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Key Number: HS 49876
Site Name: Cypress Club
Other Names:
Site Type: 0202 - Social and Recreational: Club or Lodge
0203 - Social and Recreational: Community Centre or Hall

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
12 5 4


Address: 218-220 - 6 Avenue SE
Number: 18-20
Street: 2 SE
Avenue: 6 SE
Other:
Town: Medicine Hat
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style:
Plan Shape: Square
Storeys: Storeys: 2
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Brick
Superstructure Cover: Brick - Bond: Stretcher Concrete: Plain Precast Panel
Roof Structure: Flat
Roof Cover: Tar and Gravel, Built Up
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Single Detached
Wings: Unknown
Number of Bays - Facade: First or Ground Floor, 3 Bays
Number of Bays - Facade: Second Floor, 3 Bays
Wall Design and Detail: Pier or Pilaster
Wall Design and Detail: Quoins
Wall Design and Detail: Corbelling
Wall Design and Detail: Plinth
Wall Design and Detail: Entablature
Wall Design and Detail: Plain Parapet
Plain Eaves
Roof Trim - Verges: Not Applicable
Towers, Steeples and Domes: None
Dormer Type: None
Chimney Location - Side to Side: None
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Unknown
Roof Trim - Special Features: None
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Semi-Circular
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Plain Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Moulded Lintel
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Brick
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Concrete
Window - Sill Type: Plain Lug Sill
Window - Sill Material: Brick
Window - Sill Material: Concrete
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Plain
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Moulded
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Moulded
Window - Number of Sashes: One
Window - Number of Sashes: Three, Double Hung
Window - Opening Mechanism: Unknown
Window - Opening Mechanism: Single or Double Hung
Window - Special Types: Half-Round
Window - Pane Arrangements: 6 over 6
Window - Pane Arrangements: Other
Main Entrance - Location: Centre (Facade)
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Semi-Circular
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Entablature
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Pier or Pilaster
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Concrete
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Shaped Transom, Multiple Lights
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: None
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Main Entrance - Number of Leaves: 2
Main Entrance - Number of Panels Per Leaf: 13 or More
Main Entrance - Leaves - Special Feature: Glass
Main Stairs - Location and Design: None
Main Stairs - Location and Design: First or Ground Floor, Without Railing
Main Stairs - Direction: Straight
Main Porch - Type: None
Main Porch - Type: Recess
Main Porch - Height: First Storey
Exterior: Central entraceway with its sandstone pilasters and the two large ground floor windows semi-circular sand stone surrounds. The large stain glassed window in the southern facade hints at theluxuriouss interior. Quions osecondon storey corners. Entablature above both second and first story. Windows with decoratev loussoirs and key stone.
Interior: The entrance opens into a large lounge with its two floor-to-ceiling fluted entrance columns, an exposed oak-beam ceiling, and a large stone fire-place; it is most impressive.
Environment: N/A
Condition: Good (1986) Good (2004)
Alterations: 1955, permit #432 1961, permit #606 Canopy, 1965, permit #1 Enclose furniture 1980, permit #77.

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Completed
Construction Started

1907/01/01
Usage: Usage Date:
Club house
1908/01/01
Owner: Owner Date:
Cypress Club Assets Limited

Architect: William T. Williams
Builder: Contractor: Dales and Everand
Craftsman: N/A
History: Designed by William T. Williams, a local Medicine Hat architect, the Cypress Club was constructed in 1907 of locally manufactured red brick with sandstone base and trims. It is an elegant, yet restrained structure, designed and constructed for the particular purpose of a private club. The style of the building may be considered neo-classical in its use of classically derived elements and Palladian style windows. The structure contains a very high degree of its original historic integrity.
The historical significance of the Cypress Club lies in its service as the main social club for men in the city and district. As such, many of the community’s male residents who went on to economic and political success were members of the Cypress Club, even if holding only minor interest in the Club itself. This was particularly true during the first half of the 20th Century, when almost all of the civic leaders and prominent businessmen of the region were members. The Cypress Club is a prominent and well-known landmark in downtown Medicine Hat. (Notice of Intention, September 2002).
Founded by a group of prominent businessmen and ranchers from the Medicine Hat area. Officially incorporated on November 21, 1903. Intended as an exclusive private men's club.
First housed in the W. Cousings block.
D-2090 – CYPRESS CLUB, MEDICINE HAT

