The "temporary" Civic Block served as Edmonton's City Hall longer than any other building to date.

Although it served as City Hall for 44 years, the Civic Block was never called City Hall because it had not been intended as a long-term home to Edmonton’s municipal government. Built between 1912 and 1913, it was a utilitarian building with very little ornamentation, to be used temporarily as City Hall until a new building could be built.

The six-storey 52,000 square-foot structure was designed by then City Architect A.M. Jeffers and built by Purcell and Foote at a cost of $225,000. The design showed Edwardian influences and was referred to by the City Architect’s Department of the time as modern commercial.

The Civic Block was a steel frame, reinforced concrete and brick structure with brick and terracotta cladding and cast stone trim. The first floor was set off from the upper five storeys by a stone band molding, the flat roof was edged with a parapet and molded cornice with dentils, and a sill course and stone string course separated the fifth and six floors. Some decorative stonework adorned the exterior, including keystone details above the windows, a pattern of diamonds and rectangles along a narrow frieze below the cornice, and a small stone coronet surmounting the parapet in front of the flag pole above the main entrance.  The interior was trimmed in quarter-cut white oak, except for sheet metal trim around stair openings and tile wainscotting in washrooms. Floors were of maple and tile, and the main staircase was made from plainly decorated cast iron with slate treads.

In 1962, a few years after municipal government departments moved to the new City Hall north of Churchill Square, the Civic Block was expanded and renovated to accommodate Police Headquarters, and the original Edwardian exterior was covered in aluminum and glass cladding.

After sitting empty for years, the Civic Block was demolished to make way for Winspear Centre in 1995. Two window openings were preserved, and today can be seen in a small park on 99 Street between Winspear Centre and Chancery Hall.

Details

Type

Governmental

Designation Status

Demolished

Neighbourhood

Downtown

Year Built

1912-13

Architectural Styles

Edwardian

Character Defining Elements

Brick cladding , Cornice , Coronets , Decorative terracotta , Dentil , Flag pole , Flat roof , Keystone , Parapet , Rectangular footprint , Reinforced concrete structure , String course , Three storeys or more , Cast stone

Gallery

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