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GRIER BLOCK

2305/2311 - 2 Avenue, Fort MacLeod, Alberta, T0L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/02/15

The Grier Block Provincial Historic Resource, Fort Macleod (date unknown); Town of Fort Macleod, date unknown
Front elevation
The Grier Block Provincial Historic Resource, Fort Macleod (February 2006); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2006
Front facade, east elevation
No Image

Other Name(s)

GRIER BLOCK
Great West Saddlery Company
Wilson Millinery
Union Meat Market
MacLeod Gazette
Barnes Medical Hall Drug
Turner Real Estate

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1900/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/02/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Grier Block is a pre-World War One, two-storey, red brick commercial structure with a pressed metal facade designed in the Edwardian classical revival style. It is located on an urban lot on 2nd Avenue in downtown Fort Macleod.

Heritage Value

The historical significance of the Grier Block lies in its association with the development of the business district of Macleod (later named Fort Macleod) in the early twentieth century. It is also significant as an excellent example of methods of construction in the period, and for its association with one of Fort Macleod's prominent developers and community leaders.

The Grier Block was the first and largest commercial building in Fort Macleod housing multiple businesses. Its construction reflected the town's prosperity after the arrival of the Calgary and Edmonton Railway in 1892, and its role in the culture and economy of southern Alberta. The upper floor was initially used for professional offices and meeting space for fraternal organizations such as the Masons, and later converted to apartments, while businesses such as a saddlery, druggist, butcher and newspaper took advantage of the wide storefronts at street level.

The Grier Block is Fort Macleod's oldest brick building, and is clad with the largest, and possibly the only, facade of pressed tin in southern Alberta. Pressed and cast metal were important new construction materials for commercial and public buildings at the turn of the twentieth century. The Grier Block also showcased the larger window storefront areas made possible through metal posts and beams at this time.

It is also significant for its association with one of the town's most prominent developers and community leaders. Bruce Grier, a former North West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.) officer, cattleman and farmer, financed the construction of the Block. In addition to varied business interests, Grier served as mayor between 1900 and 1918, when many of the public services such as electrical power, water, sewer and natural gas were installed.

The Grier Block is a major contributing element in the Fort Macleod Historic District as it remains the most substantial commercial structure in the downtown area. Its distinctive style combined with its highly visible central location makes it a town landmark.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1956)

Character-Defining Elements

The Edwardian-era commercial style of the Grier Block is expressed in character-defining elements such as:

Original features of the metal facade on the upper floor including:
- elaborate corbelled cornices with recessed panels, egg and dart mouldings, and dentils;
- the second floor pressed metal facadeof the east elevation, including details such as engaged columns with Corinthian capitals flanking each second floor window;
- masonry walls, sandstone sills and brick voussoirs on the north and west elevations;
- decorative parapet finials (urns);
- stepped parapet along the north and south elevations;
- fenestration and door pattern;
- double-hung painted wood sash windows on the upper east facade floor and north and west facades;
- three glazed four-sided metal beveled skylights;
- evidence of original pressed metal tin ceilings, trim and finishes on the second floor;
- remnants of hardwood flooring.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Alberta

Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date

2002/02/15

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1900/01/01 to 1918/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Residence
Multiple Dwelling

Historic

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

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. 1956)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

4665-0990

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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