Allan Merrick Jeffers

After winning architectural design competitions, Allan Merrick Jeffers of Rhode Island caught the attention of Alberta’s first premier who asked Jeffers to come to Edmonton in 1907 to design the Alberta Legislature Building.

Provincial Architect of Alberta (1907-1912)

City of Edmonton Architect (1912-1913, 1914)

Allan Merrick Jeffers was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island where he attended the Rhode Island School of Design. He won several architectural design competitions and caught the attention of Alberta’s Premier Alexander Rutherford. The Premier had rejected previous designs for the Alberta Legislature Building suggested by Cecil Hopkins because they were deemed too similar to the British Columbia Legislative Building. Hopkins resigned as Provincial Architect in 1907 and was replaced by Jeffers. The website Alberta’s Real Estate Heritage suggests that “Rutherford and Public Works Minister, W.H. Cushing, allegedly told Jeffers that he should design a building very similar to Minnesota's state legislative building in St. Paul, which the two had just recently visited” although the ultimate design was likely influenced as well by other state capitol buildings like the one in which Jeffers had worked as a member of the Rhode Island Legislature. When his tenure with the province came to an end in 1912, Jeffers became the City of Edmonton Architect. This department was abolished in 1913, but Jeffers was reinstated in 1914 when the position was restored. Among many other buildings Jeffers designed several provincial courthouses, buildings at the University of Alberta, and three telephone exchanges - a testament to the rapid growth and development of the province at the time.

After turning to private practise in 1915, Jeffers remained in Edmonton until 1923 when, perhaps due to the postwar recession, he relocated to Prince Rupert and then to California. This move was ostensibly for family reasons, but some speculate he was drawn to Hollywood with the promise of fame and fortune as a set designer. He died in California in 1926.

Details

Full Name

Allan Merrick Jeffers

Character Defining Elements

Architrave, Balustrade, Brick cladding, Brick structure, Carving, Cast stone, Columns, Cornice, Coronets, Cupola, Decorative terracotta, Dentil, Dome, Entablature, Flag pole, Flat roof, Gabled parapet, Giant columns, Irregular footprint, Keystone, Parapet, Pediment, Pilaster, Plinth, Portico, Rectangular footprint, Reinforced concrete structure, Rusticated stone, Smooth stone, Stone structure, String course, T shape footprint, Three storeys or more, Two storeys

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