HISTORICAL CONTEXT: As the Canadian Pacific Railway was planning its route between Winnipeg and Fort Calgary, the decision was made to cross the South Saskatchewan River at a wide valley west of Fort Walsh lush with cypress trees. Here a station was erected and a townsite subdivided called Medicine Hat after a Cree medicine man. The surrounding district was soon the domain of numerous ranches, and, during the 1890’s, Medicine Hat emerged as the regional metropolis of a cattle domain. In 1898, it was incorporated as a town with over 500 people. By this time, gas reserves were discovered in the district, and incentive was provided for industrial development, particularly in pottery, while the city streets came to glow from gaslight. By 1906, Medicine Hat was large enough to be incorporated as a city, and, in 1911, its population stood at 5,600. Contributing to its growth was its comparative isolation, and the conversion of much of the surrounding ranching leases into farmland, which resulted in the emergence of a large farming population in the hinterland.

Though the surrounding countryside and growing urban population of Medicine Hat was ethnically mixed, the business elite of the community was primarily British. The first ranchers had been mainly British, and the new wave of industrialists and real estate developers were also of British origin, primarily immigrants from Ontario. It was natural therefore that the first City Councils would often contain the same people as the Chamber of Commerce, with names such as Fewings, Tweed, Cousins, Crawford, Milne, Pingle, Sissons, Kealy, Huckvale and Stewart predominating. It was probably also natural that such people would found a social club, where affairs of common interest could be discussed with less formality and out of the public eye. Thus, on 21 November 1903, the Cypress Club was incorporated by an act of the Legislative Assembly of the North-west Territories. Like the Edmonton Club and Ranchman’s Club (Calgary) before it, the Cypress Club was intended to provide a retreat for local business and community leaders to plot the development of the community in an atmosphere of brotherhood and congeniality. A great incentive was the authority such a private club would have to obtain a liquor license and so provide intoxicants to its members at any time it chose. As was typical, membership was confined to men.

Three of the first six presidents of the Cypress Club, F.L. Crawford, William Cousins and Charles Pingle, would also be presidents of the Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce at roughly the same time, while numerous others would also be members of City Council. To expand its scope, the Club also encouraged membership among the more prominent of the local ranch owners, and also the professional classes, particularly lawyers. The first president was F. L. Crawford, the manager of the Bank of Commerce, but the tradition would soon be established that the presidency should alternate between City businessmen and district ranchers.

Members of the Cypress Club first met in the Cousins Block in downtown Medicine Hat. As membership soared, and the Club quickly evolved into the elite social club of the business community, there was incentive and resources to construct a self contained building. In 1907 therefore, the Club purchased the lot on 218 - 6th Avenue in the downtown core and contracted the prominent local architect, William T. Williams, to design a small, but elegant structure of red brick and sandstone to serve exclusively the functions of the Club, or whatever other purpose the Club would choose. A deal was struck with the Bank of Commerce which gave the Bank the front half of the property on Main Street, while the Club building itself was to be built on the back part, within easy walking distance for most of the local businessmen. When the design of the $15,000 building was complete, A.P. Burns was contracted to begin construction. This was done through a loan from Hop Yuill, who would be repaid over the years from membership dues and fundraising activities.

