On April 12, City of Lacombe council passed a bylaw, which officially designates the Flatiron Building as a Municipal Historic Resource under the Province of Alberta Historical Resources Act.
The building is one of only two triangular-shaped “flatiron” structures in Alberta (the other, known as Gibson Block, is in Edmonton and was built in 1913). It is the oldest known building of this type in Western Canada.
“The Flatiron Building is Lacombe’s signature historical treasure,” Grant Creasey, mayor of Lacombe said. “This designation ensures the building will remain a hallmark of our community for years to come. I want to thank the current owner of the Flatiron and the Heritage Resources Committee (HRC) for their diligent work towards preserving the legacy of this building.”
Designed in the Beaux-Arts tradition of architecture and constructed in 1903-1904 by the Merchant’s Bank of Canada, the building is an excellent example of the influence of the Edwardian era on Western Canadian architecture. The building is valued for its distinctive architectural style and design and its association with two financial institutions that played an essential role in the development of Lacombe. It was the first bank in Lacombe and in 1922 Merchant’s Bank of Canada merged with the Bank of Montreal. They continued to occupy the building until 1967.
“The members of Lacombe’s Heritage Resources Committee are overjoyed that the Flatiron has received designation from City Council as a Municipal Historic Resource,” said Myles Chykerda, HRC chair.
In January 1990, the Province of Alberta designated Lacombe’s Flatiron Building as a Provincial Historic Resource. To qualify for this distinction, historical places must typically be associated with a significant aspect of Alberta’s past and retain the physical site features necessary to convey this significance. The building is now home to the Lacombe and District Historical Society.
The Flatiron Building is such an important building in Lacombe that the city’s land-use bylaw prohibits buildings within 100 metres of the ‘Flatiron Block’ to exceed 10 metres in height, so it can retain its prominence.
As such a recognizable part of Lacombe’s downtown for nearly 120 years, it has become a significant community landmark. The building is an early twentieth-century Edwardian classical revival style, three-storey triangular-shaped brick and sandstone building situated at a prominent corner location on a triangular block in downtown Lacombe.
“We thank its owner, Glen Calkins, for all the restoration work that has been carried out over the years and his enthusiasm in pursuing this designation. The Flatiron is a remarkable building that is a Lacombe icon for both residents,” said Chykerda.