Tuesday, January 17, 2023

90 Gertie Street - Frontenac / Rizal Apartments (R.I.P.)

© 2023, Christian Cassidy

90 Gertie in 2015 (Google Street View)

Place: Frontenac / Rizal Apartments
Address: 90 Gertie Street (Map)
Constructed: 1906
Architect: Herbert Bell Rugh

June 9, 1906 Morning Telegram

Architect Herbert R. Rugh was granted a $30,000 building permit for this twelve-unit apartment block at 90 Gertie Street near McDermot Avenue in June 1906. The Frontenac was a very early example of a "three-storey walk-up" residential block that by the end of the decade would pop up all around the city.

Rugh described the building as "thoroughly modern" with cut stone and brick as building materials. It featured ornamental stone trim around the front entrance and a decorative parapet. This was, in part, to help fight the negative connotation that many apartment blocks had.

To this point in the city's history, most apartments were considered to be "tenement blocks" that were were cheaply built and intended to house the city's poorest people in the smallest amount of space possible. Large families or groups of immigrant labourers might share just two or three rooms with one or two windows that offered little ventilation or natural light. (For a glimpse inside tenement blocks in a North American city, check out these photos from New York City.)

Entrance to Frontenac ca. 1976 (Winnipeg Building Index)

Rugh came to Winnipeg from the U.S. and practised here for about a decade from (1905 to 1914) before enlisting. When he war was over, he returned to the U.S.. In his short time here he was responsible for the design of dozens of building, including a number of early apartment blocks aimed at the middle class such as the Boniveens Block on Spence Street.

Some of Rugh's best-known works include the Fairchild Building on Princess Street (with John Atchison) and a significant remodelling of the Inglis Block on Garry Street that gave it its ornamental terra cotta facade. According to Peterson, he was the Winnipeg representative Montreal architects Ross and MacFarlane and was the supervising architect for the Fort Garry Hotel.

February 15, 1907, Winnipeg Free Press

The Frontenac Apartments opened in February 1907 featuring furnished and unfurnished apartments for rent. It was rebranded the Rizal Apartments around 1980.

In the early morning of January 17, 2023, the building suffered a major fire (also see) and had to be demolished. Nobody was living in the block at the time.

Frontenac Apartments Winnipeg Building Index
90 Gertie Street City of Winnipeg Historic Building Report

1 comment:

  1. Sad to see it go. It had reached the unloved stage having been neglected, mattresses accumulating at the rear and poorly boarded up.