Haute history

*CREB®Now real estate news luxury feature*

Calgary has always had a flair for luxury living

Luxury comes in many shapes and sizes. Earlier this year, a penthouse unit in the Princeton Hall highrise at Eau Claire sold on MLS® for a record $4.4 million. A Priddis-area home, meanwhile set a provincial record in June when it went on the market for a cool $38 million.

Yet set amid today’s multimillion-mansions and copious condos comes a reminder of just how far Calgary luxury housing market has come.

The Lougheed House

Located along 13th Avenue S.W, between Sixth and Seventh streets, the Lougheed House was once hailed as “one of the finest residents in the Canadian northwest.”

Originally known as Beaulieu (“beautiful house”), the Lougheed House was constructed in 1891 on the western outskirts of Calgary’s then-young downtown by Sen. James Alexander Lougheed for his wife, Lady Isabella, two children and staff. The Lougheeds added to the home in 1907 to accommodate their growing family.

Featuring a sandstone exterior, square tower, ionic columns and cornices and the iconic Beaulieu Gardens, the opulent home was host to visiting dignitaries and special guests such as the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, Prince of Wales, governor general and Lady Byng and Prince Eric of Denmark.

The home would later be purchased by the Red Cross for $10,000. Today, the house is operated by Lougheed House Conservation Society, which is devoted to the restoration of the home and gardens. The house serves not only as an indication of Calgary’s early opulence, but its sandstone structure, in particular, is a reminder of the City’s bygone luxury.

“We like to preserve this house because it’s one of the last sandstone mansions on the prairies,” said Adrienne Leicht, guest services, programs and volunteer manager for Lougheed House.

Barnhart Apartments

Located just a block to the south in the Beltline district, an early residential mecca in the city are the Barnhart Apartments.

Designated a Municipal Historic Resource earlier this month, the three-storey apartment block was constructed in 1929 by Vancouver contractor C.E. Barnhart. Notable occupants have included Douglas Lougheed (Sen. Lougheed’s son) and Roosevelt Olson, co-founder of Western Canada Greyhound Lines, according to the Beltline Heritage Group.

With Tudor Revival construction and an arched entranceway, residents of Barnhart Apartments rubbed elbows with nearby residents of note, including the Lougheeds and Patrick Burns of the Big Four.

“The Calgary Albertan and the Calgary Daily Herald published features on the new Barnhart Apartments Oct. 19, 1929,” said the Beltline Heritage Group. “Both features described the 25-suite building (an annex, now demolished, housed an additional five suites) in detail and both papers characterized the [building] as luxurious.”

Prince House

Heritage Park-goers, meanwhile, can get a unique glimpse into Calgary’s luxurious past with Prince House.

Once situated in the community of Eau Claire, the house, fully furnished in line with the Edwardian Era, has called Heritage Park home for almost 50 years. It was constructed at 238 Fourth Ave. S.W., in 1894 for Quebec-born lumber magnate Peter Anthony Prince, who had moved to Calgary eight years prior. Prince managed the Eau Claire and Bow River Lumber Company until 1916.

Influential in Calgary’s early years, Prince also signed a contract to supply Calgary with electricity in 1889 and formed the Calgary Power Water Company. Prince’s Island Park, located near the home’s original location, is named after Prince.

The three-storey, 3,300-square-foot Queen Anne-style home, which features a tower, was constructed with a yellow brick veneer on a foundation made up of sandstone from Calgary and bricks from Red Deer. It boasted a parlour, dining room, kitchen eight bedrooms, servants’ quarters and luxurious amenities such as hot water heating. It’s believed Prince based the design of the home on a cottage plan in Glenbrook, Conn., published in an 1883 issue of Scientific American.

It’s estimated that, in 1910, the home would have cost between $4,000 and $10,000.

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