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Our Mayor Launches Historic Calgary Week (and we launch a collection!)

by Christine H - 1 Comment(s)

 

Mayor Nenshi

Mayor Nenshi Proclaims Historic Calgary Week,

Photograph courtesy Val Jobson

It is here! Mayor Nenshi launched Historic Calgary Week this past Friday at the Southern Alberta Pioneers building. There are SO many interesting programs going on this week, I can’t decide where I want to go. Check out the brochure and join in on this celebration of our heritage.

So, because it is the annual celebration of our history, Calgary Public Library has launched our newest digitized collection - Historic Maps of Calgary and Alberta. Maps can be a fascinating way to look at the history of a city and its people and this collection highlights a sampling of historic Calgary maps that have been digitized from the Community Heritage and Family History's print map collection found in the Local History Room at the Central Library. The print map collection consists of hundreds of maps dating from the early 19th century and into to 21st. Below is a sample of one of the digitized maps:

Calg 4

 

Map showing Calgary in 1884

Community Heritage and Family History Map Collection, CALG 4

This map of Calgary N.W.T. shows locations and dates of early Calgary buildings and provides valuable insight into our city's history and development. For example, did you know that in 1884 the City Pound was across the street from where the Central Library is now?

 

Click here to see the collection, or find it through the Community Heritage and Family History Digital Library (under Books & More from our website)

To see the sample of digitized maps available online, click on Digitized Map link on the collections front page. You can also access information about the hundreds of actual maps in our collection; click on the Browse All tab at the top of the page. So while we work at getting more of the maps digitized and available, you can see the real thing in the Local History room on the fourth floor at the Central Library. And keep in mind, that if you have any questions about the maps or about history or genealogy, you can contact us via our Chat Reference, by email or by telephone at 403-260-2785.

Historic Calgary Week 2012

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

 

AJ 2510

St. Mary's Cathedral (designed by Maxwell Bates)

Alison Jackson Photograph Collection, AJ 2510

Historic Calgary week starts on July 27 and runs to August 6. The theme for this year is Culture, Commerce, Community - Connect and there are over sixty events taking place. As usual, the Calgary Public Library Community Heritage and Family History department will be presenting a program as part of this week. On Thursday August 2 at 2:00 p.m. we will be presenting “Ancestors and Their Attics 2.0 – The Century Homes Edition.” This program explores just how much information you can uncover starting with just a postcard, some first names and a lot of snooping. The early version was very popular and we have continued our pursuit of the family and found even more interesting information about them and their house.

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601 and 603 15 Avenue SW (603 was the home of Freddie McCall in 1908)

Alison Jackson Photograph Collection, AJ 7520

 

There are lots of other fascinating programs on offer. Just a few of the ones I’m looking forward to are “In the Lougheed Neigbourhood: Calgary’s Great Modern Artist, Maxwell Bates” with Nancy Townshend on July 20, “What’s Under Calgary” with Cory Gross on July 31, and “Reader’s Legacy” on August 3. I would also like to see the City Hall Tour, the Freddie McCall program, the War of 1812, and there are also all the Century Homes to visit – and the Lion Awards on August 1. I am going to have to quit work just so I can take in all of the great offerings. You can see for yourself the wide variety of events that are going on during Historic Calgary Week by visiting the Chinook Country Historical Society website. Hope to see you at one (or all) of them.

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Central Memorial Park (one of William Reader's accomplishments)

Alison Jackson Photograph Collection, AJ 25-10

Ride through Time at Lougheed House

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

 

AJ 14-10

Beaulieu from the south east

Alison Jackson Photograph Collection, aj-14-10

We are going to be at Lougheed House on Saturday July 21 for their annual Ride through Time. Ride through Time is a great chance for all Calgarians to see the house and its gardens. It is a party atmosphere, with a pancake breakfast for the first 600 guests, a display of antique cars and fun and games for the whole family. This is one of our favourite events of the year because we meet a huge variety of people. Another perk is that we get to set up our display in the magnificent Lougheed House, which is the only remaining Victorian residence in Calgary.

