HOW CAN I OBTAIN A HERITAGE PLAQUE FOR MY BUILDING?
There are three steps involved in obtaining a historical plaque:
- Determine if your house qualifies
- Do the required research
- Send your information to the Plaques Coordinator
DEADLINES: There are two deadlines for submitting your application: May 31st and October 31st. Approximately one month prior to these deadline dates*, the HHS will hold an information session on how to research your home. In order to learn when these sessions will be held, please subscribe to this site or check in regularly.
COST: The City of Edmonton provides the HHS with a grant that covers 50% of the cost of the plaques. The homeowner is responsible for the remaining 50%, approximately $65 plus GST.
Step 1: DETERMINE IF YOUR HOUSE QUALIFIES
You must own a building in the Highlands community however we will consider applications from adjacent communities.
The building must be 50 years of age or older (fifty years is the minimum age as defined by the City of Edmonton as an “historic building”).
You must provide the year the building was built, the name of the original occupant and the occupation of that person (the HHS can help you to verify this this information).
Step 2: DO THE REQUIRED RESEARCH
Investigate local lore about your house or the previous occupants. This is a great way to get to know your neighbours and to also find some unique facts about the previous occupants or the building itself.
Conduct a search of the previous occupants of your home by checking the Henderson’s Directory. These Directories document not only the date of the home, but the occupant of your home, and their occupation – all based on your address. Keep in mind, however, that the Directory lists occupants, not necessarily the owners of the property.
There are two ways to do this:
The first option is to go online and do searches with the Henderson’s digitized catalogue Click here. Often, depending on the build date, the Henderson’s census was completed sometime after the house was built. Start with the volume one or two years later than you believe your house to be built and look for your address. Then, work backwards to your date and earlier if possible — some folks have found that their home was much older than they thought. Use your street address as the search term (if you live at 12345 – 63 Street, you would use 12345 as the search term).
Once you find the address, the name of the occupant will be listed next to it. Using the same search term (e.g. 12345 ), find the appropriate page near the back of the volume and search by name for that person. You will find that person’s occupation, including company, with a verification of the home address. Only volumes 1908 to 1953 have been digitized; you’ll likely have to go to the second option below if your home is newer than 1953.
The second option is to go to the Stanley Milner Library downtown or the City of Edmonton Archives and find the print copies of the Henderson’s Directories. They are housed in one of the climate controlled rooms with the other old books upstairs. Edmonton has a complete set from about 1908 until 1987 when newer privacy legislation was introduced. Search all the way to 1987 — it can be a little time consuming — but it is quite fun and you’ll never know what you’ll turn up!
Land Titles Search
To verify the year your home was built, you will need to do a Land Titles Search. There are two ways to do this:
Option 1: If your home has only had two owners:
– Go online to do a Land Titles Search at: http://www.servicealberta.ca/588.cfm. If you are unsure about the number of owners, it is best to pay for a search at the Brownlee Building (in the second option).
Option 2: If your home has had more than two owners:
– Go to Edmonton’s Land Title Office and have title search performed on your property. The Land Titles Office is located in the John E. Brownlee Building at 10365 – 97th Street. The phone number there is: (780) 427 4166. The office is hidden in a corner behind the main area so don’t get into the line-up in the main area.
You’ll need to have the following information in order to retrieve the title information: The Plan, Block and Lot numbers. This information is on your real property report when you bought your house.
Every time a building is sold, a new Land Title form is created. Expect to pay $10.00 per each time the property changed hands. A home with 10 previous owners could have 10 Land Titles. This could cost as much as $100.
If you know approximately the year your home was built you can save money by requesting only the land titles for that time period.
– Go to the City of Edmonton Archives (located in the Prince of Wales Armoury downtown) and do a microfiche search to find the building permit for your home. This may also help you to discover the architect of the building and how much it cost to build. While there, you can also conduct photo and document searches. Plus, you can check out the fire insurance maps to see what your house was made of at that time. Bring some money for photocopying and take full advantage of the archivists on staff who are a wealth of knowledge!
Note: The building permits themselves are not available, but rather the building permit ledgers, on which each permit is recorded. The Archives have the ledgers for 1905-1961 on microfilm, and 1962-1976 on paper.
The Provincial Archives of Alberta (located on the south side on Roper Road) may also be a source of information — particularly if someone associated with your home served in public office, etc.