1031 Rosser Avenue
(Lots 24/26, Block 78, Plan 2)
Designation Date: March 14, 1988
Designation Authority: The City of Brandon
The Chrest/Fraser Block is one of the oldest original buildings remaining on historic Rosser Avenue. The building was completed in 1890 by building contractor H.W. Wheedon at a cost of $13,000. The three-storey building was designed by notable Brandon architect W.R. Marshall and its large curved windows and Romanesque style make it architecturally unique from other Brandon landmarks. Although the wide central bay is placed off-centre, unity is gained by the now weathered Calgary sandstone arch and mullions which pull the upper two storeys together.
The building was the location for dry goods store A.C. Fraser & Co., one of the city’s leading department stores prior to 1909. Mr. Fraser spent some sixty years in the public eye; he served as mayor, on the Brandon City Council, and was elected to the Manitoba Legislature. Fraser was also the publisher of a short-lived local newspaper, The Brandon News. The upper floor of the building was home to the McKee Academy. In 1899, it became the foundation for Brandon College which became Brandon University in 1967.
In 1941, the building was renamed the Chrest Block in honour of its new owner Mr. William Chrest who, along with his sons, operated a dry cleaning business at this location until the early ‘70s. It has since housed several other businesses including a restaurant and a bookstore.