James Henderson

Although relatively unknown, James Henderson designed buildings which harken to Edmonton’s earliest boom time.

James Henderson came to Edmonton from England. He was a fellow of the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects, and in 1914 Henderson was elected president of the Architects Association of Alberta. Henderson’s Directories first lists him as an architect in Edmonton in 1907. He worked as an architect on his own, with the Land Titles Department, and for the Hudson’s Bay Land Department. He retired in 1931 and died within the year. He was survived by his wife, who continued to live in Edmonton for at least a few years following his death.

Henderson’s work is left to fill in what is unknown about the man. Several of his early 20th century buildings were solid examples Edwardian architecture in the city. The Moser-Ryder Block, Brighton Block and the Ross Flats apartments are classically Edwardian with understated colonettes, voussoirs, and keystones, simple ornamentation, and flat arches. These buildings are fitting testimonies to at time of speculation, entrepreneurial spirit, and rapid urban growth. Henderson’s Moser-Ryder Block was built by real estate investors attempting to capitalize on Edmonton’s economic boom. The Brighton Block was built for well-known pioneer photographer Ernest Brown at the height of his career. And the Ross Flat Apartments is the earliest surviving example of a Children’s Shelter in the area; it was converted to a Salvation Army Hospital, a stopping point for American soldiers during the Second World War, and finally into an apartment block.


Full Name

James Henderson

Character Defining Elements

Balcony, Brackets, Brick cladding, Brick structure, Cornice, Decorated parapet, Flat roof, Keystone, Painted signage, Pilaster, Portico, Rectangular footprint, Stone cladding, Three storeys or more


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