. underwood block
1001 1 Street SW
This two-storey commercial and residential structure was built in 1905 by Thomas Underwood, as part of his efforts to open up this part of the city to more intensive development. Underwood was a leading member of Calgary's business and political community. He came to Winnipeg from England in 1883, and arrived in Calgary two years later and found employment with the C.P.R. He subsequently became a contractor, building such notable structures as the mansion of Senator Patrick Burns and the first Bank of Montreal.
Underwood’s other business interests included the Diamond Coal Company and the Calgary Gas Company, both of which had offices in this building. He served for six years as Alderman, and was Mayor of Calgary in 1902-1903. Underwood was also actively involved in the Baptist Church.
The present building is a good example of the commercial style of the period, with brick pilaster strips in shallow relief stretching vertically between pairs of windows enlivened with sandstone bands. Sandstone is also used for the window lintels and sills. A decorative pediment at the corner bears the date 1905. A cornice extends along both the 1 Street and 10 Avenue facades. When Underwood subsequently built the five-storey Underwood Block nearby (now demolished), the name of this building was changed to the Western Block. The building has been subjected to few alterations aside from superficial changes in the storefronts.
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