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Key Number: HS 22703
Site Name: Flat Iron Block
Other Names: Merchants Bank of Canada
Site Type: 0400 - Mercantile/Commercial: General and Mixed Use Commercial


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
40 26 4

Address: 5005 - 50 Avenue
Number: 5
Street: 50
Avenue: 50
Town: Lacombe
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape: Other
Storeys: Storeys: 3
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Brick
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Flat
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Single Detached
Massing of Units: Row, Non-Related, End
Wings: None
Number of Bays - Facade: Third Floor, 4 Bays
Wall Design and Detail: Pier or Pilaster
Wall Design and Detail: Buttress
Wall Design and Detail: String or Belt Course
Wall Design and Detail: Entablature
Plain Eaves
Roof Trim - Verges: Not Applicable
Towers, Steeples and Domes: None
Dormer Type: None
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Unknown
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Unknown
Roof Trim - Special Features: None
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Segmental
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Alternating Voussoirs
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Brick
Window - Sill Type: Continuous Sill
Window - Sill Material: Brick
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Plain
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Window - Number of Sashes: One
Window - Opening Mechanism: Unknown
Window - Special Types: Round
Window - Special Types: Palladian
Window - Pane Arrangements: None
Main Entrance - Location: Corner
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Entablature
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Moulded
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Stone
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Flat Transom, Blind
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Main Entrance - Number of Leaves: 2
Main Entrance - Number of Panels Per Leaf: 1
Main Entrance - Leaves - Special Feature: Glass
Main Stairs - Location and Design: First or Ground Floor, Without Railing
Main Stairs - Direction: Straight
Main Porch - Type: None
Exterior: Flatiron building; elliptical depressed 3-cented arch; pilasters. Entablature with decorated boxed cornice; decorated frieze; modillions, architrave; four pilasters on either side; two palladian windows; one round window; voussoirs with keystones; sandstone lugsills, moulded window frames; multilight windows; new aluminum windows; elaborate front door hoods (semicircular) with decorative brackets.
Interior: N/A
Environment: Part of downtown commercial core. This flatiron building is an integral part of this block which is triangular in shape.
Condition: Structure - Good; Repair - Good (1980).
Alterations: Apparent Alterations and/or Additions: None Site: Original


Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
Usage: Usage Date:
Medical: Office or Administration Bldg
Owner: Owner Date:
Bank of Montreal
Ervin and Helen Ertman
Dr. S. McKibbin
Rockwest Developments

Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: Previous address: 4935 - 50 Avenue? Owner and tenant in 1972 was Dr. S. McKibbin. Present owner is Rockwest Developments. In 1905 construction began. In 1974 interior renovations, new windows, etc. Arthur Belcher was Manager in 1911. H.G. Morison was the Manager of this Branch from December 1, 1915 until the opening of the Bank of Montreal in Lacombe. The Merchants Bank was absorbed by the Bank of Montreal in March 1922. The site is considered to be somewhat of a local landmark.

RESOURCE Flat Iron Building
ADDRESS 5005 - 50 Avenue, Lacombe
BUILT 1903 to 1904
DESIGNATION STATUS Provincial Historic Resource


The Lacombe Flatiron Block was constructed in 1903-1904 by the Merchants Bank. The Merchants Bank originally opened for business in Lacombe on February 28, 1901. The arrival of the Merchants Bank was recognition of Lacombe’s development following the construction of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway in 1891. The passage of the railway through the town not only created the triangular shaped block on which the “flatiron” building is the most prominent feature, it also gave vitality to its business sector. In addition to being on the main north-south transportation corridor through the province, Lacombe also was the terminal of the Canadian Pacific Railway line running east from Central Alberta to Winnipeg. Therefore, Lacombe’s central location provided convenient passenger and freight connections to the major centres in the province and to eastern Canada.

The building opened in 1904 and served as the only financial institution in the area until the construction of the adjacent Union Bank in 1907. The decision to build with fire-resistant materials proved wise as a fire in 1906 razed the remainder of the business block. As a result, all new construction in the block followed the bank’s example.

The Merchant Bank (Flat Iron Building) was certain Lacombe’s most sophisticated and commanding structure. Designed in the Beaux Arts tradition of classically-inspired architecture, it cost $30,000 to build in 1904. The design, however, set this structure apart; specific classical features includes the giant order pilasters or simulated columns which run through the second and third stories, a cornice along the top of the structure and scallop-shaped hood over the main entrance. The three-storey “flatiron” building is unique in the Town of Lacombe and the oldest of three structures built in western Canada.


Status: Status Date:
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
Tatiana Gilev 2003/12/09


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0499
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