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Key Number: HS 5520
Site Name: Metals Building
Other Names:
Site Type: 0401 - Mercantile/Commercial: Office or Administration Building
0415 - Mercantile/Commercial: Storage or Warehouse Building


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
52 24 4

Address: 10184-90 - 104 Street
Number: 84-90
Street: 104
Avenue: 101
Town: Edmonton
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Style: Art Deco or Moderne
Plan Shape: Rectangular Short Facade
Storeys: Storeys: 3
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Brick
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Flat
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Double Semi-Detached, Non-Related
Wings: None
Number of Bays - Facade: First or Ground Floor, 3 Bays
Wall Design and Detail: Plain Panel
Wall Design and Detail: String or Belt Course
Wall Design and Detail: Plain Parapet
Wall Design and Detail: Carving
Wall Design and Detail: Inscription or Date Stone
Wall Design and Detail: Decorative Brick
Plain Eaves
Roof Trim - Verges: Not Applicable
Dormer Type: None
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Side Right
Chimney Stack Material: Brick
Chimney Stack Massing: Single
Roof Trim - Special Features: None
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: None
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: None
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: None
Window - Sill Type: Plain Slip Sill
Window - Sill Material: Concrete
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Flat Transom, Single Light
Window - Number of Sashes: One
Window - Opening Mechanism: Hinged
Window - Special Types: None
Main Entrance - Location: Corner
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: None
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: None
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: None
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Plain
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Flat Transom, Single Light
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Side Lights
Main Entrance - Number of Panels Per Leaf: 1
Main Entrance - Leaves - Special Feature: Glass
Main Stairs - Location and Design: None
Main Stairs - Direction: None
Main Porch - Type: Recess
Main Porch - Special Features: None
Main Porch - Height: First Storey
Exterior: Pier and spandrel; entablature - With plain box cornice and decorated frieze; windows- slipsill, plain surrounds main entrance - plain lintel with inscription date.
Angled corner entry; name plaque - 'Metals Limited - 1914' above entry; corbelled and pressed metal cornice.
Another design by Edmonton's most noted architects, Magoon and MacDonald, the Metals Building is a modest warehouse design with some elements of the Chicago School, notably the vertical emphasis of the brick piers, with recessed brick spandrels and windows between. The corbelled brick brackets under the cornice are the only decorative element to the main building. The Annex is more unusual, showing traces of Art Deco at the tops of each of four pairs of brick piers, which in themselves are unique in Downtown.
The exterior form and massing of both the Metals Building and the Annex display several basic elements of the Chicago School of Architecture. These are illustrated by the vertical emphasis of the brick piers, repetitive recessed spandrels and generously proportioned in-fill windows. The large windows allow ample natural lighting and ventilation of the interior spaces for the full length and depth of the building. A cast stone (concrete) window sill detail is typical at all window/spandrel locations. Deeply corbelled brick dentils used with the regular brick piers provide distinctive support detail for the plain, metal-clad projecting cornice line.
Above the cornice a brick parapet was used for the company's painted sign advertising. Faint reminders of the original lettering are still visible. The name 'METALS LIMITED' was placed prominently over the angled main building entrance, while words such as 'plumbing and heating supplies, steel, hardware, mine, mill, and blacksmith supplies' adorn the upper parts of the east and north facades.
The simple cast stone (concrete) sign panel proclaiming the building's name and date of construction is positioned immediately above the main entrance doors. A stylized, cast stone flower (rose and leaf) design is set into the brick wall on either side of the main entrance. The rose motif symbolizes the provincial flower and the Alberta based capital of the firm.
The east building facade displays a regular spacing of brick pier, window and spandrel modulation common to the Chicago School of Architecture. The south and west facades are plain and functional in design. The dominant, repetitive rhythm of the spandrel bays on the north facade are made unique by the placement of punched windows near the east end of the facade. These openings relate in plan to typical interior elements such as stairs, washrooms, vaults and chimney locations. Another design exception, this time to the overall structural order of the building, occurs at the northeast corner where the main entrance is chamfered to meet and relate to the street.
The basic form, colour and scale characteristics of the Annex are similar to the original 1914 building. The Annex also displays some interesting applications of Art Deco ornamentation above the entrance and between the four pairs of brick piers below the cornice line. A stylized, bud-like husk or bellflower motif is used in a graduated, descending order of size. A linear display of abstract rosettes, which relate to the flower details of the 1914 building are combined with the date of building erection (1927). This completes the decoration above the building's central, stone-carved identification sign.
