Lougheed House, also known as Beaulieu, was home to Senator James Alexander Lougheed, Lady Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, their six children and staff. This grand sandstone prairie mansion was built in 1891 and enlarged in 1907; the impressive scale and the high quality of the design, materials and interior furnishings of the house reflected the wealth and prestige of the Lougheeds.
Calgary’s Most Influential Citizens
An article in the Calgary Daily Herald claimed it was “one of the finest residences in the Canadian northwest. In their day, when the population of this pioneer town was under 4,000, the Lougheeds were among Calgary’s most influential citizens; they would remain so for decades. Their house was a political and social hub of this young and fast-growing prairie centre, and received many renowned visitors.
Entertaining at Beaulieu
Lougheed House received important state visitors on many occasions. In 1912, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and their daughter Princess Patricia stayed at the house. In 1919, the Lougheeds entertained the Prince of Wales at a garden party. Prince Edward visited again in 1923 and 1928. Other notable visitors included Governor General Lord and Lady Byng; Prince Erik of Denmark (1928); Lord and Lady Willingdon; and the Right Honourable Stanley Baldwin.
13th Avenue East from 9th Street, Calgary, Alta.
James Lougheed was appointed to the Senate in 1889, and worked to grant provincial status to Alberta in 1905. Following the Conservative victory in 1911, he held a number of key portfolios. He was knighted in 1916 for his role in establishing hospitals and services for Canadian veterans after the Great War. Successful in business and property development, Lougheed also supported the arts, building Calgary’s Lyric and Grand Theatres.
The End of an Era
Following the onset of the Depression in 1929, the Lougheed estate was unable to pay the property taxes on its real estate holdings. In 1934, the City took legal title to the house, one of the many mansions that it acquired during that period. Lady Lougheed was permitted to remain in residence at ‘the Big House’ until her death in 1936. A public auction in 1938 saw the contents of the House distributed into the winds. Lougheed House Conservation Society is particularly interested in the whereabouts of items purchased at that auction! As history goes, Lougheed House has continued to play many public roles since that time.
In 1939, the house was made available to the Dominion-Provincial Youth Employment Training Program. Almost 40 young women lived at Lougheed House in each of two sessions, and learned home nursing and housekeeping skills.
Home Service Youth Training. Graduating Class of 1939.
Canadian Women’s Army
During the Second World War, Lougheed House served as barracks for the Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWACs). Women lived at the house and worked in the military base offices and stores and drove military vehicles.
Canadian Red Cross Society
Later in the war, the Canadian Red Cross Society established a blood donor clinic in the basement to help the war effort. When the war ended, the house became a dormitory for returning service women until they could find other housing or could return to their pre-war homes. In 1947, the Red Cross rented the house as their Calgary and southern Alberta headquarters.
Province Takes Ownership
The Province of Alberta designated the house a Provincial Historic Resource in 1977. By 1978, the Red Cross moved to a building at the west end of the block while the provincial government took ownership of Lougheed House.
The province took ownership of the house in 1978.
Community Action Saves Lougheed
In 1988, the Historical Society of Alberta researched the possibility of restoring Lougheed House. The province approved its plan and created a provincial advisory board. In 1993, the City of Calgary purchased the original formal garden and pasture, and the entire historic estate property was in public ownership.
Lougheed House Conservation
During the 1990s, the Historical Society of Alberta continued to raise public awareness about the site and its potential, creating the Lougheed House Conservation Society in 1995. Since then, the Society has spearheaded the project to restore and re-use the Lougheed estate, a project completed with the formal opening of Lougheed House in 2005.
Already a Provincial Historic Resource, Lougheed House was designated a National Historic Site in 1992. During the following decade of dedication and hard work, the House was faithfully restored to its Victorian and Edwardian splendour. It opened in May 2005 as a Public Heritage Centre. The historic gardens on the estate have been beautifully recreated and are now designed, planted and landscaped to a different theme each year. Today, Lougheed House is yours to discover and enjoy.
Calgary’s population is over one million and Lougheed House proudly stands on its original 2.8 acre estate, on the edge of modern downtown Calgary.