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Major John Stewart House


Other Names:
John Stewart House
Major Stewart House
Stewart House
Stewart Residence

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Major John Stewart House is a late nineteenth century, one and one-half storey building situated on three lots in Calgary's Inglewood neighbourhood. Situated on the edge of the Bow River, the building embodies Gothic Cottage style architectural influences and features a gable-on-hip roof, carved ridge trim, a wrap-around veranda with turned columns and decorative trim, and dormer windows.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Major John Stewart House lies in its association with Major John Stewart, a prominent figure in the military and civic affairs of Alberta, and in its status as one of the earliest and most architecturally unique residences still extant in the province.

Born into a prominent Ottawa family in 1854, John Stewart established himself in his youth as an able and ambitious military man. In addition to serving as Commander of the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, he also organized escort troops for the Governor General, Prime Minister, and Princess Louise during the 1870s. In 1881, Stewart came west and entered into a partnership with John Heron to form the Stewart Ranche Company - one of the first ranching enterprises in Pincher Creek. Continuing further north, Stewart arrived in Calgary and purchased Cecil Denny's estate in the cluster of early settlement east of the Elbow River. Although the Canadian Pacific Railway ultimately decided to build its station on the west side of the river - moving the focus of settlement along with it - Stewart nonetheless maintained his property and in 1885 completed construction on his impressive home. Over the course of his time in western Canada, he participated in several significant organizations: he was a member of an early Calgary civic committee dedicated to establishing the community's infrastructure, served as a proprietor of the Royal Mail and Macleod and Lethbridge stage lines, and was instrumental in the creation of the coal mines at Anthracite and Canmore. Stewart is perhaps best known in Alberta for founding the Rocky Mountain Rangers, a "Cowboy Calvary" of volunteer militia created in response to the 1885 North-West Rebellion.

Major John Stewart House is one of the earliest homes still extant in Alberta and features a striking and unusual architectural style. Designed by Winnipeg architect Robert Moberly, the residence manifests the influence of the Gothic Cottage architectural style - a popular style in Stewart's native Ontario. This style is evident in the steeply-sloped and complex roofline, the use of elaborate trims and finials, the prominent dormers on the front facade, and the wrap-around veranda. With its delicate decorative elements and complex massing, the home remains one of the most striking buildings in Calgary's historic Inglewood district.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 355)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Major John Stewart House include such features as:
- mass, form, scale, and style;
- cedar-shingled gable-on-hip roof featuring cross gables, finials, cresting, decorative gable end shingles, and corbelled chimney;
- cedar-shingled dormers with cresting, finials, and decorative gable end shingles;
- milled fir drop siding;
- wrap-around veranda covered by cedar-shingled roof and featuring spindlework, mouldings, and columns;
- bay window on the west elevation;
- fenestration pattern and style, including circular window on west elevation gable end and multi-paned windows;
- original interior elements, including window trim and tongue-and-groove panelling in kitchen;
- landscape elements, including original fir trees and flower bed around verandah.


Street Address: 26 New Street SE
Community: Calgary
Boundaries: Lot 38, Block 17, Plan 9212245
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
8 (ptn.)

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

Unit 3

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.041713 -114.028764 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1977/11/29

Historical Information

Built: 1885 to 1885
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Governing Canada : Military and Defence
Historic Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s):
Architect: Robert Moberly

Completed in 1885, the Stewart House is one of Calgary's earliest residences, located in the original townsite to the east of the Elbow River. It is a simple two-storey frame house showing Gothic influences, and features dormer windows, carved trim and a wrap-around verandah. It was associated with Major John Stewart who was responsible for the formation of the Rocky Mountain Rangers in the Riel Rebellion of 1885. Stewart was also one of the first ranchers in the Pincher Creek area and later was important in opening the Anthracite and Canmore Mines. Beside his ranching affairs, Major Stewart operated a Royal Mail Stage Line between Calgary and Fort Macleod. In 1884, the Calgary Herald reported that the transportation services were much improved since Captain Stewart's new Concord coaches arrived and were in service. After Stewart's death in 1883, Pat Burns purchased it for use by his company's manager.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0544
Designation File: DES 0355
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 24656
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 355)
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