MAJOR JOHN STEWART HOUSE
Major Stewart House
John Stewart House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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 verandah with turned columns and decorative trim, and dormer windows.
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 verandah. 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)
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 verandah 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.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 355)
Cross-Reference to Collection