May 13, 2020 | Tyler Difley
Calgary historical homes: then and now
Several historic residences from Calgary's formative years are still standing today, thanks to restoration efforts, and tenants who are committed to preserving these pieces of the city's heritage.
A.E. Cross House
This two-storey home was owned by prominent Calgarian and member of the Calgary Stampede's founding "Big Four" A.E. Cross. Cross was an important presence in Alberta's formative years, known for his work as a rancher, brewer, oilman and entrepreneur. The house was built in 1891 in what is now the inner-city community of Inglewood and Cross purchased it in 1899. His family would call it home for several decades. It is one of city's oldest residences, and is now the home of the acclaimed Rouge restaurant. The house features several interesting architectural elements favoured by wealthy individuals of the late Victorian period, including a wood-shingled hip roof, sandstone foundation, "widow's walk" balustrade, clapboard siding and gingerbread trim.
Bow Valley Ranche House
This historic Calgary home was built by rancher and businessman William Roper Hull for around $4,000 in 1896. The house saw many visitors, as Hull had a penchant for entertaining. Hull owned the house until 1902, when it was sold to Patrick Burns, another successful rancher. The house underwent many repairs and renovations, as Burns and, subsequently, his extended family called it home until the early 1970s. These included the addition of a large family wing, a games room, a one-storey addition, a tennis court and a pool. In 1973, the Alberta government bought the house, which sat empty for the next 20 years. In 1995, local residents Mitzie and Larry Wasyliw created the Fish Creek Restoration Society in an effort to save the home and ensure its upkeep. As a result, the house was opened to the public in 1999 as a restaurant, and in 2014, a full restoration of the residence returned it to its original condition. It is now the home of the Bow Valley Ranche restaurant.
This 110-year-old residence is an important part of Calgary's history. It bears the name of Fort Calgary's last serving North West Mounted Police (NWMP) superintendent, Captain Richard Burton Deane, and is the only NWMP building left in the city. Deane built the house in 1906 for his ailing wife Martha, but she passed away before it was completed. Originally located near the corner of Ninth Avenue and Sixth Street S.E. facing the NWMP barracks, the house had to be moved twice. First, the Grand Trunk Railroad moved the house to the site of the current Fort Calgary interpretive centre after purchasing the entire Fort Calgary property. Then, the house was moved across the Elbow River to where it sits today – an impressive feat that required temporary pilings and a steam-driven tractor. From there, it served as a boarding house until 1973, when it was purchased by the City of Calgary. The house's current tenant is fine-dining restaurant Deane House, which opened in 2016 after the house underwent four years of redevelopment.
This sprawling residence in Calgary's inner city was home to Senator James Alexander Lougheed and Lady Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, as well as their six children and staff. The house – a sandstone mansion that still inspires feelings of awe today – was built in 1891 and expanded in 1907. Beaulieu, as the house is also known, was a hub for the social and political activity that revolved around the Lougheeds – one of the most wealthy and influential Calgarian families of the period. Over the years, the house received several high-profile visitors, including the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, the Prince of Wales, Prince Edward, Governor General Lord and Lady Byng, Prince Erik of Denmark, and the Right Honourable Stanley Baldwin, who served as British prime minister on three separate occasions during the 1920s and 1930s. The provincial government took ownership of the house in 1978, and the Lougheed House Conservation Society was formed in 1995 to restore the Lougheed estate to its Victorian-era glory. The restoration was completed in 2005, and the house was opened as a public heritage centre that same year. It also houses a restaurant and is a popular venue for a variety of events, including weddings.
Historical photos: Glenbow Archives
Present-day photos: Cody Stuart / CREB®Now
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