A. Urquhart & Co. - Lacombe, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
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: 8/20/2018 4:47:04 PM
Waymark Code: WMZ0G5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member GeoKs
Views: 4

Long Description:
The fire of 1906 burned much of downtown Lacombe, including all to this block save for the Merchant's Bank building, at the east 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.


The namesake of this block, Andrew Urquhart, was a pioneer in early Lacombe and an active community man. Urquhart served on Town Council, the Board of Trade, and the Hospital and School District Boards.

Built in 1907, the Urquhart Block is 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 brick with red mortar imparts a distinctive character to the building.

It is a vital contributor to the lively historic ambience of Lacombe's central business district. The current owner of the Urquhart Block, Jack Kanngiesser Sr., has owned the building since 1954.
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 & Province of Alberta

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