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Key Number: HS 56577
Site Name: Ross Residence
Other Names:
Site Type: 0101 - Residential: Single Dwelling

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
52 24 4


Address: 11153 - 64 Street
Number: 53
Street: 64
Avenue: 111
Other:
Town: Edmonton
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style: Four-square, Cornbelt Cube
Plan Shape: Square
Storeys: Storeys: 2
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Nailed Frame
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Medium Hip
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Single Detached
Wings: Unknown
Number of Bays - Facade: First or Ground Floor, 4 Bays
Wall Design and Detail: None
Roof Trim - Eaves: Plain Soffit
Roof Trim Material - Eaves: Wood
Roof Trim - Verges: Plain Soffit
Roof Trim Material - Verges: Wood
Towers, Steeples and Domes: None
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: Plain Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Wood
Window - Sill Type: Plain Slip Sill
Window - Sill Material: Wood
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Plain
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Window - Number of Sashes: One
Window - Opening Mechanism: Single or Double Hung
Window - Special Types: None
Window - Pane Arrangements: 2 over 2
Main Entrance - Location: Centre (Facade)
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Plain Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Wood
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Plain
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Plain
Main Entrance - Number of Leaves: 1
Main Entrance - Number of Panels Per Leaf: 1
Main Entrance - Leaves - Special Feature: Glass
Main Stairs - Location and Design: First or Ground Floor, Closed Railing
Main Stairs - Direction: Straight
Main Porch - Type: Open Verandah
Main Porch - Special Features: Columns
Main Porch - Material: Concrete
Exterior: Verandah gable dormer, balcony, bay window, exposed rafters.
Pyramidal roof with front gable dormer; full open front verandah; tapered square porch columns; brick column piers; bay window in living room.
Wooden siding with corner boards sheathes the Morehouse Residence.
A bay window is shaded by full width, hip-roofed verandah. Above, a glassed-in balcony is centered above the main steps. The vertical emphasis of the design is reinforced by the dormer centered in the hipped roof.
Two-storey wood frame structure; classically devised style include the symmetrical shape, the broad eaves overhang with brackets under the eaves, a central doorway, a verandah supported by twin boxed columns, a hipped roof with two ornamental dormers, and a tall decorated chimney.
Interior: Bevelled glass, woodwork, brass fixtures, and stencilled patterns on the walls were among the aesthetic touches. An interesting feature recalling the Magrath Residence was a switch in the master bedroom which controlled the lights in all the upstairs bedrooms.
Environment:
Condition:
Alterations: Enclosed second floor balcony; new windows second floor.

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
Constructed
1912/01/01
1913/01/01
Usage: Usage Date:
Residence
Residence
1913/01/01
1978/08/02
Owner: Owner Date:
Ernest William Morehouse
James G. Ross
Jerry Clarence Lack and Linda Cathleen Lack
1913/01/01
1922/01/01
1975/05/29
Architect: Ernest William Morehouse
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: 1913 - New House 1914 - 1922 Ernest Morehouse 1923 - Mrs. O.H. Cofflidik 1924 - Mrs. Rylecoffledick 1925 - 1928 D. Davies Mine Manager 1929 - 1940 James A. Ross, Barrister

*****
Ernest William Morehouse, more than any other architect, influenced the early development of The Highlands. From 1912 until 1915, he designed thirteen buildings in The Highlands. The most prominent of these were the Gibbard Block (#1), the Holgate Residence (#22), and Magrath Residence (#23). As the 'in-house' architect for Magrath and Holgate, he may have been responsible for up to thirty others. No architect was listed on more building permits for The Highlands than Morehouse during these years.

Born in Chatsworth, Ontario in 1871, Morehouse trained as an architect in Toronto, and started his career as a contractor in that city.
After 1892, Morehouse lived in Chicago, Chatham, and Detroit, where he made a special study of manufacturing buildings. When he came to Edmonton it was to design and superintend the erection of a factory.

