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Lougheed House

Lougheed HouseLougheed House was built for Senator James Lougheed and his wife Isabella, grandparents of Alberta's former Premier Peter Lougheed, in 1891.  At the time, their home was situated outside the boundaries of Calgary, connected to the town by electric power lines.  The sandstone building became a symbol of the town's growth and prosperity and a source of pride for many Calgarians.  The Lougheeds named it "Beaulieu", supposedly in reference to Isabella's ancestry.  

Lougheed House was designed using elements from various styles, especially the Queen Anne Revival.  Features of this style that can be seen in the house include an asymmetrical floor plan and a large octagonal tower.  The interior was finished with the finest materials, including Spanish mahogany and Italian marble.  It overlooked an elaborate terraced garden with a swan sculptured fountain.

In subsequent years, Beaulieu was expanded to accommodate the Lougheeds' growing family and the numerous charity meetings and dignitaries they hosted.  The renovations included an expanded dining room and additional bedrooms.  Among those who stayed at Beaulieu were the Duke and Duchess of Connaught in 1912 and the Prince of Wales in 1919.

James Lougheed died in 1925.  His estate included numerous properties in Calgary, but declining land values and the onset of the Great Depression made matters difficult for Isabella.  In 1934, she was forced to sell Beaulieu to the City of Calgary, while continuing to live there.  She passed away in 1936, and in 1938, the City auctioned off the contents of her former home.

Beaulieu remained empty until 1939, when the Dominion-Provincial Youth Employment Training Program leased the building to train young men and women in a variety of tasks.  From 1940 until after World War II, the property with added "hutments" served as a barracks and dormitory for enlisted women and returning veterans.  The Canadian Red Cross Society set up a regional headquarters and blood donor clinic here in 1947, staying until 1979.

In an agreement with the Red Cross, the Province of Alberta took possession of Beaulieu and demolished the hutments.  The building remained empty for many years until 1988, when the Historical Society of Alberta approached the Province about restoring the building and surrounding grounds.  The Society formed a volunteer committee to investigate the feasibility of this plan, and in 1995, the Lougheed House Conservation Society was established.  That year, the federal government recognized the building as a National Historic Site.

Restorations to Beaulieu commenced in 1997.  The backyard, gardens and pasture were landscaped in a similar manner to the original plans and were opened to the public in 1999.  Work continues on the building and furnishing it with appropriate artifacts and replicas.

To find out more about Beaulieu, visit the Lougheed House Conservation Society's website.

 

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