The city’s 22nd annual Historic Calgary Week is here. Along with the Calgary Stampede, the Calgary Public Library system, City of Calgary Recreation and several other Calgary attractions celebrating their centennials, century homes are being recognized.
For 2012, there are 508 homes participating in the week-long celebration. Most of these homes were built around 1912 when Calgary’s first housing boom hit its peak. According to the Century Homes Calgary website the first building boom started in 1904 and ended with the start of the First World War.
Walking around neighbourhoods in inner city Calgary, many of the homes have signs detailing their rich histories. Some information has been provided through the Heritage Homes Calgary resource page and some information from long time resident neighbours.
In Inglewood this information included tidbits such as prisoners using a house for warmth after robbing a local store, then burning a hole in the roof. A house built for just $1,554 in 1913 boasted “outside observation” or — as we would put it — windows; also that original owners included photographers, police constables and Europeans.
In Kensington many of the homes have not only seen many owners but many uses. One home served the purpose of a bed and breakfast through the nineties, another as the rectory for St. Barnabas Anglican Church. One home was even converted into apartments only to be turned back into a single-family home years later.
Many of the signs in front of these homes proudly and rightly make mention of the repurposing owners have done with original features. A single remaining stained glass window has been moved inside one home to ensure its longevity; old doors have been repurposed into backyard fences and old bricks have been dug up to create a patio.
These homes are not only beautiful to look at but they provide a great sense of pride for those living in them. It is obvious through the yard signs that these century houses mean a lot to the residents who call them home and the communities they rest in.
Many of the communities with a large number of century homes have walking tours with maps available in their neighbourhoods. Go to http://www.centuryhomes.org/ for more information.