Description of Historic Place
The Court House is a Municipal Heritage Property located in the City of Swift Current at 121 Lorne Street West. Looking over downtown Swift Current, the two-storey, stone and brick building, completed in 1916, is an example of the Edwardian Classical style and features an impressive portico.
The heritage value of the Court House lies in its Edwardian Classical architecture. It was constructed from 1914-1916 to the designs of Raymond Philbrick, the first supervisor of the province's newly established Buildings Branch of the Department of Public Works. The first of two buildings in the province built to house both a courthouse and land registry office, the structure was designed to be suitably substantial for its important dual function. Finished in a style popular for government buildings, the design was inspired by the Baroque and Palladian architecture of seventieth and eightieth century England, and exhibits perfect symmetry with characteristic detailing such as a central Palladian window. Separate entrances for the courthouse, sheriff and land titles punctuate the building, with the court house entrance marked by an elaborate portico comprised of Doric columns and a segmental pediment. The building's interior is graced by a broad stair hall with an iron and brass staircase, and a large, second-storey courtroom classically detailed with pilasters, and a prominent bench backdrop that incorporates a Serilna arch. Notably, the building was constructed largely with local or regional materials and expertise, including buff-coloured brick from Claybank, Saskatchewan.
The heritage value of the property also lies in its formal landscaping, which befits the importance of its function. Entrance to the landscaped grounds is by way of a double-stair with classical balustrades, which is designed in the formal Italian manner, and serves to complement the Palladian characteristics of the court house. Centred on the elevated property overlooking the downtown core, the impressive situation of the court house contributes to the property's landmark status.
The heritage value of the property also lies in its historic functional role as a Government of Saskatchewan building. In this capacity, the courthouse has served continuously as the headquarters of the Swift Current Judicial District, which was organized just three years prior to the commencement of the structure's construction. Initially, the building also served as the land registry office, directly associating it also with the early settlement of the region.
City of Swift Current Bylaw No. 21-1985.
The heritage value of the Court House resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those elements that reflect the property’s Edwardian Classical architecture, including its symmetrical, two-storey, 'U' shaped plan; and flat roof;
-stone detailing with buff-coloured brick and grey Manitoba limestone detailing; granite entrance steps; door casing's with segmental and ogee pediments; an elaborate front entrance portico comprised of twinned, giant Doric columns and a segmental pediment;
-Edwardian Classical stylistic features such as a Palladian window, niche windows, corner pilasters, window casing with keystone detail and entablature type hoods; leaded and stained glass staircase window;
-those elements that reflect the property’s association with its historic government function, such as separate entrances marked by engraved 'SHERRIFF' and ' LAND TITLES' lettering surmounted by the provincial emblem; court house entrance door casing with engraved 'COVRT HOVSE' lettering surmounted by the Royal crest in the main pediment and original interior features including those which reflect the historic floor plan, such as the central stair hall containing a double-return, iron and brass staircase with stone treads and newel post lanterns; second-storey courtroom with classical detailing such as wall pilasters, door case pediments, and a bench backdrop incorporating a Serliana arch; terrazzo floors; oak window and door casing, doors, and baseboard detail throughout;
-those elements that reflect the property’s formal landscaping, including surrounding lawns, and the Italianate, double-stair approach with classical style balustrades constructed of buff-coloured brick and Tyndall Stone and its prominent location overlooking the downtown.