Calgary

Watering hole, mattress factory to receive historic status

The St. Louis Hotel, a favourite watering hole of Ralph Klein, and two other East Village landmarks are on the list of historic buildings now protected under Calgary's new heritage strategy.

The St. Louis Hotel, one of Ralph Klein's favourite watering holes, and two other East Village landmarks are on the list of historic buildings now protected under Calgary's new heritage strategy.

Officials released the plan Wednesday that will double the number of sites the city designates as historically significant within the next year.

There are currently only 15 buildings with that municipal historic status in the city, even though some sites such as the Lougheed House and several blocks of Stephen Avenue have provincial or federal designations.

"It means that they can't be demolished and they'll be preserved in theory in perpetuity so that future generations of Calgarians can benefit from the fact that these buildings have been kept," said Darryl Cariou, the city's senior heritage planner.

Three East Village landmarks are included on the list:

  • St. Louis Hotel, built in 1914 by Col. James Walker, one of Calgary's early settlers, and boarded up in 2006. Former mayor and premier Ralph Klein said he decided to launch his political career in the hotel bar.
  • The Hillier Block, where the basement was once home to the Alberta Socialist Party.
  • The Simmons mattress factory built in 1912.

"I think we've seen a major shift in terms of historic preservation in Calgary and I think it comes from the top," said Cariou. "I think we see a lot of appreciation from city council, from the public, from developers and owners."

There are no plans yet for how the protected properties will be developed or used.

Gerry Meek, chair of the Calgary Heritage Authority, praised the new direction for the city, and said the next step will be looking at the resources given to preserve the buildings.

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