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4836 Ross Street, Red Deer, Alberta, T4N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/07/31

Old Red Deer Court House Provincial Historic Resource (date unknown); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2004
South view
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Other Name(s)

Red Deer Courthouse
Red Deer Court House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1930/01/01 to 1931/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/08/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old Red Deer Courthouse is a landmark two-storey brick building in the Classical Revival style constructed in 1931. It is located on four city lots on the northeast corner of Ross Street and 49th Avenue in downtown Red Deer.

Heritage Value

The Old Red Deer Courthouse's significance lies in its status as the last Alberta courthouse built in the Classical Revival style. It represents the end of a marked tradition in Alberta courthouse architecture that developed from 1907 to 1912.

Based on a standard Alberta Public Works plan, it was designed under the supervision of D.E. MacDonald, provincial General Superintendent of Buildings. Like many public and commercial buildings of the period, its monumental style and classical detailing (and, more unusually, the use of Tyndall limestone specially imported from Manitoba) was intended to engender public respect. Although planned as early as 1907, its construction was delayed until 1931, by which time the trend was toward more modest courthouse design. The Courthouse in Red Deer is thus a rare artifact of the City Beautiful movement in Alberta, and, retaining full integrity of its design and historic fabric, it is a provincial landmark.

The Old Red Deer Courthouse also has historical significance for its association with Premier Brownlee and the policy of the United Farmers of Alberta government of decentralizing public buildings throughout the province. Enlarged by a 1958 rear addition, the Courthouse housed both the Provincial Court and the Court of Queen's Bench, and served as the centre of justice for Red Deer and area until 1983.

The Old Red Deer Courthouse is also historically significant as the location of the 1959 murder trail of Robert Raymond Cooke, the last person sentenced to be hanged in Alberta.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 838)

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the Old Red Deer Courthouse lies in such elements as:
- form and massing that defines the courthouse as a landmark building;
- Classical Revival style elements including the two Palladian style entries, especially the main entry with its two-storey Ionic portico complete with a rounded arched doorway with a fanlight transom, and triple windows with a balcony, and surmounted by pediment and balustrade featuring a carved provincial crest;
- exterior architectural elements and materials including, the pattern of fenestration, a hipped roof with terra cotta tile, Flemish bond red brick walls, and Tyndall limestone detailing;
- original interior features such as the finishes and associated furnishings of the second floor court room, including the vaulted ceiling, judges' chambers and jury room;
- features and finishes of the corridors, stairways, rotunda, and foyers, including birch doors, baseboards, and window and door casings.




Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1931/01/01 to 1983/01/01
1959/01/01 to 1959/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Governing Canada
Security and Law

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Courthouse and/or Registry Office

Architect / Designer

D.E. MacDonald


J.P. Desrochers

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. 838)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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