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225 - 13 Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2R, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2004/05/05

Haultain School, formerly South Ward School, Calgary (circa 1913); Glenbow Archives, NA-613-1
North and east elevations
Haultain School Provincial Historic Resource, Calgary (May 2000); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2000
North elevation
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Other Name(s)

South Ward School

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/03/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Haultain School is a late nineteenth century, one and one half-storey building situated on 30 lots comprising roughly 0.98 hectares of land in Calgary's Beltline community. The school embodies the Richardsonian Romanesque style and features a rough-faced sandstone exterior with sandstone lintels, sills, and arches, a medium-pitched hip roof with pronounced overhangs, and a sandstone entabliture above the front entrance inscribed with "HAULTAIN SCHOOL 1892 1922".

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Haultain School lies in its unique, Richardsonian Romanesque architecture and its association with the establishment of educational institutions in Calgary.

Construction on the Haultain School began in 1893, ten years after the Canadian Pacific Railway line had reached Calgary. In the decade following the arrival of the railway, the population of Calgary had grown substantially and the need for new schools became increasingly pressing. Haultain School (originally the South Ward School) was completed in 1894. Students at the new school were an eclectic mix, including the children of railway workers, new immigrants, and some of Calgary's wealthier citizens. During the first ten years that it operated, the school's academic curriculum was complemented by a cadet program and industrial and manual training for boys. With continued population growth, more classroom space was deemed necessary. In 1907, a new ten-room school was built on the site of the South Ward School. Three years later, both schools' names were changed to commemorate the memory of Sir Frederick Haultain, the President of the Executive Council (Premier) of the North-West Territories Legislative Assembly and a prominent voice for western Canadian concerns. Following the construction of the new school, the original ward school (now known as "the Annex") was used as a workshop, office space, classroom space, gymnasium, and auditorium. The school was eventually closed in 1962.

Haultain School is a remarkable architectural statement - an early and small-scale adaptation of the Richardson Romanesque style. This style, made popular in the United States in the late nineteenth century, was typically employed on large-scale civic and religious buildings. The appearance of this style in western Canada in 1894 - only four years after its embodiment in Toronto's City Hall - is surprising, as is its expression in a building of such modest scale. The Richardson Romanesque style derives from, but also expands, the Romanesque Revival architectural vision that was commonly used for western Canadian schools of this period. Elements of the Richardson Romanesque style include the rock-faced sandstone exterior and contrasting elements, the round arched windows, and the horizontal stringcourse at the base of the building. Combined, these features create a sense of weightiness and solidity that is reinforced by the low-pitched roof with wide eave overhangs that imparts the building with a robust horizontality. Calgary's first sandstone school, first school with electricity and running water, and first school embodying Richardson Romanesque architecture, the building was a pioneering construction in the late nineteenth century.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 907)

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Haultain School include such features as:
- mass, form, and style;
- hand-hewn rough-faced sandstone exterior;
- sandstone lintels, arches, and sills;
- horizontal stringcourse at base of building;
- decorative sandstone elements;
- wood-shingled hip roof topped by wooden bell tower with ventilation grills;
- carved wooden decorations on roof ridges and dormers;
- wide eave overhangs;
- round arches;
- sandstone entabliture inscribed with "HAULTAIN SCHOOL 1892 1922";
- deeply recessed window openings;
- fenestration pattern and style, including straight-topped windows with multi-paned divisions, round arch windows, and gable end windows;
- original millwork, floors, doors, frames, and blackboard;
- wood truss system.




Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type



Composite School

Architect / Designer

J.R. Wilson of Calgary architectural firm Child and Wilson


Thomas Underwood. Interior finishing completed by William Wood and I.H. Church.

Additional Information

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. 907)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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