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James N. Stephens fonds
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Christenson Homes

James Stephens worked with Christenson Homes in the mid-1960’s. The Company was started by Lloyd Christenson who began his career as a framer in his father’s business, and then went on to establish his own construction company, focusing on single family custom homes on the higher end of the market. He also built, according to his son Greg, many of the walk-up apartments in Riverbend and other parts of southwest Edmonton. The Company name was later changed to Christenson Developments, and Greg Christenson took over the running of the Company in the early 1980’s.

This series consists wholly of oversize architectural plans which have been sorted into proposed residential (general and with client name indicated), as well as one commercial folder related to plans for the Blue Willow Restaurant.

G. W. Golden Construction Ltd.

This series reflects the long career James M. Stephens had with G.W. Golden Construction Ltd. The years that Stephens was with Golden Construction were a time of boom and growth for Edmonton; oil had been discovered, the second world war ended seeing the return of many soldiers to Canadian cities, and home and commercial construction was in demand. It was in this era that James Stephens was employed to draft and design “Golden Homes”, and the Company built homes all around the City of Edmonton.

Included in this series are files detailing advertising, costs, and plot plans of neighborhoods Golden Construction developed. The photographs in this series are primarily of homes designed and built by the Company, and used for promotion and advertising. A female model was hired to pose at one of the homes, and the interior pictures show homes fully furnished and decorated. There is a photograph of G.W. Golden executive, including James Stephens, sitting together at a restaurant table in Phoenix, Arizona.

Oversize architectural drawings comprise the largest component of this series. To establish order, the plans were separated into plot plans, residential plans, and commercial plans. Within the proposed residential plans, further division was based on chronology. Where possible information on client name and location was noted. However, most of these plans were in the tract housing style, where similar designs were made and the client could pick their design and their lot, and plans were not drawn for each house developed. As such, details about the type of house design – one story, two story, split or bi-level, rectangular, l-, h-, or u-shape was noted to distinguish the plans one from the other.

Home and Commercial Designers

The bulk of this series consists of oversize residential and commercial plans. To impose order, the residential plans were separated according to those with a client name attached (and location if both are present); those with a location only attached, and general plans without identifying details. Within these categories, the plans were further organized chronologically. The same process was used for organizing the proposed commercial plans, although chronology was not as easy to establish. There is one file of advertising material.

James N. Stephens fonds

  • CA EDM MS-794
  • Fonds
  • 1948-1979

This fonds consists primarily of architectural drawings, including plans, sections, elevations, floor plans, electrical layouts, and sketches (of both home exteriors and design features). Included are original and copied plans and drawings. The drawings reflect all aspects of Stephens' career, but the bulk of the material is from his 1968 incorporated company, James N. Stephens Limited. A few textual records and photographs are also included, relating to both Stephens’ own company and his work with G. W. Golden Construction.
The Stephens fonds were with the family until it was donated to the City of Edmonton Archives, and most of the material had been stored rolled for many years. While all attempts were made to discern original order, much of the material was loose, and lacked identifiers such as dates, clients’ names, or project addresses. In some cases the plans were generic, and meant to be built where a client lot was purchased. The material was arranged according to the following five series:
Series 1: Home and Commercial Designers/Home Designers
Series 2: G. W. Golden Construction Ltd.
Series 3: Christenson Homes
Series 4: James N. Stephens Ltd.
Series 5: Unidentified drawings
As mentioned, it is not always possible to determine who or when (or where) a plan was created. There is a lot of material that was completed without dates, locations, or Company logos. When no information about the company could be determined, the plans were moved to series 5.
The fonds remained in James Stephens’ possession until his death in 1993, and was donated to the City of Edmonton Archives on behalf of the family by Alison Stephens, James’ daughter-in-law.

Stephens, James Noble

James N. Stephens Ltd.

With many years of experience with all phases of architectural design and project management, James N. Stephens once again established his own company. He specialized as a building designer, contractor, and remodeler, and took on many residential and commercial projects as evidenced by the plans and documents found in this series of records.

There are five small files of textual records, and two files of photographs related to theme art for basement rumpus rooms, and a residence built for the McQuarrie family in Phoenix, Arizona.

The plans include smaller legal sized plans. Many of the plans in this series bear no identification, and cannot be attached to a particular client or location; in some instances this is because the plans are intended to be generic and built when ordered, but in many other instances, plans have become loose from supporting drawings. The plans have been arranged into plot plans, proposed residential, proposed commercial, and drawings and sketches.

Unidentified drawings

This series consists of drawings with either no company identification or company identification with no known relation to James Stephens. These have been separated into this series and retained for their value as drawing with identifiable locations or other aesthetic value.

This series includes numerous drawings for interior murals which Stephens is known to have done both while working under Golden and in his own firm James Noble Stephens Ltd.

The final file in this series is drawings from C. Talbot Larrington, The Dominion Construction Co. Ltd and Engineering Enterprise. It is not known how or why Stephens came into possession of these drawings.