Historic Sites of Manitoba: R S R Building (11 Martha Street, Winnipeg)
This one-storey brick and stone building was commissioned by Winnipeg fur dealer Reuben Simon Robinson and based on architectural designs of Frank Robert Evans. The property, which measured 100 feet along Louise Street (later Martha) and 34 feet parallel to Rupert Avenue and Pacific Avenue, was acquired in July 1919, and two old residences on the property were demolished. Though delayed by the Winnipeg General Strike, excavation and construction began under the the watch of Evans, who supervised the day labourers. The structure was built entirely of brick, masonry, and steel, and completed without any wood framing, as per its fire-proof design and need for security. A cold storage plant was established in the basement, with other interior space reserved for storage, office space, showrooms, as well as the sorting and packing of inventory. It was completed for around $60,000, after which Robinson set about remodeling the his former premises, the adjacent buildings of 157 Rupert Avenue and 150 Pacific Avenue, for the preparation and storage of hides.
In December 1920, Robinson formally established the R. S. Robinson and Sons Limited, with his wife Bessie, daughter Dora, and two sons; Sydney and Wilbur, all as partners. The firm obtained their Letters Patent held an initial capital stock of $40,000. By 1921, there were plans to expand the R S R Building (also informally known as the Robinson Building) by an additional three storeys as space for a film exchange. While the structural expansion of the building did not materialize, the Film Exchange Club did temporarily use the premises, remaining there until completion of the Film Exchange Building.
Its original street address of 45 Louise Street was changed to 11 Martha Street when streets in this area of the city were reconfigured.
“Fur warehouse to be erected,” Manitoba Free Press, 26 July 1919, page 27.
“To repair amphitheatre; building permit total this year near $1,000,000,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 August 1919, page 1.
“For sale - quality lumber [Advertisement; Household goods for sale],” Manitoba Free Press, 15 May 1920, page 25.
“May be permanent home of film exchanges,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 July 1921, page 30.
“Vitagraph now in new location,” Winnipeg Tribune, 8 October 1921, page 25.
“Film exchange club forms social club,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 March 1923, page 11.
“Large crowds at radio show on first day,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 24 September 1931, page 5.
Companies Office corporation documents (CCA 0059), 365R - R. S. Robinson and Sons Limited, GR6427, Archives of Manitoba.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
Page revised: 10 March 2019
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