George Harcourt Residence

9127 117 Street NW, Edmonton


Description of Historic Place

The George Harcourt Residence is a two and one-half storey modified Foursquare with a low pyramidal roof, clapboard siding on the main floor, wooden shingles on the second floor, and an offset front porch. Constructed circa 1909, the house is located on a residential street and occupies a single lot in the City of Edmonton's Windsor Park neighbourhood.

Heritage Value

The George Harcourt Residence is significant for its association with the development of the neighbourhood of Windsor Park and its Foursquare design.

As one of the first houses constructed in the Edmonton community of Windsor Park, the George Harcourt Residence is significant as an uncommon example of early residential development in the neighbourhood. Built circa 1909, archival photographs show this home to be one of the earliest houses in the area. The land that would become Windsor Park was purchased for residential development in 1910, and the community remained largely undeveloped until after the Second World War. The George Harcourt Residence occupies an important place in the built landscape of Windsor Park, as it one of the few extant homes that represents the earliest period of residential development in the neighbourhood.

The George Harcourt Residence is valued for its Foursquare design. The Foursquare design was common in Edmonton during the first two decades of the 20th century. Typical four square characteristics of this home include the hipped roof with a wide hipped dormer at the front of the house, the overhanging eaves with decorative eaves brackets, and the contrasting shingle and clapboard cladding. Geometrically patterned windows are also characteristic of the Foursquare design, exhibited in the diamond pattern mullions of the George Harcourt Residence, as are the two broad, flat chimneys. The single ionic column supporting the front porch is a less common feature, as Foursquare homes typically incorporate square porch supports.

Source: City of Edmonton Planning and Development File 83617215.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the George Harcourt Residence is expressed in such character-defining elements as:

  • hipped roof with red brick chimney;
  • wooden soffits and fascia board;
  • beveled wood siding on lower storey;
  • cedar shingle cladding on upper storey;
  • large overhanging eaves with decorative eaves brackets;
  • front porch supported by one ionic column;
  • front door with wide wooden framing;
  • turned wooden spindle balustrade across front porch;
  • hipped roof dormer on the west façade;
  • side entrance with wooden door;
  • wooden single hung, double hung, casement, and fixed pane windows and storms with diamond pattern mullions in the upper pane;
  • projecting bay with gable roof and two groupings of two windows;
  • two one over one single hung wooden windows;
  • two wooden basement windows;
  • interior wooden trim, door framing, baseboards and mouldings. 


Dr. George Harcourt, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture (1905-1915) and Professor of Horticulture at the University of Alberta (1915-1934), moved into the home around 1919, and lived there until 1942. Aside from his involvement in government and education, he was very influential in Edmonton's early horticultural community.

Harcourt responded to the federal government's desire to use undeveloped urban land to grow food, becoming the first president of the Vacant Lot Garden Club in 1916. Vacant lot gardening was a popular program in Edmonton through which numerous lots, left vacant after the real estate collapse of 1913, turned into productive gardens that fed many Edmontonians.

When the club amalgamated with the Edmonton Horticultural Society in 1918, Harcourt became chair of the Vacant Lot Committee. Under the direction of Dr. Harcourt, almost 8000 vacant lots were cultivated that year alone. Harcourt was on the Edmonton Horticultural Society board until 1920. Edmonton Horticultural Society rented vacant lots to Edmontonians on behalf of the City until 1987.

Data Source: City of Edmonton Planning and Development Department (File 83617215)

Designation & Awards

Municipal Historic Resource (May 27, 2009)

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Era: Urban Growth
Themes: Homes
Cultural Groups:
Area: Southwest

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