Urquhart Block - Lacombe, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 52° 27.766 W 113° 43.806
12U E 314533 N 5816015
Quick Description: Unique in Lacombe, the Urquhart & Co. Block, AKA the Kanngiesser Building, is the only building in the town with two identical storefronts.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 6/24/2020 4:42:59 PM
Waymark Code: WM12P47
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 2

Long Description:
The fire of 1906 burned much of downtown Lacombe, including all of this block save for the Merchant's Bank building, at the west end of the block. This was the first building to be completed on the block following the fire. The building is brick faced, the result of a bylaw passed by the town following the fire decreeing that all new construction be of brick or other fireproof material and that all existing buildings be faced with similar materials. Its two names refer to the original owner, Andrew Urquhart, and to the building's owner since 1954, Jack Kanngiesser Sr.

The fact that the building can have two identical storefronts comes about as the result of the layout of this section of Lacombe. The original town layout turned out to be at about a forty five degree angle to the Railway when it arrived, causing newer streets between 50th Avenue and the tracks to follow the railway's alignment. At the confluence of the two, triangular blocks occurred, resulting in odd shaped building lots.

In the accompanying photos the storefront with the Department Stores banner at the cornice faces 50th Avenue, while the other store front faces Railway Avenue.
Urquhart Block
Description of Historic Place
The Urquhart Block is a two-storey brick building situated on three lots in the central business district of the Town of Lacombe. Built in 1907, the structure features a rare polygonal footprint within a triangular block that provides it with two virtually identical street frontages. The Urquhart Block is otherwise typical of early commercial buildings constructed in the province and its two street frontages include yellow cement brick facades, recessed entrances, arched lintels with keystones over the second storey windows, and parapets with central pediments.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Urquhart Block lies in its fine representation of early commercial architecture in Alberta.

Built in 1907, the Urquhart Block is situated in a historic Lacombe neighbourhood distinguished by an uncommon triangular footprint created by the intersection of the original land survey with the oblique alignment of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway line. The block's triangular plotting and grouping of heritage buildings makes it one of Alberta's premier collections of early twentieth century commercial buildings. The peculiar shape of the block's footprint imparts to the Urquhart Block building a unique feature: dual storefronts. Though the presence of two storefronts on the building is unusual, the design of the storefronts is typical of Alberta's early commercial buildings, featuring the division of their surfaces into three sections: the main floors with recessed entrances, large display windows surmounted by transoms, and bulkheads; second storeys separated from the first by sign bands and featuring the symmetrical arrangement of multi-paned windows; and crowning cornices surmounted by parapets and a central pediment. The yellow cement brick joined by red mortar on each of the storefronts imparts a distinctive character to the building. It is a vital contributor to the lively historic ambience of Lacombe's central business district.

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Urquhart Block include such features as:
- location in Lacombe's historic downtown;
- yellow cement brick joined by red mortar on main facades;
- original chimney;
- dual street frontages, including recessed entryways, pediments, large display windows surmounted by transoms, bulkheads, typical sign bands framed on the top and bottom by projecting brick stringcourses, second storey arched lintels with keystones and windows, projecting brick stringcourses below and on top of crowning cornices and parapets, upper cornices with decorative conclave brackets, and parapets with central pediments;
- fenestration pattern and style, including original three paneled windows on the second storey.
From the Alberta Register of Historic Places
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Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

4923 - 50 Avenue
Lacombe, AB
T4L 1K3

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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