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Key Number: HS 22330
Site Name: Rutherford House
Other Names:
Site Type: 0101 - Residential: Single Dwelling
0310 - Educational: Museum or Gallery


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
52 24 4

Address: 11153 Saskatchewan Drive
Number: 53
Street: 111
Town: Edmonton
Near Town:


Type Number Date View
Digital scan of Negative
Digital scan of Negative
Digital scan of Negative
Digital scan of Negative
Digital scan of Negative
Digital scan of Negative
NE corner
SW corner
SW corner
Main entrance


Style: Renaissance Revival
Plan Shape: Irregular
Storeys: Storeys: 2
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Brick
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Medium Gable
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Wall Design and Detail: Stepped Parapet
Wall Design and Detail: Balcony
Wall Design and Detail: Other
Roof Trim - Special Features: Balustrade
Window - Opening Mechanism: Single or Double Hung
Window - Special Types: Bay, Bow or Oriel
Exterior: Plan shape is rectangular with polygonal bays.
Portico entrance, balustrade balcony over entrance, fanlight over balcony door, entrance flanked by two storey bay windows, raised gable ends, wooden sash windows, central stepped gable end, corbelled chimneys, Tuscan columns.
Double hung sash windows. Georgian style pillared balcony at front, windows are of Palladian style.
Interior: Oak panelling and staircase, stained glass skylight. Essentially intact. Steam heating with a coal-fired boiler, a telephone.
Environment: Neighbourhood: Garneau University of Alberta campus. Located across from river bank; many of the trees planted by Rutherford's. A rural secluded area - a 1.25 acre parcel of land bought from Laurent Garneau by A.C. Rutherford in 1909.
Condition: Structure: Good. Repair: Good. 17 FEB 1977.
Alterations: Restored


Construction: Construction Date:
Costruction Started
Usage: Usage Date:
Dr. A. Rutherford, residence
Delta Upsilon Fraternity
U. of A.
Historic Sites & Archives Service Museum
Owner: Owner Date:
Dr. A. Rutherford
University of Alberta
Architect: Wilson & Herrald
Builder: James Smith
Craftsman: N/A
History: Alexander Rutherford was the first premier of the new province of Alberta in 1905. He resigned in 1910. Primarily responsible for the establishment of the University of Alberta, he served on its Senate from 1907 to 1927, and was its chancellor from 1927 until his death in 1941.

* * *
Built in 1911 for Dr. A. Rutherford, who occupied it until his death in 1941. The house was sold to the Delta Upsilon Fraternity, who occupied it until 1969, when the U of A acquired it. Used as an historic site since 1970 by Alberta Culture.
This very-well known landmark was home to Hon. A. C. Rutherford, Alberta's first premier, from 1911 until 1940. In 1940 the Delia Upsilon Fraternity purchased the house. In 1968 the University of Alberta purchased the house as part of its proposed espansion program.
The Historic Society of Alberta and the University Women's Club campaigned to preserve it.

* * *
In 1909, Premier A.C. Rutherford purchased a 1.3 acre estate adjoining the site chosen by his government for the University of Alberta.
'Achnacarry' as the house was originally named, was designed by architects Wilson and Herrald on a substantial scale befitting Rutherford's prominence in the public life of Alberta. Typical of Jacobethan Revival structures, the building features two-storey bay windows, prominent gables and white pillared porches. The house is operated by the Historic Sites Services of Alberta Culture and is open to the public.

* * *
The gleam of polished silver, the warm glow of a library lamp and the aroma of freshly-baked scones, beckon visitors into the home of Alberta's first premier, Alexander Rutherford.
For many years, Rutherford House welcomed the political and social elite of Alberta. Today, this restored Edwardian mansion maintains that tradition of hospitality and recaptures the spirit of Edmonton in 1915.
Costumed interpreters recreate daily household activities, reenact important events in Rutherford's life and lead guided tours of his home.
The Friends of Rutherford House provide visitors with a taste of the past in a seasonally operated tea room, and their giftshop offers keepsakes reminiscent of Edwardian times.

