. colgrove apartments


1912

129 15 Avenue SW

 

Most of the apartment buildings constructed in Calgary during the city's 1906 to 1914 boom era tended to be small-scale, two- and sometimes three-storey, brick clad walk-ups. The Colgrove is one of a very few larger-scale apartment buildings (e.g. the Anderson and Devenish Apartments) which were built for upper, middle class tenants. This very attractive building is a prominent landmark on its streetscape. The building is in very good condition, and with very little maintenance and restoration work, could easily be returned to its original appearance.

 (Calgary Heritage Authority, Building Summary 05-140)

 

Patterned on an apartment block in New York City, the brick, three-and-a-half story Colgrove Apartments – built in 1912 and named for owner and builder Robert J. Colgrove – boasted specially made carpets from England and an electric-powered security system that allowed tenants to open the main doors by pressing a button in their suites. Tradesmen used separate entrances and stairways, guaranteeing that ladies need never encounter them in the public spaces. Harvey Bricker and his wife bought the nineteen-suite building from Colgrove in 1929 and renamed it the Bricker Apartments. It later became known as the Darlington Apartments. The front of the building has no signage to identify it, but a ghost sign at the rear still reads “Colgrove Apartments / Suites to Let.”

One of the building’s most notable occupants was former millionaire Frederick C. Lowes (1880-1950), the flamboyant real estate developer who lost his fortune after the real estate bubble burst in 1913 and lived here in reduced circumstances during the 1930s. Lowes was admitted to the Ponoka mental hospital in 1938, and his wife continued live here in the 1940s.

 (Historic Walks of Calgary, Harry Sanders, 2005, Red Deer:Red Deer Press, pp.329-330)

 

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