This Saskatoon avenue is residence to ‘fantastic’ historic homes
SASKATOON – The 500 block on 11th Street East near Broadway Avenue is known as the city’s hidden historic gem.
“Since it has evolved over time, it is represented from almost every building era,” researcher Dianne Wilson told CTV News.
This is unique in a city that doesn’t always value the old in favor of the new, says Wilson.
“There have been so many demolitions and refills lately in the older neighborhoods,” she said.
No new buildings have been built on the block since 1950.
Styles include a 1911 brick house with a truncated hipped roof that once had an exposed porch that was closed for more than half of the year due to the cold weather and the mosquitoes in the summer.
Then there’s an American Tudor style of the 1920s with the exposed rafter tails and bell eaves and the newest house in the block which is a 1949 flat roof in the international style of Art Moderne.
But it’s the oldest house on the block, which is the biggest “little secret” if you ask Peggy Sarjeant of the Saskatoon Historical Society.
It’s an ornate pink craftsman’s house from 1903 that is her favorite. She wants it to be designated as a city heritage site and only two more to be added on the road.
Saskatoon buildings should be celebrated for their uniqueness, she said.
Brick buildings, for example, are considered more elaborate and prestigious here, which is why most of the houses were built from wood, which was easy to come by in a remote area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
“And that’s a wonderful thing for me. I come from a country where most things are made of bricks or stones, a wooden house is very strange to me, ”said Sarjeant, who is from England.
This reality makes it more likely to deteriorate, which is another reason why she would like to see more restoration on older homes so they can be preserved for years to come.
The historic street is even complete with a house from 1912. In the alley is a large unique garage that once housed rental vehicles, and from this rear vantage point you can see a rare spiral fire escape that is still intact and operational is today.
It is also unusual in comparison to other apartment buildings because of the two lavish suites in the front area.
“Each is essentially a two story three bedroom house. It has a living room, a dining room and a kitchen, ”says Wilson. One of these still functions as a two-story building while the other has been converted into two separate suites.
Sarjeant suggests visiting the local history room of the public library for more information.