Gibbard Block

Built to house luxurious apartments, the Gibbard Block has been largely restored to showcase its original elegance.

The building originally featured nine suites, between one and five rooms each, on the second and third levels and two storefronts at street level. Each suite had electric lighting, their own telephone and intercom, and hot water in bathrooms, each lighted from a central skylight well. An acetylene central gas plant provided fuel for cooking. With terrazzo flooring in the foyer and a pressed tin ornamental ceiling on the main floor, this apartment was built to draw a refined class to the newly developed Highlands district. The exterior is finsihed in Redcliff brick from southern Alberta and displays Classical Revival features such as brick pilasters, large scrolling wooden brackets, a wood and metal cornice, contrasting lintels and large keystones above the windows.

Well-known Edmonton architect Ernest W. Moorehouse designed the apartment block to include what a 1913 newspaper trumpeted as "the latest idea in architecture, comfort, modern equipment and convenience." It was the vision of Highlands promoters William Magrath and Bidwell Holgate who purchased the property originally. They soon turned William Thomas Gibbard of Nipanee, Ontario for one-third of the $90,000 needed to construct this building. Gibbard likely never lived in Edmonton, but he visited his daughter and her husband here. In fact, part of 57th Street between 112th and 118th Avenue was named Gibbard Street for a short time.

Initially the apartments were rarely vacant and the grocery and drug stores that held tenancy on the main floor stayed for many years. But with the passage of time, the block ended up changing hands several times and by the 1970s and 1980s the building served as low income housing. It took another visionary to bring the Gibbard Block back to its glory days. 

Details

Type

Commercial

Designation Status

Municipal Historic Resource

Neighbourhood

Highlands

Year Built

1912

Architectural Styles

Classical Revival

Character Defining Elements

Rectangular footprint , Three storeys or more , Brick structure , Flat roof , Date stone , Lintel , Pilaster , Cornice , Keystone , Skylight , Parapet , Brackets

Gallery

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