As time passed, the Cypress Club continued to serve the business and professional elite of Medicine Hat and its surrounding district as a men’s social club. During World War II, it was turned over to the Empire Club for use by armed service personnel stationed in the district. Occasional internal renovations would occur, and, at times, financing was precarious, but, invariably, members from the business community would come to the rescue with loans. Members over the years would include most of Medicine Hat’s mayors and members of City Council, several of the districts Members of the provincial Legislative Assembly, and Members of Parliament William Wylie, Bud Olson and Bert Hargrave. Other members to gain a strong reputation outside the district of Medicine Hat include Judge John Sissons and Edmonton Journal editor Andrew Snaddon.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The historical significance of the Cypress Club in Medicine Hat lies in its service as the main social club for men in the city and district since its inception in 1903. As such, many of the community’s male residents who went on to economic and political success were members, even if holding only of minor interest in the Club itself. This was particularly true during the first half of the 20th century, when almost all of the civic leaders were members.
========================================
RESOURCE Cypress Club
ADDRESS 218 – 6 Avenue SE, Medicine Hat
BUILT 1907
DESIGNATION STATUS Provincial Historic Resource

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The Cypress Club was created by an ordinance of the North West Territories Assembly assented to on November 21, 1903. Its charter members included men such as William Cousins, F. O. Sissons, C. R. Mitchell and Thomas Tweed, all of whom were prominent in the business and political affairs of Medicine Hat since its establishment as a railway town site in 1883. William Cousins arrived in Medicine Hat in May of 1883, where he established a general store. He was later to become on of Medicine Hat’s major land developers and served as the Mayor of Medicine Hat in 1907/1908. The Cypress Club was one of a number of clubs created for social purposes Alberta’s major urban communities during the boom years prior to World War One. The oldest such clubs are the Ranchman’s Club, established in Calgary in 1899 and the Edmonton Club established in the same year. Other southern Alberta social clubs include the Chinook Club, Lethbridge, established in 1901, the MacLeod Club established in 1903, the Alberta Club of the City of Calgary, established in 1904 and the High River and Pincher Clubs, both which were established in 1906. These social clubs were made of up the business and professional elite of their respective communities. The type of accommodation provided by these various organizations varied with the size of the community. The Cypress, Ranchman’s and Edmonton Clubs constructed the most elaborate facilities during this era. This building, therefore, represents an import facet in the social development of Alberta’s pre World War One urban communities.

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE

In 1907, the Cypress Club purchased a lot near the corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue in Medicine Hat, thus ensuring its immediate proximity to the town’s public and financial center while guaranteeing it a quiet setting on Fourth Avenue. William T. Williams, the prominent local architect responsible for the design of the City Hall and Post Office, was commissioned to design suitable quarters for the club. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 5, 1907 to initiate construction of the $15,000 building, a sum the club borrowed from Hop Yuill. A sub-contractor, A.P. Burns began the excavations and poured the concrete foundation, then Oakes and Everand commenced construction of the forty by fifty foot two-story, flat roofed structure. Cement blocks, pressed brick and Calgary sandstone were used in the building, the sandstone being used for the structure’s decorative features: the massive rectangular stone pilasters and architrave framing the main entrance, the semi-circular moldings of the main floor windows, keystones, secondary cornice delineating the first and second floors, and the parapet coping. The classical inspiration of the building is obvious in its rigorous symmetry and the rounded multi-pane transoms capping the first floor apertures. The south façade is pierced by a large stair window of stained glass. The Cypress Club contains a lounge, billiard room, committee room and writing room, all of which are distinguished by elaborate oak woodwork, the lounge being dominated by a very large cut stone fireplace. Although rater unsuitably furnished today, the club still is expressive of luxury and solidity. The restrained dignity of the exterior combined with the richness of its interior fitments, mark it as typical of the men’s clubs of the day.

(Site Information Summary)

Internal

Status: Status Date:
Active
Active
1986/09/01
2004/07/08
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
2002/12/06
Register: N/A
Record Information: Record Information Date:
M. Philps 1992/07/13

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0815
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