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Key Number: HS 21305
Site Name: Inglewood Telephone Building
Other Names:
Site Type: 1201 - Communications: Telephone Building

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
23 1 5


Address: 1311 - 9 Avenue SE
Number: 11
Street: 13 SE
Avenue: 9 SE
Other:
Town: Calgary
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style:
Plan Shape: Rectangular Short Facade
Storeys: Storeys: 1
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Nailed Frame
Superstructure Cover:
Roof Structure: Medium Gable
Roof Cover:
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Single Detached
Wall Design and Detail: Quoins
Wall Design and Detail: Gabled Parapet
Roof Trim - Eaves: Decorated Frieze
Roof Trim Material - Eaves: Brick
Roof Trim - Verges: Corbelled Cornice
Roof Trim Material - Verges: Brick
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Exterior Side Left
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Offset Rear
Chimney Stack Material: Brick
Chimney Stack Massing: Single
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Plain Lintel
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Stone
Window - Sill Type: Plain Lug Sill
Window - Sill Material: Stone
Main Entrance - Location: Centre (Facade)
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Plain Lintel
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Stone
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Shaped Transom, Blind
Main Entrance - Number of Leaves: 1
Main Stairs - Location and Design: First or Ground Floor, Open Railing
Main Stairs - Direction: Straight Side
Main Porch - Material: Metal
Exterior: The former Inglewood A.G.T. Building is a rectangular front gable roofed one storey structure, of concrete, terracotta and wood, with a brick veneer. The building consists of an outer wall of concrete and brick masonry enclosing a concrete and terracotta block inner shell.
The gable ends extend upwards into small parapets topped by a coping of Calgary sandstone, which is also used for the sills and lintels.
Brick quoining edges the building and corbelled modillions mark the eave line. The central doorway is emphasized by a semi-circular course of bricks.
Quoins, open front porch, projecting eaves.
Annual Report, Dept. of Public Works, 1909.
p. 38: of concert, brick terra cotta and wood construction. No plaster or wood finish.
- Central part of block 6 in east Calgary facing NE on Atlantic Ave.
- Rectangular. 20'6' wide x 32'4' long.
- 1 storey, low basement.
- 6' basement.
- Basement is really an inner compartment, as the building is built up of an outer wall concrete and brick masonry enclosing a concrete and terra cotta block inner shell. There is a space of 22' between these walls on 3 sides and 3'9' on the entrance side. This double wall arrangement is best for the operation of the automatic telephone apparatus to be installed (maintains a uniform temperature).
- Roof is wood covered with metal shingles.
- Exept for roof building constructed of fireproof materials.
- Gabled ends surmounted by a Calgary sandstone coping.
Interior: N/A
Environment: In the Inglewood neighbourhood of Calgary, at 1311 - 9th Avenue S.E. On 9th Avenue SE, east of Elbow R. Bridge, approx. at 9-10th St. on S. side.
Condition: The building is in good structural repair and has experienced few alterations.
Alterations: Experienced few alterations. Shortly after construction a rear extension was built echoing the mass of the first section.

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Constructed
Addition constructed
1909/01/01
1910/01/01
Usage: Usage Date:
Telephone office
Inglewood Community
1909/01/01
1972/01/01
Owner: Owner Date:
Alberta Government Telephones
Inglewood Community Association
1909/01/01
1973/01/22
Architect: A.M. Jeffers
Builder: Alberta Government Telephones
Craftsman: N/A
History: Building Description:
The former Inglewood A.G.T. Building is a rectangular front gable roofed one storey structure, of concrete, terracotta and wood, with a brick veneer. The building consists of an outer wall of concrete and brick masonry enclosing a concrete and terracotta block inner shell. The gable ends extend upwards into small parapets topped by a coping of Calgary sandstone, which is also used for the sills and lintels. Brick quoining edges the building and corbelled modillions mark the eave line. the central doorway is emphasized by a semi-circular course of bricks. Shortly after construction a rear extension was built echoing the mass of the first section.

Site History:
The east end Calgary Telephone Sub-station was constructed in 1909, based on design by A.M. Jeffers, Provincial Architect. It began operations in July 1909 and continued until 1957. It served a number of functions, including a nursery and a watch repair shop until 1972, when it was purchased from A.G.T. by the Inglewood Community Association.

Historical Significance:
The telephone was first introduced to Alberta in 1885 and to Calgary by Colonel James Walker in 1887. Subscription to the system was slow to begin, but increased substantially as Calgary entered its boom period. In 1908 Alberta Government Telephones purchased the system from the Bell Telephone Company.