The 1914 building design had structural provisions incorporated into its original detailing to allow major building expansion to the south.
The two-storey annex was easily attached to the original building with four inch continuous corbelled brick bearing seats for future beam support at each of the three upper floors.
Interior: Annex pier and spandrel parapet. The original ground floor plan for the Metals Building allowed for an active warehouse distribution layout, which incorporated a rail spur receiving area at the back and dock level shipping doors along the north facade. The interior spaces were originally designed to accommodate only a minimal amount of second floor office and showroom space. The remainder of the building housed warehouse storage area for heavy materials such as plumbing supplies, cast-iron fixtures, steel fabrications, mining equipment and related materials. To compensate for the weight, the floor structure was constructed with laminated heavy-timber joists (2' x 8' deep), supported by massive timber beams (from 18' x 18' to 14' x 18' square) and timber columns (from 20' x 20' to 16' x 16' square). For the most part the original structure, complete with corbelled brick haunch support details, can be seen throughout the building's interior.
Environment: Neighbourhood: Downtown Property Features: None Warehouse district. The Metals Building has become well-known as Mother Tucker's, but its location on the corner of 104 Street and 102 Avenue is very important to the other heritage structures on this corner, as well as the heritage continuity on 104 Street and also on 102 Avenue. From the chamfered corner of the Metals Building, nine other heritage buildings are visible within a block each way. The Metals Building and Annex are located on the corner at the end of an open block of lots used as a parking lot. They are the only structures on the west side of 104 Street with the exception of the Cecil Hotel at the corner of Jasper Avenue, one block to the south, and the Revillon Parking Garage one block to the north. West of the Metals Building is the seven-storey Corner Point building and the adjacent Ramada Renaissance Hotel. The building and Annex are built to the street line. Their siting, height, materials and fenestration make them an important component of the district by continuing and reinforcing the urban character of the warehouses located across the street. In general the building is an important component of the warehouse district as it stands today. With its two-lot mass and critical corner location, it maintains the existing scale and context of the district.
Condition: Good
Alterations: Annex in 1927. Apparent Alterations and/or Additions: Window Site: Original South Addition renovated to restaurant. Window sash replaced with aluminum. The ground floor windows at the east facade have been significantly altered from the original drawings to allow for a lower window sill height. The stone sill course was lowered to accommodate retail uses at the ground floor. The majority of the building's original double-hung wood windows have been replaced with aluminum fixed units (alternate units are double-hung for ventilation), but some of the original steel sash windows remain at the west elevation. The newer windows have simply been inserted into existing wood window frame openings. All of the fire-escape door openings, as well as the windows at the west stairwell have been bricked for code reasons. The original fire-escape and roof ladder have also been removed. At the main entrance, the original plate glass, wood doors and brass kickplates have been replaced with a modern aluminum and glass entrance. The globe-lights at either side of the entrance are not original. Metal-clad, 'jack knife' sliding loading doors (five in total) associated with the shipping functions of the original warehouse, have been removed at the north and west building facades. New windows with brick sills below have been added in their place to allow for ground floor retail uses. The original shipping doors and a heavily constructed rail level shipping platform at the west facade have also been removed. All of the basement windows have been filled-in with glass blocks for security reasons. A round coal chute near the northwest corner of the building was filled with concrete after the boiler was converted to natural gas. The 25' steel flagpole, located above the chamfered corner and shown on the original building permit drawings, was also removed from the roof structure. The Annex was renovated in 1976 to accommodate Mother Tucker's, a theme restaurant. An elaborate original staircase, with turned wood balustrades, remains intact and is used by patrons to access the reataurant's second floor lounge. Period decorations, wood beams and interior plank wall panelling are used extensively in the restaurant to lend atmosphere to the original building. Connections between the two buildings have been temporarily sealed shut. The most noticeable change to the Annex is at the east entrance, where new bricks of different colour and texture have been used to in-fill at either side of the main entrance doors. Canvas awnings have also been installed over the door and window openings on the east facade.


Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
Usage: Usage Date:

Owner: Owner Date:
Metals Ltd.
Empire Brass Mfg Co. Ltd.
Superstein, Zipperstein
Architect: Magoon & Macdonald
Builder: Zenith Construction Company
Craftsman: N/A
History: William Roper Hull, purchased property in 1906 and owned it till June 1914, he was the president of Metals Ltd. and was a resident of Calgary.
1914 - Moved into new warehouse from old location across 102 Avenue 1927 - Addition of Annex South addition renovated 1976 to restaurant; used as a warehouse for plumbing supplies; estimated cost of construction $45,000.
Owner - Superstein. Tenant - Alberta Caretakers Supplies Limited 1927 - Addition to Metals Building, as Metals Ltd. of Calgary expands their Edmonton operation.
1976 - Mother Tucker's Restaurant.
***** Development gradually moved west from the eastern edge of the Hudson's Bay Reserve at 101 Street - especially after the land sale of 1912 - and by 1914 the east side of 104 Street from Jasper Avenue to 104 Avenue was heavily developed with substantial brick warehouses.
Contemporary maps and photos show the west side as residential and at least partially overgrown with native trees. After 1913, a slump developed in Edmonton's economy, bringing construction to a virtual halt in the city and for many years the Metals Building stood alone on the west side of 104 Street. The architectural firm of Magoon and MacDonald designed this plumbing supplies warehouse and it was constructed at a cost of $45,000. Although the combination of recessed window panels and pilasters relate this building to the Revillon Building, the Metals Building belongs to the same generation of construction as the McKenney Building. An Art Deco Style annex was added to the south in 1927, and the whole complex was renovated in the 1970s.
*** Construction began on the Metals Ltd. new $45,000 warehouse in 1914.
The contract for the building was awarded to Zenith Construction Company, and it was designed by Magoon and MacDonald. Metals Ltd.
was organized in 1910 with headquarters in Calgary to handle wholesale plumbing supplies. The Annex was constructed in 1927. The building was purchased by the Empire Brass Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in 1954 and housed Alex Murray and Co. from 1955-1958. Miller Stationers were the major tenants from 1959-1972. The building was sold to members of the Zipperstein family in 1965 who are the present owners of the structure. The Annex was renovated in 1975 to house Mother Tucker's Restaurant while the main building continues to be used for office purposes.
*** In the unprecedented period of optimism during the City's building boom of 1912-1914, Edmonton firmly established itself as the 'Gateway to the North' by providing rail and road connections for settlers and goods. In response to this economic growth, a substantial warehouse and wholesale district developed adjacent to the CNR tracks to serve the agricultural and northern hinterland. The largest warehouse in the district was constructed in 1912 by the Revillon Freres, but several more were constructed along 103 and 104 Street. Many companies had begun their operations earlier in modest facilities and expanded as their markets and product ranges grew.
The Metals Building was constructed in 1914 for Metals Ltd., a wholesale plumbing and heating supply company with headquarters in Calgary. In 1903 the company was founded as The Gurney Standard Metal Company Limited. Metals Ltd., a successor to the Gurney Standard Metal Co., was established in 1910 by William Roper Hull with A.E.
Cross, James Lougheed and R.B. Bennett on the board of directors. An Edmonton division of the company had opened in 1906 opposite to the Revillon Building on land owned by Hull. With the incorporation of Metals Ltd. Edmonton became the northern Alberta headquarters while Lethbridge housed the southern operations. The company handled Gurney hot water and steam boulers, steam fittings and plumbing supplies.
Besides conributing to the development of Alberta's economy, William Roper Hull was influential in the development of architecture in the young province. Earlier in Calgary Hull had retained the architects Hodgson and Bates to design a six-storey office and retail building to house the Calgary Grain Exchange and Hull's business offices. The Grain Exchange Building was completed in 1910 and was considered to be Calgary's first modern business block. The building was faced on three sides with sandstone, but was built with an internal reinforced concrete frame (devised only a few years earlier by Albert Kahn in the mid-western U.S.)
Plans and preparations were made for the construction of a new Metals Building in 1912. Apparently the receipts returned from Edmonton were not large enough at that time to warrant construction of a new facility. Competition was strong and pricing adjustments were made along with management changes. In 1914 construction on the $40,000 structure began with Zenith Construction as the general contractor.
