Lorraine Apartments



620 12 Avenue SW

The Lorraine is a very good example of a four-storey, walk-up, apartment block of high quality built in the years before the First World War. The land on which it was constructed was acquired from Senator James Lougheed in 1912 by Omer H. Patrick, a real estate broker who may also have been the builder of The Lorraine. It remained in the Patrick family until 1972.  The building is located around the corner from the Ranchmen's Club, and in the neighborhood of many well-to-do property owners and tenants. A number of prominent Calgarians have lived in this building over the years, one of whom was R.C. Marshall, Mayor of the city, who resided here while in office in 1914.

The Lorraine adapts many of the features of plainer apartment blocks of the time, but combines them in a much more ornate manner. The typical bay windows at either side have been recessed within the red brick walls, and the customary central, multi-storey balcony is here rendered in brick rather than in the more common wood. The well-laid brickwork is enlivened by patterning, such as the herringbone treatment on the balconies, and by the use of white terra cotta trim and detail. Some of the terra cotta ornament is representational, such as the heads which appear over the bay windows. In other instances, Classical (including the cartouches in the arches above the top balcony) and geometrical ornamental motifs are used. The largest expanse of terra cotta occurs over the entrance, in which the name of the building is inscribed. The cornice, which crowns the building, is split in the centre to reveal the triangular-headed parapet. The exterior of the building is well maintained and has not been altered over the years; the interior retains many features and is in good condition. (1982)  On the morning of Saturday, January 24, 1998, a fire devastated the Lorraine apartment building, destroying the third and fourth floors.  (1998)

(Calgary Heritage Authority, Building Summary 02-102)



Dr. Omer H. Patrick (1869-1947), the physician-turned-businessman who founded the Calgary Zoological Society in 1928, built this three-story brick apartment block and named it for his son Lorraine.  Patrick intended to build a second structure and name it for his daughter Lenore, but the real estate boom collapsed in 1913 and the Lenore was never built.  Notable occupants in the thirty-three suite building included Patrick himself, until he moved to Mount Royal with his wife Lulu; architect Alex Pirie; and Robert C. Marshall, who lived here during his term as mayor (1919-21).  Lorraine Patrick owned the building after his father’s death, but its attraction as a high-class address had already declined.  The Lorraine was gutted by fire in 1998, but the outer wall survived and it was reconstructed inside as an office block.



















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