* * *
A two-storey, red brick building in the Jacobethan Revival style. The building has been restored by Alberta Public Works and apparently is in excellent condition.
Built in 1911 for Dr. A. Rutherford, who occupied it until his death in 1941. The house was sold to the Delta Upsilon Fraternity, who occupied it until 1969, when the U. of A. acquired it. Used as an historic site since 1970 by Alberta Culture.
The heritage significance of the house lies in its association with Alberta's first premier, Dr. Alexander Rutherford. Rutherford was Alberta's premier from its inception as a province in 1905 until his resignation during the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway controversy in 1910. Rutherford and his Liberal government are responsible for the establishment of the administrative and legislative foundations of the province of Alberta. Rutherford was primarily responsible for the establishment of the University of Alberta. He initiated the enabling legislation and supported as Premier and Minister of Education. Rutherford served on the University Senate from 1907 to 1927 and as University Chancellor from 1927 until his death in 1941. In addition, Rutherford was a publically active individual, serving numerous public service offices.
He was also a prominent and respected lawyer in the city of Edmonton and in Alberta.

* * *
RUTHERFORD HOUSE (1911) Home of First Premier

Dwarfed by the grey monoliths of modern architecture, Rutherford House seems at odds with its surroundings. Ironically the home of Alberta's first premier - Alexander Cameron Rutherford, both belies and belongs.
The three-storey house visually contradicts its companion buildings.

Yet its historic roots here are much deeper than those of its neighbors, thriving as a historical and physical rejoinder of the beginnings of the university and this province.

Rutherford purchased a 1.25-acre parcel from southside pioneer Lawrence Garneau in 1909, and had the house built for $25,000 in 1911 by Strathcona contractor Thomas Richards. The bricks were made from river valley clay by the now-defunct Pollard's Brickyards.
He named the house 'Achnacarry' after the ancestral home of his mother's clan - the Camerons, in Scotland.

The house was designed by the firm of Arthur G. Wilson and David E.
Herrald. Its style is said to be eclectic, incorporating many styles - the most predominate is Jacobethan Revival - popular in Rutherford's home province of Ontario at that time. Yet there is a Georgian style pillared balcony at the front, and the windows are said to be Palladian Style, generally recognized as an architectural symbol of the British Empire.

Achnacarry's central theme was ample room for entertainment befitting a Premier. The large oak-panelled central hall and foyer with rooms emanating on either side is influenced by British architecture.

The impressive stairway splits into two wings and is lighted by a stained glass skylight. Ceilings are 11 feet high, most wood panelling is fir except for the central staircase and foyer, and flooring in public portions of the house is maple, while fir is found in the private rooms.

When built it had the most up-to-date conveniences of its time - a telephone, central steam heating with a coal-fired boiler, electrical outlets in every room, interior toilet and lighted walk-in closets.

The main floor includes a 350-foot formal dining room, Rutherford's library, a drawing room, a den, breakfast room, kitchen and pantry area.
Upstairs there are three family bedrooms, a guest room, a crafts area which was used by Rutherford's wife Mattie, maid's quarters, a bathroom and a water closet.

The Rutherford family lived in Achnacarry from 1911 to 1940. A daughter - Hazel, was married in the drawing room in 1919, and Mattie died here in 1940.
Many large gatherings were held here. Rutherford sponsored tea parties for university graduates right up until 1938 when 500 were said to have attended. The same year 200 guests attended the Rutherford's golden Anniversary.

Restoration began in 1971, and the house opened as a public museum and historic site in 1973. It was officially opened a year later. It received Provincial Historic Resource designation in 1979 - the highest level of protection under provincial legislation.


Status: Status Date:
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Municipal A List
Provincial Historic Resource

Register: A61
Record Information: Record Information Date:
T. Gilev 1995/12/08


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0437
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