The 500 block of 11th Street East near Broadway Avenue is known as a hidden historic gem in the city.
“Because it evolved over time, it has representation from almost every building era,” researcher Dianne Wilson told CTV News.
That is unique in a city that doesn’t always value old in favour of new, according to Wilson.
“In the older neighbourhoods there has been so much recent demolition and infill,” she said.
No new buildings have been constructed on the block since 1950.
The styles include a 1911 brick house with a truncated hipped roof, which once had an exposed porch that was closed in because of cold weather for more than half the year and mosquitos in the summer.
Then there’s a 1920s American Tudor style with the exposed rafter tails and bell eaves and the newest house on the block which is a 1949 flat roofed international style Art Moderne home.
But it’s the oldest home on the block which is the biggest “little secret” if you ask Peggy Sarjeant with the Saskatoon Historical Society.
It’s an ornate pink craftsman home built in 1903 that is her favourite. She would like to see it designated as a municipal heritage property, adding to only two others on the street.
Saskatoon buildings should be celebrated for their uniqueness, she said.
Brick buildings here for example are considered more elaborate and prestigious which is why most homes were made of wood which was easy to get in a remote area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
“And to me that’s a wonderful thing. I came from a country where most things were made with brick or stone to me a wooden house is very strange,” said Sarjeant, who is from England.
That reality makes deterioration more likely which is another reason she would like to see more restoration done to older homes so they can be preserved for years to come.
The historic street is even complete with an apartment building built in 1912. There is a large unique garage in the alley which once housed tenant vehicles and it’s from that rear vantage point that you can see a rare spiral fire escape which is still intact and operational today.
It’s also unusual compared to other apartment blocks because of the two elaborate suites in the front.
“Each are essentially a three-bedroom two-storey house. It’s got a parlour, a dining room and a kitchen,” Wilson says. One of those is still functioning as a two-storey while the other was renovated into two separate suites.
Sarjeant suggests visiting the public library local history room for more information.