The Firkins House located on 1905 Street at Fort Edmonton Park represents the young, growing professional class in Edmonton, and are a great representation of the increasing differentiation among the classes. Although little is known about the original residents, the Firkins, the house represents an example of one of the most modern building designs and technology that was available at the time in Edmonton by 1911.
Construction began in late 1911, and continued until mid 1912, when the Firkins finally arrived. The style of construction was a “Californian bungalow” fitting considering The Firkins moved from southern California. The house features stucco on the exterior, which was relatively new to Edmonton at the time. Also a new product called Beaverboard (a material of compressed wood fibres) was used on the interior wall. The building was also wired for electricity, telephone and even a coal boiler in the radiator room.
A really stunning feature is the addition of a garage, indicating that automobile usage was a growing trend in Edmonton at the time.
Historical Shortcomings of the Exhibit
The Firkins House although displayed in the park as on a busy street was actually relatively isolated and secluded on the stretch of Saskatchewan Drive even as late as 1924. Even in an aerial photo, shown at right (poor quality) you can see the Firkins home and the surrounding area overlooking the North Saskatchewan River.
· The Beavorboard has since been replaced with common-day drywall for the walls and ceilings.
· The second floor washroom was not restored, and has instead become a locked storage space.
Interesting stuff! Be sure to zip around back and check out the garage on the back-side of the Firkins House!