By 1909, the desire for telephone service was so great that the existing main switchboard was unable to meet the demand. It was decided to adopt an automatic exchange service. The east end sub-station, built in 1909 was originally equipped with 300 telephone lines. However, these were soon used up and in 1910 the building was enlarged to its present size, enabling it to accept up to 1,000 lines.

All subscribers in Calgary were thus equipped with an automatic telephone exchange working in conjunction with the main switch-board.

Architectural Significance:
Silverthreads Community Centre is a very simple structure, interesting primarily for its somewhat unusual double shell construction. There is a space of three feet nine inches between the two walls on the entrance side and twenty-two inches on the other sides, which it was hoped would serve to insulate the structure, maintaining a uniform temperature and thus protecting the delicate communications equipment.

Even though it was intended as a utilitarian structure the design incorporates stripped down elements of the historical detailing, such as quoining and parapets, still often seen as essential at the time.

* * *
NEW ALBERTA 'PHONE SYSTEM
- Automatic to replace manual in both Calgary and Lethbridge
- Stronger system adopted for these cities and will be installed this fall
- Well be used on all government lines eventually
( Edmonton Bulletin)
... The automatic system, which is to be installed in East Calgary, will work in conjunction with the old mutual system now in use.
* * *
FROM SLOW BEGINNING CALGARY PHONE SYSTEM HAS GROWN MANY FOLD
Its History is One of Constant Expansion When 'Phone Era Finally Set In
... Until 1909, Calgary had been served by the common battery system in which the subscriber signals the operator by lifting the receiver, causing a small lamp to glow on the switchboard. The Plan had become inadequate and replacement was necessary. The automatic type of telephone exchange was decided upon and in the fall of 1909 the first automatic exchange, the present east office, was opened. Some idea of the extraordinary growth at this time may be gathered from the fact that the East exchange had a growth of 44 per cent in 11 months.

It is interesting to observe in passing that the late William Pearce owned the first automatic telephone connection installed in his East Calgary residence.
* * *
COLONEL WALKER INTRODUCED TELEPHONE

... The mechanical end of the phone system in Calgary was located in a most unusual building on the south side of 9th Avenue E. in the 1300 block. It was assured by the manufacturers, that if kept a constant temperature, the automatic equipment would operate without adjustment of trouble for years.
So the provincial architect of the day, Jeffers, designed a 'thermos bottle' building within a building with a broad air space between the inner and outer shells, hopefully of maintain a year-round constant temperature for the equipment.

The idea was OK but the equipment was troublesome. Sticky relays plagued the circuits and, since it was supposed to operate automatically, a number of local taxi drivers used to drop in while passing to unstuck the relays rather than to have the phone company send a maintenance team all the way out to perform a trifling task.

Batting a sticky relay into submission seemed to become a routine passing job for willing hackneys down in E Calgary in the early days of the century, a sort of public service gesture.

* * *
Henderson's Directory:
1911 - Provincial Government (owner)
1915 - East Calgary Telephone Exchange
1920 - ' '
1930 - ' '
1940 - ' '
1966-72 - Kindergarten
1972 - Inglewood Community Association
1973 - Silver Threads

* * *
DRAFT PRESS RELEASE

PROVINCE DECLARES INGLEWOOD TELEPHONE BUILDING, CALGARY A REGISTERED HISTORIC RESOURCE.
The Honourable Mary J. LeMessurier, Minister of Culture has announced that the Inglewood Telephone Building, Calgary has been designated a Registered Historic Resource.

The telephone was first introduced to Alberta in 1885 and to Calgary by Colonel James Walker in 1887. Subscription to the system was slow to begin, but increased substantially as Calgary entered its boom period. In 1908 Alberta Government telephones purchased the system form the Bell telephone System. By 1909, the desire for telephone service was so great that the existing main switchboard was unable to meet the demand. It was decided to adopt an automatic exchange service, and so, the east end sub-station was constructed in 1909, equipped with 300 telephone lines.

Designated by A.M. Jeffers, Provincial Architect, the building is a rectangular front gable roofed one storey structure, of concrete, terra cotta, and wood, with a brick veneer. The building consists of an outer block inner shell. It was hoped this design would serve to insulate the delicate communications equipment. Even though it was intended as a utilitarian structure the design incorporates stripped down elements of the historical detailing, such as quoining and parapets, still often seen as essential at the time.

Because of the important role played by the Inglewood AGT building in the development of Calgary's telephone system, it has been designated a Registered Historic Resource

Internal

Status: Status Date:
Active
Active
1984/03/19
1992/01/01
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Municipal A List
Provincial Historic Resource

2009/04/02
Register: 11-150
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1989/08/04

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0733
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