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Simmons Factory Warehouse

Calgary

Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Simmons Factory Warehouse, built in 1912, is a two-storey, brick structure adorned with historic painted signage. The property is situated on the eastern edge of downtown Calgary in the East Village neighbourhood, on the bank of the Bow River.

Heritage Value
The Simmons Factory Warehouse is an excellent and rare representative example of the pre-World War I manufacturing and industrial buildings which were once situated east of downtown. Considered modern for its time, it was constructed by Carter-Hall-Aldinger Co. Ltd. for an estimated cost of $20,000 and had a concrete foundation with brick cladding, steam heating, an electric elevator, a sprinkler system, a full basement with board floor and an adjoining boiler house. Its standard post and beam construction with brick exterior walls exemplifies industrial and warehouse construction in Calgary. The twelve-inch fir square posts, short-span beams, and mill floors provided maximum floor loading capability to support the heavy machinery and the stacks of mattresses and other bedding materials produced by the Simmons Company.

The Simmons Factory Warehouse is significant due to its historic usage as a mattress and bedding factory and warehouse and serves to recall the variety of light industry once situated in downtown Calgary. Although the Simmons Factory Warehouse was built in 1912, at the peak of Calgary’s development boom by the Montreal based Alaska Bedding Company (ABC), it is best known for its long-term association with Simmons Canada, a nationwide bedding manufacturing company, which emerged in 1919 when Alaska Bedding Company and its subsidiaries amalgamated. ABC/Simmons used the Simmons Building in Calgary for the assembly and warehousing of specialty sleep equipment such as adjustable hospital beds and nursery racks. The well-known Beauty Rest line of mattresses, as well as pillows, regular mattresses and chesterfield beds were also assembled here. During World War II, it was used exclusively to provide bedding for the military. Simmons occupied the building until 1966 when, due to the low elevation of the site in relation to the Bow River, flooding in the basement necessitated moving to a new location.


Character-Defining Elements
The exterior character-defining elements of the Simmons Factory Warehouse include such features as its:
- two-storey, regular, rectangular form with flat roof, and a one-storey, East façade boiler room addition;
- solid-brick and heavy-timber construction with an exposed, board-formed, concrete foundation and lintels;
- red-brick façade brickwork laid in common bond articulated with a corbelled cornice, belt course and parapet;
- fenestration with single- and two-part, wooden-sash, nine-pane windows with triple-pane hopper transom lights;
- historic hand-painted ghost signage for the Simmons company on all facades;
- open, shed-roofed loading dock with heavy-timber supports sheltering associated loading doors and freight elevator access;
- double-width entrance doorways containing wooden paneled doors and transom lights and loading doorways with steel-clad double doors;
- tall, brick chimney.

The interior character-defining elements of the Simmons Factory Warehouse include such features as its:
- open-character floor space;
- exposed structural elements including brick walls, and heavy-timber beams, supports and mill floors;
- enclosed wooden staircase with an exposed, raw finish with simple, squared balusters and newels;
- freight elevator with wood-slat car;
- ceiling chutes from attic;
- first-floor vault with steel door.


Location



Street Address: 618 Confluence Way SE
Community: Calgary
Boundaries: PLAN 0914003 BLOCK 125 LOT 3 EXCEPTING THEREOUT ALL MINES AND MINERALS
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
5
1
24
15
11

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
0914003
125
3


Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.04772575530 -114.04949060700 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2009/12/15

Historical Information

Built: 1912/01/01
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Warehouse
Current Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Office or Office Building
Architect:
Builder:
Context:

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0274
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link:
Data Source: City of Calgary, Heritage Planning, File No. 03-126
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