Capital Hill, 1906 – 1965: 

 

John B. Gardiner purchased 214 acres along the first bend of the river west of 124th Street in 1906 for 60,000 dollars. By 1913 he was said to have made more than one million dollars due to a series of real estate booms and western expansion of the city. He built an impressive house on “Gardiner Point” now known as Summit Point. Gardiner wanted Capital Hill to have the finest homes in Edmonton. However, when the real estate market collapsed in 1914, the lots went undeveloped and he lost his fortune. A few years later his mansion burned down and he made the coach house his new home. When Gardiner’s money ran out he grew vegetables and sold them to stores in the West End.

 

The Capital Hill area between 1914 and the early 1950s was used for recreation and the abandoned Gardiner estate provided a place for picnics. One could explore the grounds with its stone fountains, pools and intricate stonework along the brow of the bank. Edmonton residents could ride horses along the paths that meandered through the countryside.

 

Most of the land in Capital Hill reverted back to city ownership for taxes and in the 1930s the city replotted the land to encourage new purchasers. The Depression in the 1930s  followed by the Second World War caused development to stall. By 1951 the City had again replotted the area and by 1954 nearly the entire neighbourhood was built out. The new layout reflected the philosophy of the Garden City Movement and echoed the use of curvilinear roads and parklets seen in the older area of Glenora to the east. “Most homes are built in the Modern Style with high quality natural materials  and deeply setback houses…”.*  Cedar siding and stone were favoured building materials.

* Glenora Historic Resources Inventory, January 2017, Donald Luxton and Associates Inc.:  Page 13