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Edmonton Highlands home and early car dealership designated historic resources

Two buildings that contribute to the public and private stories of Edmonton’s past have been designated historic resources by city council.

During the Strathcona Garage’s 30 years of operation, the automobile transitioned from a luxury item available only to the elite to an attainable dream for many Edmontonians. On the other hand, the Nye residence marked a new beginning for a young family looking for opportunities in a young country.

The Strathcona Garage was built in 1912 in the Queen Alexandra neighbourhood. Although the building itself was relatively simple in its design, it featured embellished ornamental features like arched entrances with decorative keystones and crenellated parapets to reinforce the prestige of car ownership.

“I can imagine what it might have been like in its heyday for working people to walk by that showroom and see the latest models of cars and wonder if they would ever have the chance to own such a remarkable piece of technology,” said Principal Heritage Planner Scott Ashe.

The Strathcona Garage is a fine example of an early 20th century car dealership with commercial services on the first floor, including the showroom and repair facilities, and apartment suites on the second floor.

The Nye Residence, built in 1914, is a one-and-a-half-story Craftsman-style home whose first residents, Frank and Harriet Nye, moved to Edmonton from Michigan in search of new opportunities. Mr. Nye partnered with WF Miller to form the Nye-Miller Co. Ltd, an office supply dealer that grew into today’s Miller Office Group.

Aside from a small addition added to the rear of the building in the 1930s, and the introduction of indoor heating and electricity, the Nye Residence is largely unchanged.

The current owners of the Strathcona Garage will receive a grant of up to $500,000 from the City’s Heritage Resources Reserve fund to assist in rehabilitation costs to the building.

The owners of the Nye Residence will receive just over $56,000 to assist in rehabilitation costs for their home.

The city’s Historic Resource Management Plan outlines the City’s mission to identify, protect and promote the preservation and use of historic resources. The Plan contains 24 policies and 88 action items that direct how Edmonton’s heritage should be preserved and celebrated. Since the plan was initiated in 1985, 164 properties have been designated, with more designations planned in the future.