The Stanley Smith House , 11045 Saskatchewan Drive, [also still in existence in The Campus in Garneau] built in 1933 for Professor Stanley Smith of the Department of Physics at the University of Alberta, is another good example of the typical Georgian tradition homes built at this time. The Ross-Weber House, 11039 Saskatchewn Drive in The Campus in Garneau, was built by John Thomas Ross, Deputy Minister of Education, in 1924. This striking house was built entirely of clinker brick .* (see below)
Another of the more famous individuals living in The Garneau in the early 1930's was Mrs. Katherine Allison Procter . Her husband Dr. Richard Procter was a respected radiologist at the University of Alberta, but she was famous for her own work with the Junior Hospital League of Alberta and the Red Cross Society. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) for her many contributions to Edmonton and Canadian society. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Alberta. The Proctors resided at 11013-89th Avenue (still in existence in The Campus in Garneau). *In the early 1900's, brick was made using the labour-intensive soft-mud method. With the excess heat, the brick nearest the fire usually became overburnt, resulting in clinker. Due to the heat, the clay also would have melted and dripped, causing bricks to stick together. Sometimes massive clusters would result, but most clusters consisted of 4-6 bricks. Irregular surfaces were the result once these were broken apart. Huge clusters of stuck-together clinker were used as landfill, while individual bricks, deemed worthless, were either discarded or given away.
Fortunately, some creative bricklayers did use some of these discards; about 150 homes were built of them (about 100 remain). The well-known provincially historically designated Holy Trinity Church was built of clinker. Clinker is eye-catching and distinctive for its irregular surfaces, as well as its lovely umbers, siennas and cadmiums. Buildings made of clinker are virtually unique to Edmonton; Calgary had only one clinker-built house, and there were a few in Wetaskiwin and Red Deer as well as the Medicine Hat area.
Contemporary brickmakers have been unable to reproduce the beautiful colours of the clinker of the early 1900's. Therefore, unless destruction of homes made from this beautiful brick is halted, examples of how this material was used by our pioneers will be lost.
Saving the Best of the Past for the Future
email: doug.gorman at preservegarneau dot org