The Metals Building was designed by the architectural firm of Magoon and MacDonald. Herbert Alton Magoon (1863-1941) was born and educated in Quebec, but received his architecture training in Chicago. He practised there, in Iowa and Nova Scotia. George Heath MacDonald (1883-1961) was born in Prince Edward Island. He began his career in architecture working first in the offices of Percy Erskine Nobbs and Edward and W.S. Maxwell in Montreal and then with his uncles as a contractor. The two men met while working at the Dominion Iron and Steel Company in Sydney, N.S., where Magoon was employed as an architect and MacDonald as a draftsman. They moved to Edmonton in 1904 and set up practice with MacDonald as Magoon's assistant.
MacDonald return to Eastern Canada to finish his education, and in 1911 graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor's degree in Architecture. They became partners and practised architecture together from 1912 until Magoon's death in 1941.
MacDonald continued his practice after Magoon's death, and was one of the first people to show an interest in reconstructing Fort Edmonton, about which he wrote a book.
The 1920s were characterized by a diversification of product lines offered by Metals Ltd. Plumbing and heating stock lines were established in the 'heavy' hardware section which included nails, bolts, etc.; and 'shelf' items such as Glidden paints, guns and ammunition were added later. Expansion during the mid-1920s was made possible in part by the discovery of the Turner Valley oil field. The company added gas ranges and gas radiant heaters to their stock.
An annex to the building was constructed in 1927 as the company's northern business grew steadily. The addition increased the storage space and show rooms to 40,500 square feet of floor space. A storage yard was located south of the Annex.
The Metals Building Annex was designed by architect Richard Palin Blakey (1879-1963). Blakey was born and educated in Sunderland, County Durham, England. He received his formal architectural training at the Bede Collegiate Institute and then worked in Scotland and Wales. He emigrated to Canada and made his way to Edmonton through Winnipeg. The Alberta Department of Public Works hired him as a staff draftsman in 1907 and he became Provincial Architect in 1912 (before A.M. Jeffers had officially resigned). During his years as Chief Provincial Architect (1912-24), Blakey finished the interior of the Legislative Building (the rotunda, staircase, and south wing), and completed Government House (1913). Blakey was admitted to the Alberta Association of Architects in 1911 and served as Association President for two terms (1916-20 and 1935-38). In 1921 he was appointed Representative to the Senate of the University of Alberta. In 1924 Blakey entered private practice in the firm Blakey and Blakey (the firm later became Bouey, Bouey, Blakey, Blakey and Ascher).
The ownership of Metals Ltd. changed in 1948 when the company was sold to Empire Brass Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The company operated for the next five years as a Division of 'Empire Brass'. In 1953 policy changes brought the three Metals branches under the direct control of the London, Ontario headquarters and they were henceforth known as 'EMCO' branches. The building was vacated in 1954 when EMCO moved to new premises on 120 Street.
The building and annex were sold to the present owners in 1965. The Annex was converted to a Mother Tuckers Restaurant in 1975 and the main building was renovated the same year for office and retail space.
*** 1906 - October 31. Lot purchased by William Roper Hull.
1914 - June 12. Site purchased by Metals Ltd.
1914 - July 16. Building permit #949 issued to Metals Ltd.
Architect: Magoon and MacDonald.
Conractor: Zenith Construction.
Cost: $40,000.
1927 - April 4. Building permit #81 issued to Metals Ltd.
Architect: R.P. Blakey.
Contractor: L.F. Toby.
Cost: $20,000.
1948 - Company sold to Empire Brass Manufacturing Co.
1954 - Site title changed to EMCO Ltd., premises vacated.
1955-1958 - Alex Murray and Co. leases building.
1959-1972 - Miller Stationers Ltd. leases building.
1965 - Site purchased by current owner.
1975 - Annex renovated for Mother Tucker's Restaurant. Main building renovated for offices.
1988 - December 23. Site contains offices and retail shops with restaurant in Annex.
*** Building Permit #949 July 16, 1914 Metals Ltd.
Architect Magoon and MacDonald builder Zenith Consruction, cost $40,000. Annex - #81 April 4/27, architect R.P. Blakey, builder L.F.
Toby, cost $20,000.
Metals Ltd. - Company organized March 1910 with headquarters in Calgary; handled steam fitter's and plumber's supplies; company the successor to Gurney Standard Metal Co.; corporate directors include W.R. Hull and Senator Lougheed.
EB - 1911 Anniversary Edition: company overview.
EDC - July 16, 1914: announce project - new building used for carrying of surplus stock; red brick, 3 storeys, concrete foundations.
EB - Oct. 7/1914: built at cost of $45,000.
Plannig File: 1927 annex constructed 1954-58 Empire Brass Manufacturing 1954-72 Miller Stationers 1975 Mother Tucker's Restaurant.


Status: Status Date:
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Municipal A List

Register: A42
Record Information: Record Information Date:
S. Khanna 1993/04/06


Alberta Register of Historic Places:
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