FLAT IRON BUILDING
Former Merchant's Bank
Merchant's Bank (Former)
Links and documents
1903/01/01 to 1904/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Flat Iron Building is an early twentieth century Edwardian Classical Revival style, three-storey triangular-shaped brick and sandstone building situated at a prominent corner location on a triangular block in downtown Lacombe.
The heritage value of the Flat Iron Building lies in its distinctive architectural style and design and its association with two financial institutions, the Merchant's Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal that played an important role in the development of Lacombe and many other communities throughout Alberta in the early part of the twentieth century.
The Flat Iron Building is a rare example of a commercial building following the style of the 1902 Fuller Building in New York. While buildings of this shape were constructed in North America in the late nineteenth century, the Fuller, more commonly referred to as the Flatiron Building, is considered by many as the prototype of buildings of this type, so named for their distinctive triangular shape that resembled a flat iron. Flat Iron Buildings were fashionable throughout North American at the turn of the twentieth century, however few remain. Constructed in 1903-4 by the Merchant's Bank of Canada, Lacombe's Flat Iron Building is one of two remaining in Alberta and is the oldest known building of this type in Western Canada. The basic design of the building is typical of the dominant architecture preferred by financial institutions of the time, to convey a sense of power, security and reliability to customer's and competitors alike.
The building was occupied by the Merchant's Bank of Canada from 1904 until its purchase by the Bank of Montreal in 1922. The Bank of Montreal continued to occupy the building until 1967. Through the provision of financial services, both the Merchant's Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal played a significant role in the early development of not only the Town of Lacombe, but many other communities throughout the province.
The Flat Iron Building is the most prominent building in Lacombe and is a well-known landmark throughout central Alberta.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (Des. File: 1715)
Character-defining elements of the Flat Iron Building's distinctive shape, Edwardian Classical style and landmark value include:
- the prominent corner location;
- the form, scale, massing of a triangular, "flat iron" building;
- the exterior masonry: a rusticated sandstone base, brick walls with horizontal relief bands on the first floor, and sandstone pilasters through the second and third storeys;
- the denticulated wood cornices with ornamental brackets;
- the fenestration and door patterns, with original wooden windows where they remain, sandstone sills, two palladian windows with voussoirs and one round window;
- a scallop-shaped hood with decorative brackets over the main entrance on the corner;
- a decorated frieze;
- traces of the original banking hall on the main floor; and
- hardwood floors.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
1922/01/01 to 1967/01/01
1904/01/01 to 1922/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Bank or Stock Exchange
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1715)
Cross-Reference to Collection