue property, calling it the Ravina Apartments. The structure continued in this capacity until 1980 when it was purchased by the McPherson family. It was subsequently renovated and returned to use as a private residence.

* * * * *
This brick building was built by John McIntosh, head of the Hudson's Bay Land Department in the early years of the century. McIntosh is said to have been responsible for placing the Hudson's Bay Reserve on the market in 1912 and so bringing to a peak, the great land boom of 1911-1912. This house is a prime example of the red-brick type of architecture so predominant during this period. Old-timers will recall the time when Edmonton was known as the 'red brick city'. In the winter, these red brick buildings brought a warm color to the white snow cover, a characteristic which has completely disappeared.

* * *
MCINTOSH HOUSE (1912) Mansion Restored to Former Grandeur
A three-storey brick mansion on the east bank of the Groat Ravine has been restored to its traditional grandeur.
The house is in an area once known as Robber's Roost due to the large number of monied residents with lavish homes. From 1920 to 1978, the house was known as the Ravina Apartments, due to its proximity to the Groat Ravine.
Built in 1912 on two lots for real estate tycoon John Robert McIntosh, the house was subdivided into seven one-bedroom suites in 1920 by McIntosh and his wife, who continued to live there until 1927. They then moved to a smaller house across the street.
McIntosh, who came to Edmonton in 1902, had the house designed by architect Alfred Marigon Calderon who also counted LeMarchand Mansion and Sheriff Robertson House among his credits.
McIntosh later speculated on a 320-acre farm in what was to become Calder. Until his retirement in 1946 he was a land agent for the Hudson's Bay Company. As land agent, he helped promote the fateful company land sale of 1912, which contributed to the depreciation of real estate in the recession following the First World War.
McIntosh house was last purchased by Alex and Anne McPherson in 1978 for $95,000. About $250,000 later, the McPhersons and their four children were living in a refurbished six-bedroom house with about 5,500 square feet.
Most of the renovations were carried out from 1980 to 1982. New wiring and plumbing were put in, some 100 window panes replaced and the brass light fixtures, fittings, moldings and trim restored.
Alberta Culture designated it a Provincial Historic Resource in 1982 at the McPherson's request.
The main floor features oak flooring, panelling, sculpted trim and a combined living and dining room, with three cathedral-style windows.
Original oak French doors abound, complete with bevelled glass panes which split the sunlight into rainbows of color. The second floor has maple flooring, five bedrooms and a rear sundeck. The walls of the house are made of 24 centimetres of brick plus another 10 centimetres of exterior brick veneer, which Alberta Culture describes as displaying high quality craftsmanship.

* * *
BUILDING/SITE DESCRIPTION: The two and a half storey house known as Ravina Apartments is a large rectangular red brick structure, with a rather complex roofline. The house is situated on the edge of the Groat Ravine, with its main orientation toward the north and Villa Avenue. It is surrounded by other large residences and the district is one of the better preserved residential neighbourhoods, close to the downtown core.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: John R. McIntosh moved from Colorado to Edmonton in 1902 and held various positions such as clerk, bookkeeper, investor and real developer. He purchased two lots overlooking Groat Ravine in 1911.
In 1912 he engaged A.M. Calderon, a local architect, to design a large residence for him to front on Villa Avenue. The structure contained some fifteen rooms and approximately 2000 square feet. Its size and location befitted the community of land/real estate speculators that played such a large role in the physical development of the city prior to World War I.
The building remained in use as a private residence until 1920, when McIntosh had it converted into a revenue property, calling it the Ravina Apartments. The structure continued in this capacity until 1980 when it was purchased by the McPherson family. It was subsequently renovated and returned to use as a private residence.
ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE: The designer of the McIntosh Residence, A.M. Calderon, was one of Edmonton's most prominent and prolific architects during the boom of 1908-14. The McIntosh Residence is one of a series of luxurious homes which made this area one of Edmonton's most desirable residential enclaves. Calderon designed the house in an appropriately large and well detailed manner and the result is a large, square, handsome red brick house constructed by local craftsmen of local materials. It remains as one of the larger and, architecturally, more interesting buildings in the Villa Avenue area.