The house has seen one hundred and twenty years of this city’s development. It has ridden the booms and the busts. The house was built in a boom year, 1891, on 2.8 acres of land which was part of a larger parcel granted to Senator Lougheed in 1890 (see Land Patent below). Beaulieu was pretty much out on its own at the edge of the city. A photo in an article on the “bright future” of Calgary in the Globe of October 17, 1891 shows the house under construction with no buildings anywhere nearby. It really was out on the bald prairie. But, as the Globe article stated, Calgary’s future was bright, and in a short time the city had grown and the community of what is now the Beltline was well populated. (You can read the article by going to the database “The Globe and Mail: Canada’s Heritage from 1844” under History and Genealogy in our E-Library)

 

Letters patent for Senator Lougheed Letters patent, issued to Senator James Lougheed, on block 86, lots 1-20

Western Canada Land Grants Database, Library and Archives Canada

 

Central High School would be built a few years later, and, as the postcard below shows, the area was well populated by 1912.

Senator Lougheed died in 1925 and Lady Lougheed continued to live in the house, even after it had been taken by the City of Calgary for non-payment of taxes in 1934. (This was not an uncommon occurrence. Many of Calgary’s great homes were seized during the depression for non-payment of taxes.) After Lady Lougheed’s passing, the city organized an auction to clear the house of its furniture, art and other fixtures. The family had taken what they could but the rest was sold. I can only imagine the grief of the Lougheeds at this development.

Once the city owned the land, the question arose of what to do with it. The beautiful sandstone mansion could have been lost to the wreckers ball but, in an ironic twist of fate, the very economic downturn that had led to the city owning the house, also led to its survival. Unemployment was soaring and young people had very limited options. The Federal Government pledged one million dollars for courses to prepare young people for work. What better place to hold these classes than Beaulieu.

With the coming of World War II, the training programs ended and Beaulieu was shuttered for two years. In 1941 the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) was formed. They needed training and once again beautiful Beaulieu stood at the ready. It was converted into barracks for the women. After the war, the house was briefly a YWCA residence for demobbed service women and then came the Red Cross. They rented the building and then later purchased it. Land that was not purchased by the Red Cross was developed as small apartment building in the 70s. Eventually the Red Cross outgrew its space and once again there was talk of demolishing the building in order to build a bigger facility. It was a boom time. The small apartment buildings were knocked down to make away for larger towers. However, by 1980 we had hit a bust and the plans for the large apartment towers were abandoned. In the interim, though, Beaulieu had been declared a provincial historic resource and ownership was transferred to the province. The Red Cross was given a building nearby and a parking garage was built under the backyard.

The house lay empty for 15 years. In 1993 the city purchased the land on which the apartment buildings had stood and set it aside for park purposes. The Lougheed Estate was finally back together, though owned by two different arms of government.

The Lougheed House is a wonderful symbol of this city’s history. Drop by on Saturday and say hi! 

 

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Thirteenth Avenue [looking] east showing Beaulieu on the right

Postcards from the Past, PC 165

Stampede Genealogy

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

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Wally Lindstrom, Wild Steer Decorating, Calgary Stampede

Postcards from the Past, PC 1405

At the last general meeting of the Alberta Family Histories Society, Stampede Archivist Aimee Benoit presented the story of Guy Weadick and his wife Flores La Due. Members of the Society did some digging into the history of these two folks and were able to pull up a great deal of genealogical information. It’s always lots of fun to do these “extreme” genealogies where all you have is a name and a few bits of information – we are going to be doing a version of that for Historic Calgary Week, when we present our enhanced “Ancestors and their Attics, 2.0” . But what if your family was part of the first Stampede? What kind of information could you pull up about them? I got to thinking about this as I was watching the parade and saw the great numbers of descendants of the Stampede pioneer families. What kinds of resources would be available to people who were researching folks who might have participated in some way in the Calgary Stampede over the years?

