. hester apartments
1306 4 Street SW
The Hester Apartments was on e of many new apartment buildings constructed during Calgary's pre-World War I boom, an early manifestation of densification that saw older homes in the city centre replaced by apartment blocks. The building is situated at the west end of Victoria Park, one of the city's earliest suburbs, and within the original 1884 town limits. The area is known colloquially as the Beltline, after the streetcar line that once serviced the district. The streetcar was extended along this stretch of Fourth Street between 1919 and 1921.
The buidling's original owner was Joseph Gray Hester, who arrived in Calgary around 1904 and became president and treasurer of the Alberta Building Block Company. Hester narrowly won an aldermanic by-election in June 1912, but evidently left the city by the following year.
The contractor was McDougall and Foster, a firm that built several landmarklandmark Calgary buildings. The architect is unknown, but the design is evidently modeled on another Calgary apartment building, Georgian Court, which was located at 621 - 5 Avenue SW and demolished in 1978 and now the site of the Fifth and Fifth office Tower.
The Hester Apartments was designated for a high class if tennant, and it's earliest occupants included two physicians (both female), two accountants, and the associate editor of the Farm and Ranch Review, Alexander Stewart. Perhaps its most notable tennant was Dr. Rosamond Leacock, who lived in the building from about 1912-1917. Dr. Leacock was the first pathologist in Calgary, and was the sister of economist and humorist Stephen Leacock.
This electric building, predominantly in the Georgian Revival style, features a symmetrical facade with central door, windows with 12-light upper sash and bay windows at either end. The upper roofline has Tudor influenced half timbered gables and shingle siding to the shed dormer. The wooden balcony at the front of the building, was removed at an unknown date and restored in the 1990's, and the rear displays three-storie of wooden fire-escapes.
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