Merchants Bank of Canada - Lacombe, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 52° 27.782 W 113° 43.864
12U E 314469 N 5816048
Quick Description: One of two flatirons in Lacombe, the old Merchants Bank building is also the most visible and best known building in the town.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 8/18/2018 3:34:03 PM
Waymark Code: WMZ05N
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member GeoKs
Views: 3

Long Description:
Along the south side of Lacombe's 50th Avenue, on either side of 50th Street, are two streets which meet 50th Avenue at 45 degree angles, resulting in a pair of triangular building lots. Each was filled with a building which best fit the dimensions of its lot, a flatiron. The flatiron on the east end, known as the Corner Business Block, was built in 1903, destroyed by the fire of 1906, rebuilt and burned again in 1911, the current building on that site not being built until 1928. The 1906 fire, incidentally, burned the entire block, save for this, the Merchants Bank building, which was designed by Hogle & Davis, prolific designers of bank buildings throughout the country between 1904 and 1919. Begun in 1903, it opened in 1905, the year prior to the fire.


The Merchants Bank of Canada Building, also known as the Flat Iron Block, is the most recognizable and treasured building in the Town of Lacombe. Designed in the BeauxArts tradition of architecture, the building is an excellent example of the influence of the Edwardian-era on western Canadian architecture. The Merchants Bank, an early financial institution, first opened in Lacombe in 1901, however, construction began on a permanent building for the company in 1903. Completed in 1905, one year prior to the fire that would destroy much of the downtown of Lacombe, the Merchants Bank stood as a sophisticated and unique building in a community that was beginning to grow and flourish.

The Merchants Bank, was a successful company and the first bank in the Town of Lacombe; it merged with the Bank of Montreal in 1922. The Bank of Montreal continued to occupy the building until 1967.

This is a rare example of a commercial building following the style of the 1902 Fuller Building in New York. While buildings of this shape were constructed in North America in the late nineteenth century, the Fuller, more commonly referred to as the Flatiron Building, is considered by many as the prototype of buildings of this type, so named for their distinctive triangular shape that resembled a flat iron. The basic design of the building is typical of the dominant architecture preferred by financial institutions of the time, to convey a sense of power, security and reliability to customer's and competitors alike. Hogle & Davis were the architects for the Merchant’s Bank, and designed a number of branch banks throughout the country between 1904 and 1919.

Despite its different uses, the Merchants Bank building has always been an important structure in the community. For many years, the town’s water pump was located outside the building, making it an important gathering place for the local people.
From the Lacombe Municipal Heritage Survey

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Type of Marker: Cultural

Sign Age: Historic Site or Building Marker

Parking: Street parking is available on the block

Placement agency: Town of Lacombe

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