* * *
McINTOSH RESIDENCE (RAVINA APARTMENTS)
A native of Waterfille, Quebec where he was born in 1880, John McIntosh was the son of the Honorable John McIntosh and Janet McIntosh. He received his early education in Waterville and in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
In 1900, McIntosh went to Slater, Colorado, which is eighty miles from Rawline, Wyoming, the nearest railroad centre, and there he obtained a clerical position in a general store owned by a large horse rancher.
Believing that he would find the climate of western Canada as invigorating as that of the American west, McIntosh started for Calgary in April 1902. His financial resources were very limited and he gladly accepted his first job offer as a junior clerk in the retail hardware store of J.H. Ashdown. He saved his money, and in the fall set out for Edmonton.
In Edmonton he secured employment with P. Heininck, then land agent for the Hudson's Bay Company. He served for two years as stenographer, bookkeeper and general clerk.
In 1904 he acquired a section of land from the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and also entered a homestead in the Vegreville district of Alberta. He remained on his land for three years, at which time a generous purchase offer persuaded him to sell and return to Edmonton.
In 1907 McIntosh embarked on a general real estate and brokerage business, specializing in property valuation and private financing.
One of his most successful ventures was the joint purchase of a 320 acre farm immediately adjacent to the shops of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Company. The district eventually housed most of the local employees of this Company and came to be known as Calder.
In 1907 McIntosh married Grace McBean, the daughter of a prominent Montreal grain dealer. Five years later the couple decided to build a family house in the west end of the city. The building boom in Edmonton had given rise to a number of suburban residential developments. The wealthiest of the citizens had begun to locate themselves in the Highlands to the east of the old fort site and in Groat Estate to the west.
McIntosh purchased lots 5 and 6 on Villa Avenue in May 1911 at a cost of $3,000 from James Carruthers of Montreal, who had purchased property from Groat in 1908 and subdivided in 1911, creating the new district of Glenora. Villa Avenue was considered one of the more prestigious streets in the area. Included in his plan were the large estates on the east bank of Groat Ravine, just south of Stoney Plain Road. These were sold to five prominent Edmonton citizens, James Kennedy Cornwall, Oliver Morvat Biggar, H.M.E. Evans, Charles W. Cross and Sidney B. Woods. They drew lots to determine which property each would acquire and built grand 'country' homes on their property among the more modest but still gracious brick homes on Villa Avenue. They seemed to have aroused the suspicions of less well circumstanced Edmontonians who conferred upon the area the name 'Robbers' Row' or 'Robbers' Roost'. It was thus fitting that a man of McIntosh's prominence chose to live on Villa Avenue.
McIntosh engaged A.M. Calderon, a prolific and prominent Edmonton architect, to design a substantial brick residence for him. Calderon was the architect of LeMarchand Mansion, the Edmonton Club, the Park Administration building in Jasper, and residences for several prominent Edmontonians, inluding Messrs, York and Hutton.
Calderon was born in Middlesex, England, on June 7, 1861. He trained with British architect George Edmund Street, R.A. and then with Charles J. Ferguson of Carlisle. Calderon moved to Ottawa in 1891 where he worked for King Arnoldi until 1906, producing designs for several business blocks and private houses. Calderon moved to Edmonton in 1906.
Having engaged a designer for his house, McIntosh applied for a building permit on April 23, 1912. Calderon was listed as architect and G. McGlenaghan as builder. J.C. Sutherland was responsible for the painting and decorating. This information was verified by 1912 grafitti on an interior wall, discovered in 1981, during extensive renovation of the building. A mortgage of $8,000 was issued to McIntosh by the Dominion Life Assurance Company on November 22, 1912.
The resulting structure is a large, square red brick house on a stone foundation constructed by local craftsmen using local materials. The house was originally built with a central hall and the projecting centre bay in the north facade remains as a remnant of this design.
Ravina Apartments has an unusual, and rather complex, roofline.
Basically a hipped roof, the shape is altered considerably by the addition of gable and shed dormers, and large gables on the north and south facades. A shingled roof over the main entrance emphasizes, in both design and materials, the shingled gable which caps the projecting bay. The roofline is also pierced by four chimneys. A variety of window designs adorn the building. The original landscaping still remains.
John McIntosh's real estate business continued to prosper. The year 1912 was a particularly profitable one for Edmonton's land development community, which included 336 real estate agents. McIntosh was one of the most prominent of these. The 1913 Commemorative Issue of the Edmonton Journal described him as 'one of the potent forces that has given to Canada the Beautiful, Progressive City of Edmonton.'
'... This conception of duty well perfomed has been the underlying strata upon which Mr. J.R. McIntosh has constructed the splendid business through which he has been of invaluable aid to Edmonton in securing investments and the developments of its commercial field ...
His name is identified with some of the best business flotations and industries in Alberta. He has constructed a handsome residence on Villa Avenue, and reinvested in that promise profit both to himself and in the advantages they will give Edmonton in its march upward and onward.'
McIntosh continued his real estate business until 1920, when he was appointed land agent in Edmonton for the Hudson's Bay Company. He continued in that post until his retirement in 1946.
In 1912, ownership of the house was registered in the name of his wife Grace, perhaps to guarantee future income for her in the event of John's death.
Two further mortgages were issued to McIntosh in 1920. $16,000 at 8% interest was lent by the Northern Trust Company, Winnipeg and $4,000 at 8% was lent by Gordon Cairnie, Westmont, Quebec. It was at this time that the building was converted into an apartment house, and named the Ravina.
The McIntosh remained in the house, until 1927, at which time it was sold to Astral Agencies for $17,812. In 1941, Betty Asher White purchased the property for $9,000, a price which no doubt reflected the depressed economy. Lillian Kline became the owner in 1944, at a cost of $17,000. In 1966, lots 5 and 6 were subdivided. It was at this time that the west wing of the building was removed. The Klines wished to build a 'modern' bungalow on the second lot, but did not have the necessary clearance. A large two storey portion was therefore removed from the Ravina, a change that contributed somewhat to the complex and quite unusual roofline.
The building was sold three more times, most recently to Doctor T.A.
McPherson, in 1974. The building continued to serve as a rooming house/apartment block until 1980 when the McPhersons began extensive renovations to convert it back to a private residence. It now serves as a private residence for the McPherson family.

Internal

Status: Status Date:
Active
1993/09/20
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Municipal A List
Provincial Historic Resource

1982/08/26
Register: A111
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1989/06/14

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0519
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