June 22, 2021 | Tyler Difley
Historical Home Spotlight: Rouleau ResidenceYear of Construction: 1885
Address: 1880 First St. S.W.
Architectural Style: Queen Anne Revival
Built in 1885, the Rouleau Residence is one of the oldest buildings in Calgary and stands as a reminder of Mission's rich Francophone history.
The home gained its moniker from Dr. Édouard-Hector Rouleau, who lived there with his family for about 15 years. Rouleau was a well-known figure at the time for his accomplishments in the medical field and contributions to the Francophone community in the area. The village of Rouleauville, which became the modern-day community of Mission, was named in recognition of him and his brother, Charles-Borromée Rouleau.
Rouleau was the home's most notable resident, but not its first. It was originally built for local businessman Edwin R. Rogers a couple blocks away from its current location. Rouleau bought the home from Rogers in 1887, moving the structure to 18th Ave S.W. It has since been moved a second time and now sits at the intersection of 19th Avenue and First Street S.W., on the north end of the pedestrian bridge that leads to Lindsay Park and the Repsol Sports Centre. The home's original lot eventually became parking for La Chaumiere Restaurant, which closed in 2019.
Structurally, the wood-frame house features one and three-quarter storeys, and according to the City of Calgary, "Its asymmetrical façade incorporates a bay window, an elaborate front entry door surround with decorative crown, pointed-arch window heads, and fretwork in the front gable."
Over its 135-plus-year history, the Rouleau Residence has had a couple close calls. It was almost destroyed by a fire in 1950 and its existence was once again threatened in 2003 when it was slated for demolition. However, a grassroots campaign to save the house gained traction and the City of Calgary decided to preserve the property, moving it onto a new foundation at its current location, the former site of the St. Mary's Parish Hall/CNR Station, in 2005. It sat there vacant for nearly 15 years before a $1.45-million restoration effort began in 2019. The home is now designated as a Municipal Historic Resource.
For more information about the Rouleau Residence, visit the City of Calgary Inventory of Historic Resources and Heritage Calgary websites.
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