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Key Number: HS 6312
Site Name: John Walter House (1875)
Other Names:
Site Type: 0101 - Residential: Single Dwelling


ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
52 24 4

Address: 9100 Walterdale Hill
Number: 00
Street: N/A
Avenue: N/A
Town: Edmonton
Near Town:


Type Number Date View


Plan Shape: Rectangular Short Facade
Storeys: Storeys: 1 1/2
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Medium Gable
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Single Detached
Wings: None
Number of Bays - Facade: First or Ground Floor, 2 Bays
Wall Design and Detail: Corner Board
Wall Design and Detail: String or Belt Course
Roof Trim - Eaves: Projecting Eaves
Roof Trim - Eaves: Rafters Exposed
Roof Trim Material - Eaves: Wood
Roof Trim - Verges: Projecting Verges
Roof Trim Material - Verges: Wood
Dormer Type: None
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Centre
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Rear
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 - Number of Sashes: One
Window - Opening Mechanism: Fixed
Window - Special Types: None
Main Entrance - Location: Off-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: 5
Main Stairs - Location and Design: None
Main Stairs - Direction: None
Main Porch - Type: None
Main Porch - Special Features: None
Main Porch - Material: None
Main Porch - Height: None
Exterior: Front gable roof, mullioned windows.
Interior: Restored as period house museum; one main room downstairs with bedrooms above.
Environment: Neighbourhood: River Valley Walterdale N.T.S. Map Ref. St. Albert 83H12; U.T. M. Location 12UUQ 340 337; LSD 3; Section 32; T 52; R 24; W4M. 1/2 mile downstream from High Level Bridge.
Condition: Good
Alterations: Apparent Alterations and/or Additions: None Site: Moved


Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
Usage: Usage Date:
Educational: Museum or Gallery
Mercantile/Commercial: General Retail Store
Mercantile/Commercial: Office or Administration Bldg
Transportation - Water Facility: Terminal Building
Communications: Telegraph Station or Building
Residential: Single Dwelling

Owner: Owner Date:
City of Edmonton
John Walter

Architect: John Walter
Builder: John Walter
Craftsman: N/A
History: Old address was 10627 - 93 Avenue. First significant house on south side. Site of important construction, lumbering, ferry, boat-building and other commercial enterprises. At time of 1882 survey this house established western boundary of his claim. This house was moved 1899 to the S.W. corner of 92 Avenue 107 Street and served as a cookhouse for Walter's sawmill. It was moved to the present location in 1911. It was a private residence (1920-1958) and was moved 50 ft. once again in 1959. * * * JOHN WALTER MUSEUM (c.1874) City's Oldest Surviving House When the Belle of Edmonton plied the North Saskatchewan River, the toll was 10 cents per foot passenger, and five cents for farm animals. Today, the murky waters are spanned by numerous bridges and the Belle of Edmonton has long since disappeared. But two humble rough-hewn timber cabins - and a not-so-humble wood frame two-storey house - still stand at the foot of Walterdale Hill, marking the approximate location where John Walter's ferry once operated. If you look carefully, you may pick them out on your left, as you drive down the hill and over the 105th Street Bridge toward downtown. The buildings also mark the beginnings of the community that once dotted Walter's Flats. The three houses are collectively called the John Walter Museum, and they mark many firsts for our city. Documenting the rise of John Walter - one of Strathcona's earliest pioneers and businessmen - the city-owned site includes the first building to be constructed on the south side, and one of the first to be built outside the palisades of Fort Edmonton. Accounts differ on the year - it was built either 1874, 1875 or 1876. It served as the first telegraph office in 1880, as well as a general store and an office for Walter's ferry service. The second log house was built in 1884 and Walter moved into it in 1886 with his new bride, Appia Elizabeth Newby. His two sons, John Jr. and Stanley, were born here. Again, accounts differ on what year the third house was built - 1899, 1900, or 1901. The historic site, with the exception of the newest house, is used for student pioneer interpretive programs. Inside, 19th century furnishings and artifacts provide a pioneer decor for such activities as butter churning, carding wool, and baking. Walter's last home has been headquarters for the Heritage Festival since 1982. All of the buildings were moved from their original locations to where they now stand. Walter himself moved the first two houses from about a block east to their present site prior to 1900, after constructing his third and most imposing residence. The third house, which was built where the High Level Bridge now stands, was moved by the city in 1974. Ironically, its turn of the century interior was modernized as an office for the Fort Edmonton Historical Foundation. A 1985 fire caused $30,000 damage to this house, and repairs are now being completed. John Walter was born in Scotland's Orkney Islands in 1849. He arrived at Fort Edmonton on Christmas Eve 1870 to build York boats for the Hudson's Bay Company and died on Christmas Day 1920 - 50 years and one day after his arrival here. After leaving the Hudson's Bay Company, he built the cabin across the river from the fort and staked his claim to River Lot Nine. He began his business career by operating the Belle of Edmonton, the first cable ferry west of Winnipeg. It ran until the opening of the High Level Bridge in 1913. He built the pleasure steamer, City of Edmonton, in 1909, and purchased Big Island, 22 kilometers upstream on the river, planning to turn it into a tourist resort. Walter was also involved in the lumber business and operated a coal mine. But floods in 1912 and 1915 wiped out his lumber business, carrying away a large stack of lumber, destroying his mill, and ruining the previous winter's cut. Walter, said to have been one of Edmonton's first millionaires, suffered devastating financial losses. But, undaunted, he was on a financial comeback when he died in 1920.


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

Register: A84
Record Information: Record Information Date:
S. Khanna 1992/11/20


Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0441
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