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Advocacy Alert: The Scott Block at 272 Main Street

Article by Laura McKay, on behalf of Heritage Winnipeg Corp.
To follow up on this or any other articles on the blog, contact Heritage Winnipeg's Executive Director.

The Scott Block at 272 Main Street - Archival Photo
October 4, 2012: The Scott Block at 272 Main Street is designated as a heritage building by the City of Winnipeg
February 17, 2014: The Scott Block's owners are awarded an Annual Preservation Award by Heritage Winnipeg (more details below).
June 19, 2014: 272 Main Street is on the agenda for the Historical Buildings and Resources Committee; the owner is requesting it be delisted to make it easier to sell after complications to work done which may have structurally compromised the structure. The proposal is moved to the next meeting.
July 17, 2014:  Heritage Winnipeg attended the HBRC meeting and is pleased to report that the committee voted to recommend that the Scott Block keep its designation
Fall 2014: Delisting proposal will go to the Standing Policy Committee on Downtown Development, Heritage, and Riverbank Management for a final decision.
Jot Notes:
- an example of Romanesque Revival/Richardsonian Romanesque architecture
- one of two pre-1920 structures still standing on the block of Main Street between Graham and St. Mary avenues
- Delisted - that is, no longer designated and protected as a heritage building by the city


Brief History:

The Scott Block is named after Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Scott (1814-1915), member of both the First and Second Red River Expeditions. He retired from the military and settled in Winnipeg after the second expedition and founded Scott Furniture in 1874. He was also very active in politics and the community, serving as a school trustee, councillor on the first city council in Winnipeg, mayor of Winnipeg, MLA, MP, and collector of the Customs in Winnipeg.

Prior to the completion of the T. Eaton Company store in 1906, which shifted development to Portage Avenue, Main Street was the commercial hub of Winnipeg. Thus, at the turn of the century, it was on Main Street that Scott Furniture decided to build a new home for its company.

The original building was constructed in 1904, designed by architect James H. Cadham. It was six storeys tall and contained both the retail and wholesale aspects of Scott Furniture, including multiple showrooms on the upper floors.

272 Main Street - The Scott Block with Metal FacadeA large fire from a lightning strike destroyed most of the building in June of 1905 although it was rapidly rebuilt and was open for business again that same year.  Done by the same architect as the original, the reconstruction converted some of the showrooms on the upper floors into office space.

Another fire damaged much of the building once again in 1914. The building constructed to replace it is the one that currently stands at 272 Main and was completed in 1915. It was designed by local design team R.B. Pratt and D.A. Ross and built off of the foundation walls and concrete skeletal columns and posts from the old building. This structure brought about major changes to the interior of Scott Furniture, with the company occupying far less of the building. More offices were added to the upper floors and the ground floor was subdivided into two retail spaces.

Upon Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Scott's death in 1915, his son Fred W. Scott took over the company. Eventually, in the 1930s, the building was sold to the Canadian National Fire Insurance Company. Since then it has housed a variety of tenants including lumber dealers, dentists, oil companies, and insurance agents. It is unknown when the metal facade in the above picture was added to the building, although it is believed to have been sometime between the early 1960s and 1979.


Annual Preservation Awards 2014:

Heritage Winnipeg's Annual Preservation Awards 2014 awarded the Scott Block a Preservation Award of Excellence - Commercial Conservation "for the daring unveiling and conservation of the Scott Block's original handsome facade". The result, below, is indeed very handsome and contributes to the beautiful historic streetscape of Main Street.

272 Main - The Scott Block with Orginal Facade Restored


For More Information:

The Historical Buildings and Resources Committee Agenda for June 19, 2014 (the proposal was moved to the next meeting to take place on July 17, 2014)
Blog Post by Winnipeg Downtown Places about the Scott Block - there are especially lots of fantastic, dated photos of the building to give you an idea of timeline
The City of Winnipeg Historical Reports for 272 Main - long and short versions available, as well as a map to help you find it

Have any helpful links or information of your own about 272 Main? Let us know in the comments or email us at!

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