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RUTLEDGE HANGAR

Calgary

Other Names:
Rutledge Hangar (Municipal Airport No. 1)

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Rutledge Hangar is a two-storey building situated on roughly 1.2 hectares of land in Calgary's Renfrew neighbourhood. Built in 1929, the hangar's exterior features a reinforced concrete foundation, concrete thrust buttresses, and an arched roof. Structures on the east and west ends of the building are more recent additions.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Rutledge Hangar lies in its representation of early twentieth century construction techniques for airplane hangars. Secondary value lies in its association with the establishment of commercial aviation in Calgary.

Calgary's Rutledge Hangar embodies a common construction method for early twentieth century airport hangars in Canada. The building is defined by its 80 foot span "Lamella Arch" composed of dimensioned Douglas fir planks arranged in a pattern of diamond-shaped frames. This framing system rests upon a reinforced concrete foundation and is laterally strengthened by exterior concrete buttresses. The simplicity of the design and the basic building materials made construction relatively easy: erecting the hangar took only three weeks and was completed without any sophisticated machinery. Though lightweight, the "Lamella Arch" was provided with robust stability through the reinforcing concrete elements. The current appearance of the hangar includes several more recent additions, including the two structures located at the east and west ends of the original building. The Rutledge Hangar is the last known extant example of this method of hangar construction in Alberta.

Built in 1929, the Rutledge Hangar is the only remaining building from Calgary's first publicly operated airport, commonly known as the Stanley Jones Airport. The airfield was developed by the city in the late 1920s as growing prosperity stimulated a demand for commercial air transportation. The site would be distinguished by its runway lights to facilitate twilight landings - a first in Canada. Renfrew Air Service erected the Rutledge Hangar at the airfield in 1929, although public apprehensions about air travel and the onset of the Depression prompted the airline to discontinue operations only two years later. In subsequent years, the hangar served a variety of purposes. It was employed as part of a short-lived airmail service for the Prairies in the early 1930s and functioned temporarily as a training site for Royal Canadian Air Force flyers and technicians during World War Two. After the war, the hangar ceased to be used as an aviation facility.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1959)


Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Rutledge Hangar include such features as:
- location;
- mass, form, and style of original structure;
- reinforced concrete foundation and concrete thrust buttresses;
- exposed dimensioned Douglas fir "Lamella Arch" framing system and roof decking;
- skylights roof pattern and rough openings;
- adjacent open space to the east of the hangar.


Location



Street Address: 731 - 13 Avenue NE
Community: Calgary
Boundaries: Plan 4221 Gl, Block 20
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
5
1
24
23
13 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
4221 GL
20
N/A


Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.063719 -114.047101 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: 2003/05/21

Historical Information

Built: 1929 To 1929
Significant Date(s) 1929 To 1945
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Communications and Transportation
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Transport - Air : Air Transport Facility
Current Function(s): Community : Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club
Architect:
Builder:
Context: HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Among the veterans returning to Alberta from World War One were certain flyers, whose skills demonstrated abroad were soon to be applied at home. As the commercial use of airplanes was more applicable in the North, it was natural that Edmonton would soon outdistance Calgary in the number of planes and the extent of flying. Calgary did, however, produce several noted flyers, such as Freddie McCall, who performed barnstorming acts and undertook occasional commercial flights. Makeshift airports were created at several locations on the city's outskirts.

With the prosperity of the late 1920s, the demand for commercial aviation was such that the City of Calgary undertook to establish a regular airport in the northeast part of the City, near present day Renfrew Park. Here, in 1928, open fields were cleared for dirt runways, and hangars were constructed. As the facility was intended strictly for private commercial use, the City itself did not undertake to construct any buildings, but instead leased space on which private companies could build their own hangars. Of these, the most substantial would be the one for Rutledge Air Service, which was built in three weeks during October and November 1929. The large hangar came to serve not only Rutledge, but also other carriers to whom Rutledge sub-leased space.

Rutledge maintained its air service only until November 1931, when the Depression forced it to cease operation. During these years, the airfield and hangar were used to serve a short-lived airmail service, which then operated on the prairies, but ceased in 1932. During this time, the airport became the first in Canada to feature lighting on its runways for twilight flying. With the closure of Rutledge, the hangar was taken over by the Edmonton Credit Corporation, which leased it to the City of Calgary. It was then renamed the City Hangar. As with Rutledge, space was leased within the facility to various air companies.

When Trans-Canada Airlines' regular passenger and mail service was begun during the late 1930s, it was evident that larger runways were needed than those on the field at Renfrew, which was now enclosed by residential suburbs. McCall Field was thus opened for service in 1939. The old airport was then rented by the Calgary Aero Club, which also purchased the City Hangar from the Edmonton Credit Corporation. In 1940, the facility was used briefly to train RCAF flyers, after which the federal government used it to train airplane mechanics and other tradesmen. In 1945, Ottawa established a Canadian Vocational Institute in Calgary, which operated out of the hangar and adjacent buildings. This was taken over by the province in 1949. With the post-war boom, much of the airfield was given over to new housing development. In 1962, the hangar was transferred to the City, and the outlying buildings demolished. In 1962, the building was leased to the Renfrew Boys' Club, and was renovated to serve their purpose. In later years, it came to serve the Renfrew Sixty Plus Club for senior citizens.


HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The historical significance of the Rutledge Hangar lies in its association with the development of commercial aviation in Calgary during the late 1920s, and its more limited service as an air hangar during the 1930s. Its use for training during World War I was important as well.

(Historical Interest Summary)

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0833
Designation File: Des. 1959
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 80543
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. 1959)
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