Churchill Wire Centre

The Churchill Wire Centre is located in the heart of downtown and was built to house equipment for Edmonton Telephones.

Built in 1947, this two and a half storey building was designed by City Architect Maxwell Dewar. The building features exterior prefabricated panels of polished black granite and cast terrazzo that create simple, smooth surfaces. Art Deco flourishes include the use of reflective material such as glass block and the winged figure holding lightning bolts and cables above the entrance that represented communication technology at the time. Churchill Wire Centre set the architectural standard for the civic centre, which included the 1957 City Hall and subsequent structures surrounding Churchill Square.

The Churchill Wire Building was built for Edmonton’s former municipal telephone company, Edmonton Telephones, to house the large switching equipment necessary to provide telephone service to the growing city. Reflecting this use, the building was designed with an open interior and very tall ceiling. As Edmonton expanded after the Second World War, Edmonton Telephones likewise continued to grow, necessitating the addition of a larger headquarters. In 1958, a four-storey addition to the west was added. At the height of its operation, this exchange depended on twelve switchmen and two dozen operators to manage the equipment running through the huge building. The building was operated as the Churchill Wire Centre until 1984 when the building was vacated and the telephone equipment was removed. The building was later redeveloped into apartments.

Details

Type

Communications

Designation Status

No Historic Recognition

Neighbourhood

Downtown

Year Built

1947/1958

Architects

Maxwell Dewar

Architectural Styles

Art Deco influences

Character Defining Elements

Carving , Flag pole , Flat roof , Glass block , Metal structure , Pilaster , Polished stone , Rectangular footprint , Smooth stone , Two storeys

Gallery

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