More of Maud’s Mortar

The Gilbert Apartments still stand, but not for long. Image: January 2015.
The Gilbert Apartments still stand, but not for long. Image: January 2015.

Back in 2013, when I began writing short histories for Ottawa Start, the second story that I had published was about the boarded up, derelict Gilbert Apartments at 293 Lisgar Street. Constructed by Miss Maud Thoburn, I wrote

Maud worked as a Departmental Inspector with the Post Office and was quite active in the community, her name frequently found in the social pages of both the Citizen and the Journal. It is unclear whether she later purchased the lot to construct the apartment, or if the property had remained in the family and she simply inherited it as the eldest daughter following the death of her parents. Nevertheless, she commissioned Werner Noffke to design a six unit apartment building on the lot that she would herself live in.

Maud occupied Apartment No. 4 in her building from its completion in 1939 until 1980, when she moved to 207 MacLaren. At 98 years, it [may have been] that climbing the stairs to her apartment became challenging and home with an elevator became necessary. She did not live there for long, however, she died the following year. Clearly, a woman who enjoyed a full life and although it’s not for much longer, one whose contribution to Ottawa’s urban fabric has remained with us.

Little has changed since I wrote that short story. The building remains standing in very much the same state. During a previous visit to LAC, I had some spare time and decided to take a look at the plans on microfiche. Remembering this story, “Job 994” stuck out in my mind. Although everything seems to be in order, it appears that the front elevation of the building was modified at some point to balance out the windows while adding one to the corner. I am not certain about when this happened1It’s worth noting that the building was originally designed with two floors. The third was added following the initial design.. The remaining elevations have remained unchanged, save for the removal of the fire escapes.

Notes   [ + ]

1. It’s worth noting that the building was originally designed with two floors. The third was added following the initial design.

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