Alberta Hotel

The Alberta Hotel provided the last word in luxury in the early years of the twentieth century.

Considered at the time one of the finest hotels west of Winnipeg, the prestigious Alberta Hotel made Edmonton History as the place where Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier stayed when he came to preside over the ceremony marking the creation of the province of Alberta in 1905.

The grand old hotel had its start in 1883, when Luke Kelly's Saloon opened in a one-storey wooden building on Jasper Avenue. Kelly built a two-storey addition with hotel rooms onto the east side of the building in 1887 and renamed his establishment the Alberta Hotel. The main part of the hotel, the four-storey brick and stone building with its iconic tower, was designed by James E. Wize and constructed in 1903 on the location of the original wooden building, which was moved north towards the back of the lot and attached to the new building. A two-storey annex was built in 1903, and another one-storey annex in 1904. When the old wooden building was destroyed by fire, it was replaced by a one-storey brick addition in 1934.

Made of local pressed brick and Calgary sandstone, the new Alberta Hotel was built by Fred Jackson and Del Grierson at a cost of $55, 000. The main storey was constructed of Calgary stone, and the upper three storeys of cut stone and pressed brick. Its Victorian Romanesque design gave it a distinctive castle-like flavour, with features such as rounded arch windows on the second storey, segmentally arched windows on the third storey, stone voussoirs and string courses, rusticated detailing including a rusticated base, and a round corner tower with a conical cupola.

The 75-foot tower extended from the front entrance up to a small fifth storey observation room with rectangular stained glass windows. The solid oak entrance doors at the base  of the tower opened into an elaborately furnished rotunda with large plate-glass windows. Off the rotunda were a dining room, billiards room, card room, and a large, beautifully decorated bar with an ornate moulded plaster ceiling.

The Alberta Hotel could lay claim to a number of "firsts" in both Edmonton and Alberta: it boasted Alberta's first passenger elevator; it was the first four-storey building in Edmonton; and the first major brick structure to be built on Jasper Avenue. It was also the first hotel in Edmonton to have shower baths, telephones, and a call-bell system that guests could use to contact the front desk from their rooms.

The Alberta Hotel was carefully dismantled in 1984 to make way for Canada Place, and many of its components stored. The exterior was reconstructed in 2010 with a modern interior that is now the home of CKUA radio.

Details

Type

Residential

Designation Status

Demolished

Neighbourhood

Downtown

Year Built

1903

Architectural Styles

Edwardian

Character Defining Elements

Arched Windows , Balcony , Brick structure , Cornice , Flat roof , Irregular footprint , Portico , Rusticated stone , Stone structure , Tower , Voussoirs

Gallery

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