Description of Historic Place
The District Court House is a Municipal Heritage Property located on a 1,820-square metre corner lot in the Town of Battleford. Completed in 1909, the 2½-storey, brick and Tyndall Stone building is an example of the Edwardian Classical style.
The heritage value of the District Court House resides in its association with the historical beginnings of the Town of Battleford. During its tenure as the Territorial capital from 1876-1883, the community flourished; however, when the capital was moved to Regina, the town lost much of its status. Accordingly, in 1907 when the new provincial government chose Battleford as the judicial seat for that district, as well as the location for the area's land titles building, some of its status was regained. Almost immediately, construction on the court house began. When completed in 1909, it housed the headquarters of the district judge, the six offices of the court and jail officers, a court room, and four other chambers, as well as a jail in the basement. In 1982, the building was joined by a corridor to the former land titles office, which incorporated a law library, solicitors' lounge, and change room. The building has evolved into the present day seat of Court of Queen's Bench and is the oldest continually-used court house in Saskatchewan.
Heritage value also lies in the building's Edwardian Classical style of architecture. Designed by the prominent Regina firm of Storey and Van Egmond, the District Court House was part of the first round of provincial buildings commissioned by the new provincial government. Its stature as a provincial court house required that it project an image of prestige and importance. Faced with red brick and trimmed with Tyndall Stone, the building's Edwardian Classical style is reflected in its balanced, symmetrical layout, formal arrangement, simplified Mansard roofline, and ordered windows. The truncated hip roof surmounted with dormer windows is one of the main features of the building, as are the latticed mullions in the windows, which are situated between the two-storey, double-height arched pilasters. The pedimented entryway, which is highlighted with two coats of arms and flanked with ornamental lamp standards, and the simple, unadorned cornice, evoke the qualities of tradition and strength associated with Classical buildings. Interior elements, such as the extensive use of oak trim, wainscotting, and beamed ceilings, graceful staircase, and brass finishings, express the ornamentation that Storey and Van Egmond desired for this location.
Located away from the main commercial district and just metres from the land titles office, the building is surrounded largely by residential structures, making it the dominant feature in this part of Battleford.
Source: Town of Battleford Bylaw No. 3/82.
The heritage value of the District Court House resides in the following character-defining elements:
-features that reflect its use as a provincial court house, including two carved coats of arms and signage above entryway;
-features that express the Edwardian Classical architecture, including symmetrical layout and balanced proportions, the pointed-arch pediment, carved stone ornamentation, projecting metal cornice, the symmetrical windows with latticed mullions, which sit in two-storey, double-height arched pilasters, arched windows, triangular and diamond-shaped keystones, and simplified Mansard roof with projecting dormers;
-extensive interior woodwork, oak wainscotting, stairway and railing, court room furnishings, and metal-clad roof;
-ornamental lamp standards;
-its original location on its corner lot.