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11135 - 84 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/06/30

The Sarah McLellan House Provincial Historic Resource (January 2000); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2000
View looking southwest.
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Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/03/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Sarah McLellan House is a two and one-half storey building situated on one and one-half lots in Edmonton's Garneau district. Constructed in 1913, the building embodies the four-square style of architecture and features a box-like shape, hipped roof with hipped dormers on each slope, and full-width front porches on both the first and second storeys.

Heritage Value

The primary heritage value of the Sarah McLellan House lies in its association with the establishment and development of the University of Alberta and the adjacent Garneau district. It also possesses heritage value as an excellent example of four-square architecture, a residential design style popular during the period for upper-middle class homes.

In 1907, the Alberta Legislature passed an Act providing for the creation of a provincial university. It was determined that the new institution would be built on the western outskirts of the City of Strathcona. To accommodate the new infrastructure and provide housing for students and staff, two new subdivisions were created around the university site - Windsor Park and Garneau. The creation of new subdivisions in the university area mirrored the development of new residential areas throughout the city during the population and housing boom between 1905 and 1913. Sarah L. McLellan was one of the earliest landowners in the newly created Garneau district. In 1907, she purchased four lots in the area and erected handsome residences on each. Five years later, she acquired an adjacent lot and built the Sarah McLellan House as a home for herself and her husband, a freighter who had worked out of Edmonton since at least 1882. The McLellan home was completed in 1913, only one year before Sarah's husband's untimely death and the collapse of the city's housing market. By 1915, McLellan was renting out the home to an employee of the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.). From 1916 until 1919, the property was part of the Canadian war effort, serving as a residence for nurses from the Strathcona Military Hospital, an institution dedicated to serving wounded, repatriated soldiers. This institution later evolved into the University of Alberta Hospital. The home was subsequently rented by Mr. and Mrs. Royal Nickerson until 1925 at which time Mrs. Nickerson - now a widow - purchased the property from McLellan. In the following years, the home was used as a residence for university students.

The Windsor Park and Garneau subdivisions created around the university were envisioned as refined, exclusive neighbourhoods, with building regulations mandating the size and requisite elegance for homes constructed in the districts. The Sarah McLellan House was built in the four-square style of architecture, a form of design common among upper-middle class homes and drawing upon the ideas of the European Arts and Crafts tradition. This style is evident in the home's hipped roof with dormers, its full-width porches on both the first and second storeys, and, above all, its box-like shape. Popularized by pattern books and catalogues, the four-square style reflected the trend in post-Victorian architecture toward unornamented exteriors and plain, natural materials, a trend evident in the home's simple exterior of horizontal siding on the first floor and cedar shingling on the second level. The Sarah McLellan House is a fine example of the architectural sensibilities of Edmonton's upper-middle class in the early twentieth century and a vital contributor to the historical ambience of the Garneau district.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2049)

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Sarah McLellan House include such features as:
- mass, form, and style;
- cedar shingled hipped roof with broad overhanging eaves and hipped dormers on all four sides;
- corbelled chimney;
- bevelled wood siding on ground floor and sidewall shingles on upper level;
- geometrical design on second storey of front elevation;
- full width porches on ground floor and second storey;
- asymmetrical front facade with two ranks of openings and an off-centre entrance;
- front door featuring nine-light window;
- two-storey bay windows;
- fenestration pattern and style, including single hung one-over-one windows;
- floor plan, including side hall;
- post and lintel moulding around windows and doors;
- shoulder-high wood panelling, fireplace, and built-in bookcase in dining room;
- maple floors on ground level and fir floors on second storey;
- original staircases, including newel posts, balustrades and railings;
- original doors;
- original fittings, fixtures, mouldings and trims.




Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn


Multiple Dwelling

Architect / Designer



Tom Leake

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. 2049)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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