Well, I started close to home, in the Community Heritage and Family History collection here at the Central Library. We have a great deal of information and artifacts from the Stampede including things like souvenir programs, annual reports, prize lists. For example, did you know that in 1968 the first prize for an appliquéd cotton quilt in the Needlework and Homecrafts display was $5.00? Or that, in 1912, Fannie Sperry from Mitchell Montana won a gold mounted belt and 1000 dollars cash for winning the Cowgirl Bucking Horse World Championship? (I didn’t even know that there was a women’s bucking horse contest – good on ‘em) Even if you’re not researching your own family, we have a wealth of ephemera (that means the kind of stuff you generally toss out after the event) that paints a very intimate and interesting picture of what the Stampede was like over the years. Great for filling in family history stories or just for idle curiosity.

Of course, we have an excellent collection of photographs, especially from the first Stampede. If you had an ancestor who was a cowboy or cowgirl, you might find his or her picture in the CHFH Digital Library. The photo at the top is from, I believe, sometime in the 1940s, and shows Wally Lindstrom participating in the Steer Decorating competition. Wally was the Canadian Saddle Bronc Champion in 1941 but he competed in other events so he could be considered for the All Around title.

The photo below shows Tex McCloud riding a “squalling bronc” in the 1912 Stampede. Is he, perhaps, an ancestor? Let us know if you have any rodeo in your roots. We’d love to hear from you!

(Of course there are other repositories that you can visit for Stampede history. The Glenbow Museum and Archives has a great collection as do the Stampede Archives. The Stampede Archives have an online presence through the Alberta Heritage Digitization Project at the U of C. Check it out.)

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Tex McCloud on the Squalling Bronco, Stampede Calgary, 1912

Postcards from the Past, PC 276

100th Anniversary Stampede Parade - Yahoo!

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

PC 1573

Cowboys and Cowgirls in 1912 Stampede Parade

Postcards from the Past, PC 1573

Well, it’s nearly here! The 100th anniversary Calgary Stampede begins with the parade on Friday. The parade is, for many, the most important part of the Stampede celebration. The streets are lined with thousands of folks, many of them dressed up in western regalia. The first Stampede parade I can remember was in 1965. Walt Disney was the parade marshal, and if I’m not mistaken, Mickey Mouse was here, too. I may have been at other, earlier, parades as my parents loved the Stampede and my dad’s office was right on the route. I wouldn’t have been one yet when Bing Crosby was parade marshal, but I bet my parents took me to that one – they were Bing Crosby fans. I don’t remember the Three Stooges, but I bet I was at that one, too as my brother was a die-hard fan.

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Bing Crosby, Parade Marshall, 1959

Alison Jackson Photograph Collection, AJ 34-06

My favourites were always the marching bands and the mini-cars. Those seemed to be pretty standard over the years. I live near a wide open field so I get a sneak preview of some of the marching bands as they practice (at 9:00 in the morning on the weekends, mind you). My other faves were the First Nations representatives who have been an integral part of the Stampede since the beginning. And with the 100th anniversary Stampede parade, the chiefs of the Treaty Seven Nations are going to be honourary parade marshals. It is going to be something, I tell ya.

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First Nations People in Traditional Dress in Stampede Parade, undated

Postcards from the Past, PC 593

I believe that everybody, even those of us with curmudgeonly tendencies, loves a parade. And it seemed that in the days before we were inundated with entertainment options, parades were a very common event. Military bands paraded up and down the streets, returning soldiers paraded through the city, there was a parade on the opening of baseball season, (for which the mayor had declared a half-day off for the city). There were Victory Bond parades, which included floats and fire eaters supplied by Cappy Smart and the fire department. It seems that on any excuse, a parade was held. This must have been a very interesting time. Some of the fanciest parades, pre - Stampede, were for the Dominion Exhibitions that were held here. The postcard below is a photo of a Roman chariot in the parade for the Dominion Exhibition of 1908.

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Roman Chariot on 8th Avenue, possibly part of an historic parade

Dominion Exhibition, 1908(?)

Postcards from the Past, PC 868

So, the parade itself is a nostalgic event, from a time when you could just get up a bunch of yahoos and march down the street for any good reason. I like that. Let’s bring that spirit to the 100th Anniversary Stampede Parade and get your yahoos out.

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Start of the 50th Anniversary Stampede Parade, 1962

Alison Jackson Photograph Collection, AJ 63-15