One of the earliest surviving mansions on the Canadian prairies, this 1891 home brought a new elegance to its frontier town. Designed by Ottawa architect James R. Bowes for Senator James Lougheed and his wife Isabelle (nee Hardisty), it hosted visiting royalty, travelling dignitaries and local society gatherings. An early domestic example of Calgary sandstone construction, the house combines historical styles in a robust Victorian Eclectic design. At one time, porches, carriageways and a terraced formal garden were edged by balustrades. Despite later uses, the grand interior is largely intact.
By the early 1900’s the 2.8-acre estate included the 1891 residence, carriage house and stable, as well as a formal garden withe swam sculpture fountain.
Backyard and kitchen gardens, floral beds, tree-lined carriageways and boulevards and pasture transformed the prairie settings. Garden parties at Laughed House were grand occasions, particularly the 1919 event for Edward Prince of Wales.
After WWII, the formal garden and pasture were sold and three apartment block constructed. Following their removal c.1978, large towers were designed but never built. In 1993, the City re-purchased that part of the estate for parkland.
In the 1970’s, the Canadian Red Cross, then owner of the house, needed more space and suggested demolition. Already provincially protected, the historic house was saved by an agreement that moved the Red Cross and gave title the Province of Alberta. A Lougheed House Conservation Society Heritage Centre, ensuring a vibrant future for the house and gardens.
CHANGES OVER TIME
When the house built in1891 this area was still an expanse of prairie southwest of the growing time of Calgary.
Built of local sandstone from the Butlin quarry, the three-storey home with its red metal roof and colourful window trim was a striking landmark on the horizon. When the house was enlarged and redecorated in 1907, the trim was sand-painted a labour-intensive technique whereby sand is thrown against wet paint to create the look of stone. During the restoration of Lougheed House, 2000-2004, sand-painting was re-introduced. Only the row of tower windows facing this exhibit was painted to interpret the original house trim colours. Over the years the front portico and west porch were rebuilt a number of times. The sandstone carriage house was demolished in 1951.