Gahan-Kendall Block - Penticton, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 49° 30.051 W 119° 35.569
11U E 312273 N 5486366
Quick Description: What has become known as a "Flatiron", the Gahan-Kendall Block is an inevitable result of seemingly haphazard street layout in turn of the twentieth century villages.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 10/11/2021 3:22:58 PM
Waymark Code: WM153XW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 0

Long Description:
PIC While Penticton's Main Street didn't run truly north-south, Front Street, which angled to the northeast off Main Street, managed to create about a 45° angle between the two. The Gahan-Kendall Block fronts Front Street on one side and an alley which parallels Main Street on its west side. The result is this flatiron, a building with an acute angle at this intersection. To compensate for the acute angle a cutaway corner entrance was was installed in that corner of the building.

During Penticton's commercial building boom of 1911-1912 Front Street became the de facto business hub of the downtown core, with several buildings from that era remaining along the street. It was at this time, or just prior, that it was assumed that the Canadian Pacific Railway would enter Pentiction, with its rails paralleling Front Street, hence its odd direction of travel. This never came to pass and this became Front Street. Later, i.e. in the 1920s, the business district migrated south along Main Street, with essentially no further business construction taking place along Front Street until much later.

The Gahan-Kendall Block, along with a few of its neighbours, was one of the first concrete and brick, or concrete, buildings to go up in Penticton, essentially spelling the end of wood frame construction in the downtown area. Built by contractor E. Ritchie of Kelowna for W.H.T. Gahan, a lawyer, Gahan's offices occupied the upper floor, while he rented the ground floor to Kendall and Mason, early Penticton realtors. Today the Gahan-Kendall Block is home to Sass Boutique, an high-end women's fashion store which has two stores in the Okanagan, one in Summerland and this one in Penticton.


Gahan-Kendall Block
Description of Historic Place:
The Kendall-Gahan Block is a two-storey, brick-faced, flat-iron commercial building with a cutaway corner entrance, whose angles fit the diagonal intersection of Front Street and a laneway in Penticton, British Columbia.

Heritage Value:
The Kendall-Gahan Block symbolizes the optimism of the 1911 building boom and provides an important visual anchor to Front Street. It is valued for its flat-iron shape, warmly coloured brick façade, and prominent location near the westerly end of Front Street as it approaches Main Street.

Its unusual shape and modest scale invite attention from pedestrians. The corner block form with cutaway corner entrance has historic value as a physical reminder of the original town plan and of the influence of the railway line planned where Front Street now lies at an angle to other streets. This is reflected in the sharp angle of the building.

The Kendall-Gahan Block was one of five masonry 'fire-proof' buildings erected on Front and Main Streets in 1911, a pivotal year in Penticton during the Canada-wide pre-World War I building boom. As one of the first non-wooden buildings, it is indicative of the confidence shown by the developers in the town's economy and future in era leading up to the opening of the KVR as Penticton developed its identity as a transportation hub for the South Okanagan.

Aesthetically, the building was well suited to its role as the office of Kendall and Mason, early Penticton realtors. It was built by E. Ritchie of Kelowna for W.H.T. Gahan, a lawyer, who occupied the upper floor. Restored around 1980, the building retains its original brick veneer and concrete cornice line. The concrete walls and galvanized iron ceilings were intended to prevent fire, indicative of the capital investment reflecting the longevity that the building was intended to have.

The historic value of the Kendall-Gahan Block also derives from its association with W.H.T. Gahan, one of Penticton's early solicitors and notaries, and M. C. Kendall, one of Penticton's earliest realtors, respectively, both of whom were involved in the early development of Penticton town-site and with the establishment of commercial orchards in the area.The Kendall-Gahan Block symbolizes the optimism of the 1911 building boom and provides an important visual anchor to Front Street. It is valued for its flat-iron shape, warmly coloured brick façade, and prominent location near the westerly end of Front Street as it approaches Main Street.

Character-Defining Elements:
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Kendall-Gahan Block include its:
  • late Victorian commercial design
  • original brick exterior with corbelled string courses and a concrete cornice line
  • unusual corner block form with cutaway corner entrance
  • brickwork
  • original double-hung windows
  • awnings
    From Historic Places Canada
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

Address:
25 Front Street
Penticton, BC
V2A 5A4


Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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