House history

711 3 St S

The original owners of this 1907 home were George and Ida James. George was a locomotive engineer. They raised 8 children in this 3-bedroom home, 6 of whom were born at home (in the upper left bedroom at the front of the house).

One of the daughters, Verena, married a young man, Ed Ford, who lived two doors down. Verena became a registered nurse and moved back into the family home when her father died, presumably to take care of her aging mother. Thus, this home was in one family for 95 years.

Many of the original features have been retained, including fir floors throughout. The home changed hands a couple of time after 1995. We purchased the home in 2002 and have gradually been restoring it.

Haig Residence, 1115 8 Av S

This elegant house on the corner of 12 Street and 8 Avenue South exemplifies the exciting new style of architecture popularized in North America in the 1930s by Calgary architects Fordyce and Stevenson and built by Oland construction from Lethbridge (on a cost plus basis). These architects rejected the “historic revival style” and the excessive ornamentation of earlier ages and instead drew inspiration from the modern world of science and technology.

The Haig Residence was built in 1937 for Dr. Arthur Haig, a McGill-trained doctor, who had grown up in Claresholm. Designed and built by Calgary architects Fordyce and Stevenson, the house combines the three related “futuristic” styles: “International”, “Art Deco” and “Streamline Moderne.” The two storey frame house is faced with smooth stucco. It is asymmetrical yet balanced and combines cubic, angular and curved forms.

The industrial influence shows in the combination of strip windows and glass blocks and in the use of metal handrails and a porthole window. The interior reveals flowing curved walls, hand-painted walls in the living room, and colourful “Vitrolite” on the bathroom walls. Although the hand-painted living room walls may look like wallpaper, the paint was put directly on the plaster.

This beautiful home, now designated a “Provincial Historic Site” is still owned by the Haig family and had been run as the “Heritage House Bed & Breakfast” for the 27 years. Next time you walk past, please stop to admire this fine example of the foremost architectural imagination of the 1930s.