Deutsch Canadier Block (Eastern Block)

 

1910

1227 Macleod Trail SE

 

The Deutsch Canadier Block was one of many low-rise Edwardian commercial/residential buildings constructed during Calgary’s pre-World War I boom.  It was built along the original streetcar line that connected downtown Calgary with the exhibition grounds in 1909.  Joseph Schuster and Charles Pohl acquired these lots from Isaac Gideon Ruttle in 1909, and took out a building permit, recorded on 15 March 1910, for a business block to be built by day labour at an estimated cost of $13,000.00.  Within the year, however, the building became property of F.C. Lowes & Co., and remained so until 1922.  Frederick C. Lowes was a real estate agent, speculator, developer and financial broker who became one of the city’s most successful and prominent businessmen during the boom.  He made, and then lost, millions of dollars.  Lowes’ experience symbolized Calgary’s boom-bust experience of the period. Later owners included Black and Armstrong of Winnipeg (1922-1944), Louis Belzberg and Max Switzer (1944-1957), and Howard and Leo Blitt (1957-1978).

Charles Pohl was president of Der Deutsch-Canadier, Limited, and Joseph Schuster was its secretary.  The firm published two German-language newspapers and operated a job printing press, advertising a capacity to print in English, German, French, Italian, Polish and other languages.  The company moved to Calgary from Edmonton in 1909, and became this building’s namesake occupant. Der Deutsch-Canadier, a weekly newspaper billed as "Western

Canada’s Largest German Paper", was published in Calgary from 1909-1914. In 1913, the paper announced its intention to become "a link between all German-Canadians in Western Canada".  The Deutsch-Canadischer Farmer, which Schuster managed, was published in Calgary from 1909 until 1912, and was billed as        

east block deutsch canadier mural

 

 

 

east block deutsch canadier

 

"the only German Farm Journal West of Ontario".  The company and its newspapers were relocated to another building by 1912, and by 1914, both the printing business and the two newspapers had folded.  Schuster died suddenly in 1912, and the company was liquidated in 1914.  World War I broke out in August 1914, and anti-German attitudes quickly emerged.  The Deutsch-Canadier ceased publication around December 1914, and Pohl left the city about that time.  The building was renamed the Eastern Block.

The building’s most notable residential tenant was Andrew Davison, a linotype operator for the Calgary News Telegram who lived in the building briefly around 1914.  Davison was elected to city council as an alderman in 1921, and served as mayor from 1930 to 1946 - a record that remains unmatched in Calgary’s history.

Besides its apartments, the building includes six storefronts facing Macleod Trail S.E.  Its occupants have included grocery and confectionery stores, butcher shops, pharmacies, barbers, shoemakers, and other shops and services (including a branch of the Merchants Bank of Canada, circa 1910-1911).  Building owners, Leo and Howard Blitt, also owned one of its commercial occupants, the Black & White Grocery and Confectionery.

 

(Calgary Heritage Authority, Building Summary 05-206)

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