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Nellie McClung House

Calgary

Other Names:
McClung Residence
Nellie McClung Residence

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Nellie McClung House, built in 1907, is a Tudor Revival style house with an Arts and Crafts style interior. Located in a residential section of Calgary’s Beltline neighbourhood, the house is dominated by steeply pitched roofs, half-timbered gables and several verandas and porches.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Nellie McClung House lies in its association with Nellie McClung, the noted social activist, politician and writer who lived here during her most active and influential period.

Prior to moving the Alberta, Nellie McClung played a prominent role in the temperance and women’s suffrage movements in Manitoba. She moved to Edmonton in the mid-1910s and continued her career as a public intellectual and reformer. She established herself as an orator and author on social issues, notably alcohol and prohibition, poverty and women’s rights. Her activism in these areas and her social prominence led to her being elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta as a Liberal in 1921. Following a move to Calgary and an unsuccessful bid for re-election in that city, she dedicated herself to her prolific writing career, penning several popular novels and numerous essays and newspaper articles from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. The influence of her writings, speeches and organizational abilities helped to shape public opinion and bring about legislation and policies on numerous social issues.

In 1927, McClung joined with Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Irene Parlby, and Louise McKinney - Alberta's "Famous Five" - to press for the right of women to be recognized as persons eligible for nomination to the Canadian Senate. The five women ultimately appealed the suit, which became known as The Persons Case to the highest court of the day, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain, which, in a landmark decision for women’s rights in Canada, found in their favour in 1929, ruling that women are legally persons under the British North America Act.

Nellie McClung moved to Victoria in the mid-1930s, where she continued her active public life, being appointed the first woman on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Board of Governors in 1936 and serving as Canada's sole woman delegate to the League of Nations in 1938. Nellie McClung died in 1951.

The achievements of Nellie McClung and the other members of the Famous Five are landmark moments in the evolution of civil rights and social justice in Canada. However, many of her beliefs and opinions were rooted in Social Gospel ideology and theories of racial, religious and class superiority; they were largely anti-immigration and assumed that poverty was caused by people’s individual moral weakness. Additionally, she was a vocal supporter of eugenics and the institutionalization and forced sterilization of people deemed as being mentally deficient. These devastating programs were overly enforced upon Indigenous women and visible minority populations. Nellie McClung helped to bring about real progress on women’s rights, but many of her other beliefs are now recognized as being wrong and based on inappropriate ideologies that brought real and significant harm to many people.

Source: Alberta Culture and Status of Women, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: DES 0250)


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of Nellie McClung House include such features as its:
- mass, form, and style;
- steeply sloped cross-gable roof featuring two brick chimneys;
- half-timbering in-filled with stucco on second storey facade;
- cedar shingle siding on first storey;
- fenestration pattern and style;
- dormer windows and bay window on east wall;
- open verandah on east elevation wrapping around to a portion of the south elevation;
- tongue-and-groove verandah flooring and ceiling;
- original French doors on north side of home and leading onto verandah;
- original main floor interior features, including oak hardwood floors, fir panelling, window and door frames, dados, baseboards, wood mantles on fireplaces and some fixtures;
- original second floor interior features, including fir hardwood floors, fir panelling, window and door frames, dados, baseboards, and some fixtures;
- staircase to the second floor;
- sun-room in southwest corner with horizontal pipe heating under bay window and ivy planted by Nellie McClung; and
- spruce trees and flower beds near house, especially near sun room.


Location



Street Address: 803 - 15 Avenue SW
Community: Calgary
Boundaries: Lots 17 to 20, Block 110, Plan A1
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
5
1
24
16
2 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
SA1
SA1
SA1
SA1
110
110
110
110
20
19
18
17





Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.038771 -114.079649 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1978/03/15

Historical Information

Built: 1900 to 1900
Significant Date(s)
Theme(s) Governing Canada : Politics and Political Processes
Governing Canada : Security and Law
Historic Function(s): Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s):
Architect:
Builder:
Context: HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

This house is of importance to the Province primarily due to its former association with Nellie McClung. Nellie McClung, a suffragette, was instrumental in gaining the vote for women in Manitoba. The family moved to Edmonton in 1914, where Nellie served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly from 1921 to 1926. In this Calgary home she wrote approximately six of her well-known 16 books. Included among her many laurels are her membership as the only women on the Dominion War Council and her representation as Canada's only female delegate at the League of Nations, both in 1918. In 1929, Nellie was one of the 'Famous Five' who brought about the legal recognition by the British Privy Council of woman as persons. In 1936 she was appointed as the first women on the CBC Board of Governors.

This building is a good example of a Tudor Revival house of the early 1990s.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0560
Designation File: DES 0250
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 19192
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. 250)
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