Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Crandell House, built in 1905, is located on the south side of the Bow River in the Patterson neighbourhood of west Calgary. The .085-hectare (2.1-acre) property below Prominence Park includes a large, British Arts and Crafts-style, red-brick house that is distinguished by its twin, half-timbered gables and large verandahs. Located on the property is an associated, hipped-roof, brick carriage house.
The Crandell House, originally known as 'Varsity Heights', was built in 1905 as a country retreat for one of early Calgary's most prominent businessmen, Edward H. Crandell (1858-1944), and his wife Harriet, who arrived in Calgary in 1900, and soon developed one of the most successful real-estate and insurance businesses in the city, becoming one of Calgary's most prominent citizens and a city alderman from 1914-16. As part of his real estate activities Crandell built and was instrumental in building many homes in Calgary. He was also involved in heading a wide variety of other enterprises, including the Jackson Wood and Fuel Co., Calgary Tent and Mattress Co., Dominion Oil Co., and the Alberta Sewer Pipe Co. The house, which was once part of a 162-hectare (400-acre) property, served as a part-time residence for the Crandells from 1905-12 and was their full-time residence from 1913-20. After a two year hiatus (1920-22) it was again occupied on an occasional basis by the Crandell family. The Crandell family owned the property until 1934.
From 1920-22 the property was rented by the Red Cross and served as the 'Soldiers' Children's Home' to care for orphaned children and those convalescing from medical treatment. Sixty children resided at the property which aimed to provide a home-like setting.
The Crandell House is of further significance as the main tangible reminder of the community of Brickburn and the area¿s former status as an important Calgary brick-making location. In 1905 Crandell purchased an established brickyard and quarry from John 'Gravity' Watson and formed the Calgary Pressed Brick and Sandstone Company. Crandell greatly expanded Watson's operation, and turned out 45,000 bricks per day from 15 kilns. The company was notable for its array of products which also included tiles, pipes and enamelled decorative brick. This readily available brick contributed to the shift in Calgary construction towards brick and away from sandstone. Some of Calgary's most significant buildings and houses including the Mewata Armouries, Lancaster Building and Stanley House were built of the company's brick. Crandall's operation employed about 100 seasonal workers who lived in company housing at the site. This thriving settlement of brickmakers, stonemasons and their families, located along the C.P.R. line, became known as Brickburn and comprised a church, post office and stores. Complementing the settlement was the Crandell House, as well as a residence for the company manager and a large carriage house, that were grouped together, adjacent to Brickburn. Known as the Crandell Pressed Brick and Sandstone Co., after 1910, it ceased operation in 1931. The plant was demolished in 1939 with all metal material being salvaged for the war effort. At about the same time the structures and housing of Brickburn were also demolished.
The Crandell House is architecturally significant as one of the finest and most substantial houses of its period in Calgary. Not surprisingly the house is distinguished by its high quality brickwork, showcasing Crandell's products. Laid in Flemish bond - unusual in Calgary - the brickwork is distinguished by its darker, over-fired headers which form a bold pattern. The British Arts and Crafts-inspired residence features half-timbered gables, flared eaves, and wide verandahs exemplifying Edwardian eclecticism. Notable interior elements of the house include its oak wainscot panelling and detailing, mottled-tile fireplaces and staircase with twisted balusters.
After Crandall's ownership the house remained in the hands of well-known Calgarians, staring with Judge Harry Patterson in 1945. From 1951-98, professional wrester and wresting promoter Stu Hart - of televised 'Stampede Wrestling' fame - and his wife Helen made it their home. As a testament to the landmark status of the house, this area of Calgary took on the name 'Patterson' with Judge Patterson's tenure of the property.
- brick construction and the brickwork of the facades laid in Flemish bond with darkened, over-fired headers (on three facades), and its sandstone detailing comprising lintels, sills and the caps and coping associated with the front verandah and front-stair walls;
- two-storey, compound, 'T-shaped' plan;
-combination gable and hipped roof with parallel front gables, a front shed-roof dormer and a rear gable-roof dormer; roof elements including the flared eaves of the gable roofs; closed eaves with wooden tongue-and-groove cladding and plain wooden bargeboards (gables)
- gable detailing including bracketed overhangs, and half timbering and rough-cast stucco cladding;
- front verandah elements including the brick piers and supports and the central steps and associated walls; the situation of the rear verandah;
-regular fenestration and the associated single and paired windows, all with one-over-one, wooden-sash windows;
-main entrance and doorway assembly comprising oak construction and panelling with a glazed door, sidelites, and bevelled-glass transom lites; the secondary doorways (two on the first storey; tow on the second storey) and their assemblies with glazed doors (oak on first storey), sidelites (second-storey rear) and transom lights (patterned and bevelled glass on the second-storey front); and
-the three tall brick chimneys (one external; two internal) with corbelled caps.
-largely original interior plan and configuration with a central stairhall surrounded by four rooms on the first storey; five bedrooms on the second storey; and a large, open, finished attic;
-open, reverse-flight, main staircase with square, panelled newels and twisted balusters terminating in an attic stairwell surrounded by balustrades;
-enclosed servant's staircase between the first and second storeys;
-woodwork and mouldings comprising oak in the primary areas and fir in the secondary areas, including entablature-type door and window casings, panelled doors, and first-storey panelled wainscot;
-doorways, including double doorways (first storey) with pocket doors and with operable transom lights and associated hardware (second storey);
-four fireplaces with mottled tile chimneypieces and hearths;
-first-storey honey-coloured oak flooring with patterned, dark, inlay edging;
-second-storey and attic flooring of softwood (pine or fir); and
-the basement vault.