Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Deane House & Hunt House Restoration

Deane House and Hunt House are National Heritage Sites

The moving of the Deane House to the east side
of the Elbow River, courtesy of CPL
When Superintendent Captain Richard Deane had to relocate to Calgary he decided he didn't like the house of the former Superintendent. So, in 1906, a new house was built for Capt. Deane and his wife. The house was located on 9th ave and 6th st SE, looking eastward at the barracks of Fort Calgary. 

For 8 years the house remained in that location but in 1914 the land was purchased by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway for $250,000 and the house was relocated across the street.
It wasn't until 1929 that the house was bought by C. L. Jacques and was moved (by a tractor) to the east side of the Elbow River, becoming a boarding house. Approx. 45 years later the house was purchased by the City of Calgary and was turned into the Dandelion (Art) Gallery. The heritage building became a National Historic Site in 1974, after it was reclaimed by the City of Calgary. Nowadays it is a rather popular restaurant and it is still located  on the east side of the Inglewood Bridge.

Construction of the Deane House
Another major historic element of this area is the Hunt House, which existed prior to the Deane House. Its heritage comes from its association with the work of the Hudson's Bay company, as well as from being a unique example of early architecture in AB. It was built sometime between 1876 - 1881, as part of the H.B.C's trading posts, and is estimated to have been a residence for a freighter or an interpreter with the company.
In the early 1880s, with the arrival of the cross-country railway to the west, the establishment of Law and Order and the federal government's allowance for large ranching in AB began a significant wave of commerce and trade and the small shack became an urban centre.
Construction site of the Deane House and the Hunt House
Restoration Plan for the Hunt House
and the Deane House
This little building, which is situated on the north side of the Deane House, is one of three structural reminders of the importance of the H.B.C in AB, making it a crucial connection to the company that played one of the biggest roles in the development of this country. It is also one of the province's oldest buildings and is the City's oldest building on its original site. It is that rare connection to the past, via its old construction and unique role, that makes it a valuable heritage worth preserving. It was formally recognized as a National Heritage Site in 1978.

Deane House will remain
a restaurant
Restoration of the Deane House and the Hunt House was supposed to begin many months ago however things got delayed due to the AB Flood of 2013. Even though the structures themselves were not damaged by the flood the riverbank was and reconstruction was needed prior to commencing the construction on the actual buildings. Currently the work is being done on both houses and the riverbank.

Renovations will not alter the structures nor their purposes as a restaurant (Deane House) and storage (Hunt House). There will be some changes to the parking lot and garden areas but mainly it seems to be a simple matter of protecting and improving the experience of history in Calgary.  The objective behind this project is maintaining two significant heritage sites so that they can be enjoyed for years to come.

A conceptual image of the future Deane House and Hunt House area

Project is supposed to be completed sometime in 2015; exact date is currently unknown.

1 comment:

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