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Key Number: HS 17721
Site Name: South Side Post Office
Other Names:
Site Type: 1206 - Communications: Post Office

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
52 24 4


Address: 10501 - 82 Avenue
Number: 1
Street: 105
Avenue: 82
Other:
Town: Edmonton
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style:
Plan Shape: Rectangular Long Facade
Storeys: Storeys: 2
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Metal
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Flat
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Number of Bays - Facade: First or Ground Floor, 5 Bays
Number of Bays - Facade: Second Floor, 5 Bays
Exterior: The Strathcona Public Building is a square, two storey steel frame and brick structure faced with red stretcher bond brick and Tyndall limestone. There is a one storey wing to the rear. The two main facades are each divided into five bays by stone pilasters supporting the stone entablature and parapet. The end bays are more elaborately detailed and the front angle bays develop into a stone clad tower, which ends in a pyramidal roof whose eaves become a semi-circular reveal around the clock face. The ground floor windows are round headed and capped radiating voussoirs.
Corner Clock Tower. Stone trim date stone. 2 storey pilaster strips.
Radiating voussoirs entablature
Interior: N/A
Environment: Neighbourhood: Queen Alexandra The post office is located on the southwest corner of Whyte Avenue and 105 Street. It is surrounded by commercial buildings and parking lots. Originally part of the downtown core of the city of Strathcona, the post office is presently located within the bounds of the Old Strathcona Conservation Area. Lot 54' x Frontage 100' deep. Situated on a corner lot.
Condition:
Alterations: 1914-15 - tower replaced with a higher one. 1948 - south wing added.

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Body of building complete
Tower removed and replaced.
Construction began.
1913/01/01
1914/01/01
1989/01/06
Usage: Usage Date:
Federal Public Building
Public market
Post Office


1911/01/01
Owner: Owner Date:
His Majesty King Edward VII
His Majesty the King in the right of the Dominion of Canada.
City of Edmonton
Clarion Hospitality Industries Ltd.
1909/05/10
1947/01/08
1983/03/31
1986/01/10
Architect: David Ewart
Builder: M.A. Piggott and Sons
Craftsman: Clock (by Midland Clock WorksDerby) installed by W. Reynolds.
History: Plans began in May, 1908 for the construction of a new, larger post office in the city of Strathcona. Land was purchased by the federal government from Dr. S. Archibold in May, 1909. Construction began in 1910 and was completed in late 1911. The official opening took place on July 1, 1912. A one storey wing to the south was built at the time of construction, and another was added to the west in 1948. The post office function was moved to another location in November, 1976, and the building has since been vacant.

This building was the second post office for Strathcona - the first, a frame structure a block east of the second site, had become too small for the growing city. The significance of the Old South Edmonton Post Office lies more in its architecture than its history, and in this respect it is a distinctive building in both the city and the province. It is built of brick, with a corner clock tower, extensive stone trim, arched windows with voussoirs, and a pronounced entablature. The four-faced clock, imported from England, is unique in Edmonton. Although the building is vacant, the continuing operation of the clock adds to its prominence along Whyte Avenue. The only other similar building in the province is in Lethbridge.

1908 May: need new post office in Strathcona
1909 May: site purchaseed
1911 June: 18 Contract
1976 November: Post office Closed Windows boarded up Not shown in 1910 Henderson but in 1913 - Address was 142 Whyte Avenue West
*****
1 July 1912: post office , 2 Customs and Inland Revenues Office opened. South wing was added in 1948. Post office closed in November 1970. Site was vacant for ten years. Clarion hospitality industries renovated and opened 'Strathcona Square' in 1986. Designated a Provincial Historical Resource in 1985 by Alberta Culture.

Construction of the Strathcona Public Building began in 1911. It was a project of the federal Department of Public Works and was intended to accommodate the community's post office as well as the offices of the Customs and Inland Revenue Bureaus. Various delays were experienced as the project proceeded, causing the citizens of Strathcona to express concern over the priority of federal buildings programmes. Finaly, in 1913 the building was completed.

The design of the Strathcona Public Building is typical of the federal post office structures of the period. It was similar to, but smaller and more restrained than the post office erected across the river in Edmonton in 1907-10 (since demolished). The main features if this design are the giant order pilasters which rise the full height of the two storey building, the oversized voussoirs surrounding the ground floor windows, and the clock tower with its pyramdial roof. This Edwardian classical revival building is one of the most formal and certainly the most sophisticated of the existing structures in the Strathcona area. Designated a Provincial Historical Resource in 1985, the Strathcona Public Building now functions as a public market featuring various boutiques and restaurants.

***
Construction began on October 1, 1910, on the new post office for Strathcona. The contractor Mr. William Garson of Calgary died during the early months of 1911 and work on the building came to a halt.

After much consultation by officials the contract was awarded to the next lowest bidder Piggott and Sons of Hamilton, Ontario. Other delays were forthcoming. In July 1912 six months after the building was ready for its interior fittings it was discovered that officials in Ottawa had neglected to place them on order. However, furniture from the old Post Office was utilized and the new Post Office was opened in the summer of 1912. The clock weighing 4200 lbs. arrived from England on February 15, 1913.

The exterior of the building is constructed of brick and stone.

Windows at the ground floor ar semicircular at the top with a unique decorative surrounding. The interior contains a full basement currently used for storage, the main floor which is the post office, and a second floor divided into twelve rooms. Each floor including the basement contains a vault in direct vertical alignment.

