Oliver Residence




619 13 Avenue SE


One of Victoria Park's more notable residences because of its stone-like facing, the Oliver house was built by Ernest Oliver and his father-in-law, J. Stahley, circa 1906-1909. The house was occupied by Mr. Oliver's son, Austin, who was born in the home shortly after it was constructed.   

Distinguished by its unusual facing, it was one of three homes built by the family. A second duplex residence at 631 - 13 Avenue SE still stands, but it has been greatly altered masking the similar use of materials. The facing is an innovative and early use of pressed cement. Ernest Oliver, an engineer, and his father-in-law, a retired farmer, manufactured the cement blocks on site with a machine press while building the homes. The "faux stone" gave the look of the more expensive sandstone.  A common Four Square plan, it is possible that the house was a ready-made design popular during the intense building period prior to 1910 (in 1909, Calgary witnessed the highest monetary value of building permits in the country).  Minor alterations have been carried out on the roof mass.

Ernest Oliver, a native of England, immigrated to the Okanagan Valley with his family as a youngster. He was an accomplished jockey prior to receiving his engineering qualifications with the C.P.R. at the 9 Avenue yards. By 1909, he joined the Provincial government and became Superintendent of Provincial Parks for Southern Alberta. He was a designing engineer on a number of projects including the Provincial Jail at Lethbridge. After his death in the 1920s, his widow, Stella, continued to live in the house with her son Austin and his wife, Margaret.  Austin Oliver was trained as a lineman through the Provincial Institute of Technology, and was employed by the Canadian Coleman Company until his retirement in 1958. A younger brother, Vern Oliver, also resides in Calgary.

The Oliver residence is a strong point of reference in the community of Victoria Park, and is a rare example of an adaptive use of "faux" stone in Calgary. (1993)


(Calgary Heritage Authority, Building Summary 05-188)