James Richardson & Sons Building

Scott Brown Non-Designated Heritage Properties

Address: 315 Main Street North

Also known as: James Richardson & Sons Building

Description:

The James Richardson and Sons Building is a non-designated Heritage Property located at 315 Main Street North in downtown Moose Jaw. The property is a three-storey Tyndall stone clad structure completed in 1928.

Heritage Value:

The heritage value of James Richardson and Sons Building can be found in its architecture. Designed for the James Richardson and Sons Company for a cost of $100,000 by an unknown architect, the associate on the project was local architect Richard Geoffrey Bunyard who set up Moose Jaw’s first architectural practice and operated it until 1928. Bunyard designed many Main Street buildings including the Grant Hall Hotel and the Eaton’s store. The extent of ornamentation on any building is often a product of financial limitations, but the 1920s, however, saw the rise of architectural styles that favoured cleaner lines and simple geometric designs over the dramatic and freely applied decoration of Classical Revival styles of architecture in vogue in previous decades. The James Richardson and Sons Building was a product of such times. The building exhibits elements of the Art Deco architectural style including clean simple lines and its ornamentation on upper floors utilizes geometric designs around window openings and on the roof line, often in bas-relief. In keeping with elements of the Art Deco style it also exhibits a symmetrically placed set back of the north and south portions of the building that emphasizes the simple lines of the building. Placed on a granite base, the building exhibits other decorative features, mainly on the lower-storey, including S brackets with a floral bas-relief, entrance moldings, dentils, a string course and a gently curving parapet on the roof line with a carving of the company’s monogram.

The heritage value of the James Richardson and Son Building also rests in its association with Moose Jaw’s development. The economic boom of the early 20th century that greatly benefitted Moose Jaw ended with the outbreak of World War I, which in turn brought great loss and suffering to a community that enlisted thousands of men. The 1920s, while not full of unbridled optimism, brought happier and better economic times. The construction of this building in 1928 was evidence of renewed optimism.

Started in 1857 and closely associated with the grain trade, the James Richardson and Sons new local branch office boasted grain and securities divisions and a ‘direct wire to all leading grain and stock exchanges.’ The main two floors were occupied by the brokerage while the top was home to the firm’s radio station CJRM whose call sign stood for ‘Canadian James Richardson Moose Jaw’. Moose Jaw’s first commercial radio station CJRM was launched in 1926 in the basement of the firm’s old offices in the Union Bank – Wellington White Building. The aim of the CJRM was to serve the Richardson firm by providing farmers with crop and weather reports but evolved into a small network with sister stations in Regina and Winnipeg. The Moose Jaw station was closed in 1934 and the firm sold its radio interests by the 1940s. Changing hands and locations, today the station is Regina based CKRM. The Richardson firm left the building in the 1940s and it was subsequently occupied by such firms as the National Light and Power Company, the Crown-owned utility SaskPower and various other professional offices and service providers.

Character-Defining Elements:

The heritage value of the James Richardson and Sons Building resides in the following character-defining elements:

  • elements of the Art Deco architectural style including ornamentation on upper floors that utilize geometric designs around window openings and on the roof line, often in bas-relief along with a symmetrically placed set back of north and south portions of the building that emphasize its simple lines;
  • other decorative features such as a granite base, S brackets with a floral bas-relief, door moldings, dentils, a string course and a gently curving parapet with a carving of the James Richardson and Sons Company’s monogram;
  • its location on Main Street in the downtown commercial area.

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Build Date: 1928 | Designation Date: Non-designated Heritage Property