Stewart, George Wilson

STEWART, George Wilson (1856-1937), an early architect in Winnipeg, Man. where he was in partnership with Mancel Willmot(see list of works under Wilmot & Stewart). Born in Glasgow, Scotland on 26 November 1856, he was brought to Canada by his parents who settled in Guelph, Ont. He was educated at local schools, and at Hellmuth College in London, Ont., then moved to Toronto where he served an apprenticeship for four years with a local architect there. Lured by the building boom in Manitoba in 1880 he moved to Winnipeg, becoming a draftsman for Balston C. Kenway, and then forming a partnership with Mancel Willmot in October 1880. During the next three years their firm was remarkably successful, designing commercial, institutional and residential terrace blocks in Winnipeg.
Stewart was also a talented designer in his own right, and can be credited with an exceptional work located in the border town of Emerson, Manitoba. Created as a mansion for the wealthy owner William N. Fairbanks, this striking Italianate design must surely rank as one of most distinctive 19th C. residential buildings in southern Manitoba. This residence still stands today (2013) and is currently being restored. The sudden downturn in the economy of Winnipeg in 1884 forced the dissolution of the partnership with Willmot, and Stewart was appointed as resident architect of Manitoba representing the Dept. of Public Works in Ottawa. His works included military and mounted police buildings, as well as the Fort Osborne Barracks building in Winnipeg. He took part in the Riel Rebellion of 1885, and suffered gunshot wounds in altercations with Sioux and Blackfoot tribes.
His last work in Canada appears to have been the spectacular castle-like Riding School & Drill Hall at Regina, Sask. for the Northwest Mounted Police (1886). This was the largest indoor arena in Western Canada in the 19th C., measuring 225 ft. long and 125 ft. wide of clear-span space, unobstructed by columns. This structural feat was achieved by the use of large curved wood arch beams rising nearly 30 ft. at the crown of the roof. Regretabley, the entire building burned to the ground on 26 November 1887, but the same plans by Stewart were used in 1888-89 to build a complete replica which stood in place until it too was destroyed by fire, this time in 1920.

Stewart moved to Dallas, Texas in 1887 and continued to practise there, at first in partnership with B.C. Fuller and, after the death of Fuller, on his own account. He joined the Texas State Association of Architects, and served as President of that organization in 1890. By 1892 he had moved again, this time to the State of Georgia where he was reported to be "...a successful architect in Atlanta" (Winnipeg Tribune, 27 May 1893, 8). He maintained an office in Atlanta for at least fifteen years, at first in partnership with James W. Golucke, as Golucke & Stewart, Architects (1896-99), and then under his own name (William T. Comstock, The Architects Directory for 1904-05, 28; 1907, 35; 1909, 45). In 1911 Stewart moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, designing significant works there including the eclectic scheme for the St. Petersburg Yacht Club (1916-17), and the federal Post Office Building (1917), executed in a bold Renaissance Revival style, and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Stewart retired after 1920 and died in St. Petersburg on 12 March 1937 (obit. and port. St. Petersburg Independent [Florida], 12 March 1937; St. Petersburg Times, 13 March 1937; obit. Globe & Mail [Toronto], 22 March 1937, 4; biog. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, 1892, 497-98).

EMERSON, MAN., a mansion for William N. Fairbanks, Roseau Street at 3rd Street, 1881; extant 2012 (Emerson International, 19 May 1881, 5; 26 May 1881, 4, t.c.)
WINNIPEG, MAN., Fort Osborne Barracks, Broadway, 1884-85; burned February 1919 and demol. 1921 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 16 Aug. 1884, 4; 27 Feb. 1919, 4; 15 March 1919, 30, descrip.; Daily Manitoban [Winnipeg], 21 Oct. 1885, 4; Canada, Sessional Papers, xix, No. 12, Report of the Chief Architect, 1886, 36, descrip.)
REGINA, SASK., Riding School & Drill Hall for the Northwest Mounted Police (now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), south of Dewdney Avenue near Bonner Drive, 1886; burned 26 Nov. 1887, but completely rebuilt in 1888-89 using the same plans by Stewart (Manitoba Daily Free Press [Winnipeg], 1 June 1886, 4, descrip.; Regina Leader, 13 Aug. 1889, 1, descrip.; Dale Sheehan & Redd Oosten, Beyond The Badge: History of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police "Depot" Division, 2006, 147-48, illus. & descrip.; inf. Frank Korvemaker, Regina)


(works in Georgia & Alabama)

ATLANTA, GA., Fulton County Jail, 1896. The firm of Golucke & Stewart submitted two designs in the competition against four other firms (Atlanta Constitution, 17 May 1896, 14). It is unclear who won the competition.
DECATUR, GA. DeKalb County Court House, 1896-97. Golucke & Stewart won First Premium against ten other competitors. A detailed description of their winning scheme appeared in the Atlanta Constitution, 25 Nov. 1896, 7)
DANIELSVILLE, GA., County Jail for Madison County, 1897 (Atlanta Constitution, 20 May 1897, 12, t.c.)
WASHINGTON, GA., a three storey brick hotel for T.M. Fitzpatrick, 1898 (Atlanta Constitution, 15 July 1898, 8, t.c.)
LAFAYETTE, ALABAMA, Chambers County Court House, 1898-99 (Atlanta Constitution, 10 Dec. 1898, 2)
ELLAVILLE, GA., Schley County Court House, 1899-1900 (Atlanta Constitution, 24 July 1899, 8, t.c.)


HOPEVILLE, GA., The Fulton County Industrial Farm for Boys, 1901 (Atlanta Constitution, 18 April 1901, 10, descrip.)
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA., St. Petersburg Yacht Club, at the foot of Central Avenue, 1916-17 (Walter P. Fuller, St. Petersburg and its People, 1972, 146, descrip.; Hamilton Dunn, Yesterday’s St. Petersburg, 1973, 66, illus.)
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA., U.S. Post Office, 1st Avenue North at 4th Street North, 1917 (William J. Murtagh, National Register of Historic Places, 1976, 105)
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA., The Palms Funeral Home, c. 1920 (St. Petersburg Independent, 12 March 1937, list of works)