* * *
STRATHCONA POST OFFICE (1912) 'Capacious' Edifice Reopens
With the rejuvenation of the Old Strathcona Post Office in 1986, another block was laid in the redevelopment of Whyte Avenue's historic streetscape. After 10 years of cobwebs, dust, and boarded windows, the old post office emerged as Strathcona Square.

Inside the two-storey edifice there is a merry assortment of merchants peddling everything from food to flowers to art. It's all a far cry from the lack-lustre digs last occupied there by the post office in 1976. The cleansed facade of Tyndall stone with red stretcher bond bricks is set off with green accents, oak doors, canopies, and etched and stained glass windows.

The building was purchased from the city by Clarion Hospitality Industries in 1985. The redevelopment bill was tallied at $5 million, plus another $3 million in leasehold improvements.

A new roof caps off the old clock, a skylight extends to the north sidewalk and provides light for basement vendors, and a glass wall provided elevator passengers and passersby with views of each other.

The wings were elevated to two storeys. The 27,000-square-foot interior sported white and green ceramic tiling, and pink, green, and white plaster embellishments.

Times were more economically promising when the building first opened as the Strathcona Post Office in 1912. The size and style of the building is said to reflect the confidence of the expansionist period prior to the First World War.

It was designed by department of public works architects under the direction of David Ewart. The design was a compromise between stone structures in Lethbridge and Vancouver, and plain brick editions built in smaller towns.

The two facades are divided into five bays by stone pilasters which support stone entablatures and the parapet. The stone clad clock tower dominates the north west corner with its pyramidal roof while its eaves form a semi-circle around the clock face. The south wing was built in 1911, while the west wing was built in 1948.

It is considered a departure from the usual attenuated Romanesque Style of post office architecture, with the clock tower being the only motif shared by this building and the more common Romanesque variety.

The decorative detailing follows the symmetrical, logical classicism of the Beaux-Arts Style, and the building is considered a nationally-significant example of the transition towards the Beaux-Arts Style.

Strathcona citizenry and their board of trade started earnest lobbying for a new post office as early as 1908. Construction finally began in 1911. The Strathcona Plaindealer called it 'handsome and capacious' upon its opening. The Edmonton Bulletin noted that 'it is also most becoming that the first grant annual amalgamation celebration.' For it was on that date the fair city of Strathcona joined Edmonton.

The clock was made by the Midland Clock Works in Derby, England. It finally arrived in Fegruary 1913, but caused quite a commotion when the clock wouldn't fit the space. Another 10 feet were added to the tower to accommodate the clock.

It was eventually installed by Whyte Avenue jeweller M. Reynolds.

The clock's displacements were impressive enough at the time to warrant blow-by-blow desription: overall weight of 4,200 pounds, a 350-pound striker, a dial with a diametre of four feet, six inches, an 800-pound bell, and seven-pound hands.

The building was designated a Provincial Historic Resource by Alberta Culture in 1985.

* * *
BUILDING DESCRIPTION CONDITION: A two-storey building of brick and stone, with a clock tower in the northeast corner. One storey wings to the south and west. Structurally sound and good repair. The windows were boarded up after the building was vacated.

SITE HISTORY: Plans began in May, 1908 for the constuction of a new, larger post office in the city of Stathcona. Land was purchased by the federal government from Dr. S. Archibald in May, 1909.

Construction began in 1910 and was completed in late 1911. The official opening took place on July 1, 1912. A one storey wing to the south was built at the time of construction, and another was added to the west in 1948. The post office function was moved to another location in November, 1976, and the building has since been vacant.

HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE: This building was the second post office for Strathcona - the first, a frame structure a block east of the second site, had become too small for the growing city. The significance of the Old South Edmonton Post Office lies more in its architecture than its history, and in this respect it is a distinctive building in both the city and the province. It is built of brick, with a corner clock tower, extensive stone trim, arched windows with voussoirs, and a pronounced entablature. The four-faced clock, imported from England, is unique in Edmonton. Although the building is vacant, the continuing operation of the clock adds to its prominence along Whyte Avenue. The only other similar building in the province is in Lethbridge.

HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE: This building is of minor historical importance. It was the second post office for Strathcona, and was built during that city's peak period of development. There was a minor political scandal concerning a federal government oversight during construction.

ARCHITECTURAL IMPORTANCE: This building is important architecturally because of its type, style, and its basically unaltered exterior appearance. It is one of two similar post offices remaining in Alberta (the other one is in Lethbridge), and is one of Whyte Avenue's most prominent buildings. The style of the building is a typical, but simplified version of the 'corner tower' post office, with classical details. Built primarily of brick, the post office has extensive stone trim: voussoirs, two storey pilaster strips, a pronounced entablature and rusticated stone base. It has a flat roof with parapet, and bracketed continuous sills. The clock tower has a pyramidal tin-covered roof with a finial. The timepiece, which has four faces, was imported from England in 1913, and is the only one of its type in Edmonton. (The only other one was removed from the old downtown post office before the building was demolished.)

SITE ENVIRONMENT: The post office is located on the southwest corner of Whyte Avenue and 105 Street. It is surrounded by commercial buildings and parking lots. Originally part of the downtown core of the city of Stathcona, the post office is presently located within the bounds of the Old Strathcona Conservation Area.

CONDITION OF SITE, STRUCTURE OR BUILDING: The exterior of the post office is unaltered (except for the boarded up windows), and in good repair. The clock is kept in good working order. The interior of the building is in good condition and structurally sound.

Internal

Status: Status Date:
Abandoned
Active
1977/01/01
1993/09/28
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Municipal A List
Provincial Historic Resource

1985/02/12
Register: A82
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1989/08/03

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0507
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