. lougheed house

1891

707 13 Avenue SW

 

An impressive mansion by todays standards (surely the grandest in town when it was built) was the home of Sir James Alexander Lougheed, one of the most distinguished of Calgary's early business, social, and political leaders. Lougheed was born in Brampton, Ontario in 1854. He arrived in Calgary in 1883, and became the young town's first lawyer. In that same year, he married Belle Christine Hardisty, daughter of the Cheif Factor of the Hudson's Bay Co. Three years later, Lougheed needed help with expanding his law practice, and so he brougt in a junior partner named R.B. Bennett - the future Prime Minister of Canada. Lougheed was appointed to the Senate in 1889. He was active in real estate and development, and was a founding partner of Calgary Petroleum Products, principals in Dingman strike of 1914.

Lougheed built his mansion on 13 Avenue in 1891. When Beulieu (as the Lougheeds named the house) was constructed, it sat alone on the windswept prairie beyond the growing town of Calgary. Beaulieu is picturesquely massed and composed, with an octagonal tower and a gable facing the street and a steep pavilion roof on the garden facade. The walls are rusticated sandstone from the Oliver quarry. Beulieu is a very good example of Victorian eclectic design. The interior details include wall panelling of Spanish mahogany and numerous stained glass windows. Having surveyed the 6 Street SW right through the gully, The City pased a bylaw in 1901 exchanging land with the Senator and allowing construction of the roadway around the marsh. Beaulieu's terraced gardens were then created in the hollow. A sculptural fountain in the form sunken garden. In the SE corner of the property, a patch of unploughed prairie served as pasture.

Beaulieu was used for entertainment on a grand scale, and guests included Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Whales and Prince George, as well as the Govenor General, H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught. The house was a center of Calgary social life for several decades. Sir James died in 1925, and Lady Lougheed in 1936. Two years later, the house reverted to the City for unpaid taxes. The Canadian Red Cross Society rented the house in 1947 and purchased it a year later. In 1978, the organization moved into a new building just to the west. The house was designated as a Provincial Historic Resource in 1977, and in 1979, the Alberta gevernment purchased the mansion.

The Lougheed House was designed by architect James R. Bowes of Ottawa. Beaulieu has been recognized by the federal government as a National Historic Site. In 1993, the City of Calgary purchased Beaulieu's former garden and pasture property (the Eastern portion of the block). Alberta Community Development replaced the roof in 1994. On January 20, 1995 the Lougheed House Conservation Society was incorporated. Representing the public, this Society entered into a three-way partnership with the City of Calgary and the Province of Alberta to develop the Beaulieu gardens. The Lougheed House has since been reopened as a key heritage attraction in the city of Calgary.

 

 

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