Address: 310 Main Street North
Also known as: Hammond Building
The Hammond Building is a non-designated Heritage Property located at 310 Main Street North on the northwest corner of Main and Fairford streets in downtown Moose Jaw. The property is a four-storey brick and terra cotta tile cladded structure constructed in 1912.
Built by the Canadian City and Town Properties Company of Liverpool, England, the heritage value of the Hammond Building rests in its architecture. Built at a cost of $260,000 it was designed by Winnipeg architect J.D. Atchison and his Moose Jaw- based associate architect, Henry Ernest Lloyd Owen. Decades after its construction, one heritage advocate described the Hammond Building as an example of ‘delightful innovation and eclecticism that frequently characterizes the architecture of small town Canada.
The Hammond Building features architectural elements such as ornamental brickwork, pilasters, string courses, a variation of terra cotta tiles, with tan tones on upper floors and olive-green tones dominating the street level. Other ornamental features include, a decorative street level entrance surround with terra cotta rope moldings, laurels, keystone and floral motifs, topped by a metal grill and transom light. The roofline is graced with a prominent terra cotta cornice, deeply inset with S brackets, ornate frieze, and floral pendants while the pattern of window openings on the upper floors speak to is use as offices. Interior decoration includes terrazzo floors, transom lights and darkly stained oversized wood moldings. Large windows at street level are indicative of its use for shops and restaurants. Originally fitted with oversized coach lights at street level, since removed, the Hammond building is the largest block on the Main Street streetscape. It is prominently located on an intersection next to complimenting buildings of similar age of construction and ornate decoration.
The heritage value of the Hammond Building also lies in its ties to the development of Moose Jaw. Constructed at the height of Moose Jaw’s early 20th century boom, the Hammond building was one of the most expensive and ornately decorated buildings built in the City to that date. The Canadian City and Town Properties Company demonstrated their optimism in the community by designing the building to host an additional two floors. They even proposed building a second six-storey building nearby, settling instead to construct the two-storey Hughes Block on the opposite side of the same Main Street block. The building boom of the early 20th century came to an abrupt end in August 1914 with the outbreak of war in Europe which saw thousands of Moose Jaw and district residents enlist, many never to return. Despite fluctuating economic conditions, the Hammond Building has continued to be occupied by merchants, restaurant firms, and professionals since its opening.
The heritage value of the Hammond Building also lies in its connection to one of Saskatchewan’s darker political, religious and ethnic conflicts brought on by the 1926 arrival of the Klu Klux Klan from the United States. Experiencing a revival during the 1920s, various mostly American born organizers of the Klan sought to extend the organization’s reach into Canada. Efforts in most provinces were a failure, but in Saskatchewan the Klan found somewhat more fertile ground for its largely anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant and racist messages. Aided by resentment toward incoming immigrants not of British descent and a large Catholic minority, many of whom also were French-speaking, the Klan signed up over 40,000 members in Saskatchewan promoting a message of hatred that was intermingled to appeals to patriotism, conservative values and Christian beliefs. In doing so they raised the ire of the minorities they attacked and many Christian adherents who felt their beliefs were being tainted by such messages.
In 1927, the Klan was based out of Suite 311 in the Hammond Building and run by Indiana-based organizer Pat Emmons. Moose Jaw boasted the largest local in the province with 2,000 members, some 1,200 of whom had paid a steep $13 fee to join. Their message in Moose Jaw also extended to condemning the vices of the City’s River Street district. While growing rapidly from offices in the Hammond Building, the Saskatchewan Klan lacked a set system of democratic organizational rules and financial controls. In fact prior to arriving in Saskatchewan, Klan leaders authorized Emmons to keep most of the membership money, provided he also paid for the expenses of running the locals he set up. In the summer of 1927 Emmons disappeared with all the money. In October he was found and returned to stand trial in both Regina and Moose Jaw for fraud. Emmons argued he was promised the money and that he left because he was not making enough. While the judge noted in both cases that people had been duped out of their funds, no contravention of any criminal law in question, however, had taken place.
In the wake of the Moose Jaw trial, the Klan retrenched across the province and brought in more vitriolic organizers. Provincial political parties such as the Progressives and the Conservatives began to use the Klan’s same anti-Catholic, anti-French and anti-immigrant messages in an attempt to appeal to the same audience. The Liberals under Jimmy Gardiner allied themselves against the Klan as did the province’s major newspapers. The politicization of the Klan’s message influenced the 1929 election which brought an end to Liberal rule in Saskatchewan. Not long after his minority victory, Conservative Premier J.T.M. Anderson instituted some aspects of the Klan’s program. The arrival of the Great Depression later that year, a problem to which the Klan’s message had no answer, along with resistance from their many opponents, resulted in their demise in the early 1930s, ending a dark chapter in the Province’s history. The Anderson government that had benefited from aligning themselves with Klan supporters was subsequently crushed in the next provincial election.
The heritage value Hammond Building resides in the following character-defining elements:
- its prominent location on Main Street North in downtown Moose Jaw next to buildings of similar age of construction and ornamentation;
- the decorative nature of its exterior architecture including ornamental brickwork, pilasters, string courses, a wide variation of terra cotta tiles, street level entrance surround with terra cotta rope moldings, laurels, keystone and floral motifs, topped by a metal grill and transom light, prominent terra cotta cornice deeply inset with S brackets, ornate frieze and floral pendants;
- fenestration or pattern of window openings on the upper floors that speak to is use as offices and large windows at street level that are indicative of its use for shops and restaurants;
- Interior decoration such as terrazzo floors, transom lights and darkly stained oversized wood moldings;
- terra cotta signage over the Main Street entrance announcing the name of the building.
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