A biography reported that he '...settled in Edmonton in (1910), opening an office as an architect, and since his arrival in this city has been intimately associated with its building operations, his professional services being in constant demand. He has the art of embodying utility and comfort with beauty of design, and many fine examples of his skill and handiwork are to be seen in the city.' Shortly after arriving in Edmonton, Morehouse went into partnership with Arhtur Nesbitt in a combined design and contracting business. In 1912, however, he struck out on his own. During his years in Edmonton, Morehouse gained prominence as an architect. He served on the council of the Alberta Association of Architects in 1917, and four years later was its vice president. Morehouse left Edmonton in 1929 to return to Detroit. He died there in 1937.

Morehouse designed this Four Square Style house for himself. He received the $4,500 building permit in August 1912; the contracting firm of L. Webb erected it. Wooden siding with corner boards sheathes the Morehouse Residence. A bay window is shaded by full width, hip-roofed verandah. Above, a glassed-in balcony is centered above the main steps. The vertical emphasis of the design is reinforced by the dormer centred in the hipped roof.

Inside, the Morehouse Residence was well appointed. Bevelled glass, woodwork, brass fixtures, and stencilled patterns on the walls were among the aesthetic touches. An interesting feature recalling the Magrath Residence was a switch in the master bedroom which controlled the lights in all the upstairs bedrooms. The Morehouse Residence illustrates the kind of houses favoured by moderately well-off Edmontonians before the WW I. It remains in a good state of preservation, inside and out. The Morehouse Residence was designated a Registered Historic Resource in 1987.

***
Morehouse built this house as his residence in 1913 for $4,500.00 and resided there until 1922. Morehouse was the architect most responsible for sharing the original styles in the Highlands.

Retained by the Magrath-Holgate Co., he designed many of The Highlands buildings including the Magrath Mansion, the Holgate Residence, the Gibbard Block and the Highlands Methodist Church.

City lawyer James Ross, Q.C. owned the home from 1929 until his death in 1962. An exiled Russian prince, Alexander Andiysky then owned the home until 1975.

* * *
MOREHOUSE HOUSE (1904) Georgian Revival Lovingly Maintained

The Morehouse House is remarkable both for the architect who built it, and for the high degree of originality maintained by owners to date.
The former residence of architect Ernest W. Morehouse bristles with traditional fixtures and finishing. While the gleam is the result of elbow-grease from its latest owners, Jerry and Linda Lack, they too were amazed at the resistance to modernize displayed by previous occupants.

Since purchasing the Georgian Revival two-storey in 1975, the Lacks have invested another $50,000 in repairs, renovations, and maintenance. Pride of ownership is reflected in the home's pristine condition. On the main floor the trim and fixtures were buffed with loving care. The living room has a bay window, coal-burning fireplace with original grating and oak mantle, and a decorative open-beam ceiling.

Sliding pocket doors still with original key, open to the formal dining room, a definite highlight of this home. The attention to detail displayed by artisans of that era is found in the orange tree pattern present in the crystal glass of the dining room's vintage brass and glass light fixture.

Georgian Revival architecture features broad eaves with brackets, a full-width verandah supported by twin boxed columns, a tall decorated chimney stack, symmetrical plan and a hipped roof with twin ornamental dormers. Morehouse House, built in 1912 for $4,500, is a relatively modest example of this trend in Alberta's residential architecture.

Ernest Morehouse designed this home for himself, and a number of other Highlands residences for the area's developer, Magrath, Holgate and Company. More notable examples are the Magrath Mansion and the Holgate Mansion.

Other buildings designed by Morehouse include the neighboring Gibbard Block, built as one of the city's first luxury apartment blocks in 1913. The Highlands Methodist Church where he was an active member and a number of early commercial buildings also rank among his credits. Alberta Past and Present, written by John Blue, makes salutatory mention of Morehouse:

'Edmonton is exceptionally fortunate in the number of men of high attainments who are to be found in its business and professional circles, and to this class belongs Ernest W. Morehouse, whose advancement along professional lines has been continuous, bringing him at length to an enviable position among the architects of Alberta.'

