Description of Historic Place
The Senator Lougheed Residence is a large, two and one-half storey building situated on eight and one-half lots in Calgary's Beltline District. Embodying High Victorian stylistic features, the building features a rough-faced sandstone exterior, asymmetrical massing, complex roofline, and two towers.
The heritage value of the Senator Lougheed Residence lies in its association with Senator Sir James Lougheed and its representation of an upper-class sandstone residence designed in a High Victorian eclectic style.
In 1882, the young Toronto lawyer James Lougheed decided to travel to western Canada with his brother, Sam, to seek his fortune. After stops in Winnipeg and Medicine Hat, James arrived in Fort Calgary in 1883. One year later, Lougheed married Isabelle (Belle) Clarke Hardistry, a well-educated young lady with familial connections to such western luminaries as Richard Charles Hardistry, the wealthiest man in the North-West Territories, and Donald Alexander Smith - also known as Lord Strathcona - a man of enormous wealth and influence in the Dominion. Lougheed quickly established himself as a powerful figure in his adopted society, becoming one of the first and most successful lawyers in Calgary, a land agent for both the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) and the Hudson's Bay Company (H.B.C.), a real-estate developer, and a founding member of both the Ranchmen's Club and the Law Society of Alberta. He also gained a national reputation as a politician. Appointed to the Senate in 1889, Lougheed was elevated to Conservative leader in the Upper House in 1906, a position he maintained until his death in 1925. Between 1911 and 1921, with the Conservative party in power, he held several cabinet positions, including Minister without Portfolio from 1911 until 1918, Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment (Veterans' Affairs) from 1918 until 1920, and Minister of the Interior from 1920 until 1921. During his time in federal politics, Lougheed was known as an energetic and articulate voice for western causes. His advocacy on behalf of creating the Province of Alberta is particularly notable. Lougheed's achievements received royal recognition in 1917, when he was knighted by King George V; he is the only Albertan to be so honoured.
In 1891, the Lougheeds constructed their majestic residence in a sweep of open prairie southwest of the developing downtown core of Calgary. The new home - christened with the regal name "Beaulieu" or "Beautiful Place" - was a powerful symbol of the Lougheed's growing prestige and influence. Designed by Ottawa architect James C. Bowes, the home embodied High Victorian eclectic aesthetics. The strong influence of the Queen Anne Revival style is evident in the building's locally-quarried, rough-faced sandstone exterior, asymmetrical massing, irregular roofline, and corner towers. The round arch windows and rough-faced sandstone also suggest the influence of Romanesque Revival ideas, while the steep roof and conical towers evoke the aesthetic ideas of French Chateau architecture. The residence was outfitted with a host of rare and modern conveniences, including electric lighting, central heating, electric bells to communicate with servants, and hot and cold running water. The home's association with the Lougheeds accomplishments, community involvement, and illustrious pedigree, along with its large scale, lavish accoutrements, and elegant interior -featuring Spanish mahogany, Italian marble, and stained glass windows - made it a centre for upper class social life in Calgary. The Lougheeds also entertained royal guests here, including the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and their daughter, Princess Patricia, as well as the Duke of Windsor (when he was Prince of Wales). Bealieu remains one of the finest and last remaining sandstone residences in Alberta.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 321)
The character-defining elements of the Senator Lougheed Residence include such features as:
- location in Calgary's Beltline district;
- asymmetrical massing, form, scale, and style;
- rough-faced sandstone exterior with smooth sandstone stringcourses;
- irregular roofline, featuring a hipped roof, dormers, tall sandstone chimneys and towers;
- square tower with a sandstone volute topped by a steeply hipped roof with splayed eaves;
- octagonal tower crowned by an eight-sided, pyramidal roof;
- Ionic columns on the porch;
- fenestration pattern and style, including round-arch and square-headed windows, dormer windows, and stained glass windows featuring hand-painted images of Alberta's flora and fauna;
- rough and smooth-faced sandstone lintels and sills;
- cornices and heavy modillions;
- form and stylistic elements (including columns) of hipped-roof and shed dormers;
- remaining extant arrangement of original floor plan;
- original interior elements, including wallpaper, built-in shelving, wainscoting, false beams, columns, mouldings, staircases (including balustrades and newel posts), fireplaces and chimney-pieces, electric bells, radiators, fixtures, fittings, trims, dentils, baseboards, flooring, and decorative wall elements;
- carved oak panelling and panelled ceiling in the study, ornate plaster ceiling including decorative cherubs in the drawing room and doors with Lougheed's initials etched into them;
- original materials, including Spanish mahogany and Italian marble;
- plantings immediately around the house.
The following missing elements have been accurately replaced since the building was designated:
- metal-shingled roof;
- iron finials,
- balustrade balcony on second floor;
- large domed skylight in the dining room;
- wrought iron gates and fence;
- formal garden, walkways and railings to the east of the residence.