Morehouse married Miss Minnie L. Jaynes in 1892 and they had two children. After his arrival here, Morehouse established an architectural and contracting firm with Arthur Nesbitt. In 1914, Morehouse established his own company. He was an active member of the Alberta Association of Architects and served as its vice-president in 1921.

* * *

SITE DATA FORM BUILDING/SITE DESCRIPTION:

The Ross Residence is a two-storey wood frame structure which has been used for as a residence since its construction in 1914. No other historical buildings are located on the property. The house retains a high degree of historical integrity both inside and out.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:

The Ross residence was constructed in 1913-14 for architect Ernest William Morehouse. Morehouse was born at Chatsworth, Ontario in 1871.

After completing a course in architecture at the Polytechnic School in Toronto, he was involved in the contracting business in that city until moving to Chicago, Illinois in 1892. Upon returning to Canada in 1897, he resided in various Ontario communities before settling down in Chatham in 1903. In 1906 he returned to the United States, locating in Detroit. In 1910 he came to Edmonton and established an architectural and contracting firm in partnership with Arthur Nesbitt.
This partnership lasted until 1914 when Morehouse established his own company.

Morehouse designed a number of commercial buildings in Edmonton, including the Barton, Williamson and the Crafts and Lee buildings, the St. Lawrence Apartments and the New Westminister Rooms. He was also responsible for the design of a number of homes in the Highlands district, a new subdivision in east Edmonton which was intended by its promoters to be an exclusive residential neigbourhood. Morehouse was retained by the firm of Magrath Holgate to design a number of homes which they anticipated constructing in the area. Only four residences were completed for them before economic recession and World War I brought the development envisaged by Magrath Holgate to an abrupt end. These included the house of W.J. Magrath and Bidwell Holgate, and provided the neighbourhood context for Morehouse's own residence. Morehouse also designed the Methodist Church constructed in the Highlands and another Methodist Church at Athabasca.

Morehouse was an active community member, serving on the board of Highlands Methodist Church and the city hospital board. He was also an active member of the Alberta Association of Architects, holding the position of Vice President in 1921. Both Morehouse and his house were obviously closely associated with the city building process in Edmonton during the major period of expansion before World War I, and the city's consolidation thereafter. Following the departure of Morehouse from the residence in 1922 it was occupied by a number of people including prominent lawyer James G. Ross.

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE:

The Ross Residence is modeled after Georgian Revival residential designs which were popular across Canada and the U.S. from the 1880s until about 1915. Characteristics of this classically derived style which are evident in the house include the broad eaves overhang with brackets under the eaves, a central doorway, a verandah supported by twin boxed columns, and a tall decorated chimney stack. The plan is symmetrical in appearance, and capped by a hipped roof with two ornamental dormers, features also typical of Georgian Revival residential designs. Many variations on the Georgian Revival theme can be found throughout Alberta, particularly in larger homes constructed of brick before 1920. The Ross residence is a relatively modest example of this trend in Alberta's residential architecture.

DRAFT PRESS RELEASE:

The Honourable Dennis Anderson, Minister of Culture, announced today that the Lack Residence in Edmonton has been designated a Registered Historic Resource.

The pre-World War One building boom in Alberta featured the construction of a number of striking urban residences like the Lack residence in the Highlands district of Edmonton. It was built in 1913-14 for architect Ernest William Morehouse, who played a significant role in the physical development of Edmonton before the War. He designed various commercial buildings as well as a number of homes in the Highlands district, among which the most outstanding is the Magrath Mansion on Ada Boulevard. Following Morehouse's departure from his highlands residence in 1922, it was occupied by a number of people in succession, including prominent lawyer James G. Ross, and most recently the Lack family.

Internal

Status: Status Date:
Active
Active
1978/08/02
1993/09/20
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Municipal B List
Registered Historic Resource

1987/05/06
Register: B121
Record Information: Record Information Date:
S. Khanna 1993/02/10

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0696
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