COLONEL JAMES WALKER HOUSE
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary
Colonel Walker House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Colonel James Walker House is an early twentieth century, two-storey building constructed of red bricks and featuring sandstone trim, a low hipped roof and a wide verandah on the south and west sides. It is located on 0.98 hectares of land backing onto a lagoon on the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary in the Inglewood district of Calgary. The original brick carriage house adjacent to the building is also included in the designation.
The heritage value of the Colonel James Walker House lies chiefly in that it served as the primary residence of Colonel James Walker for over 25 years. It is further significant as the house from which the surrounding community of Inglewood derived its name, as well as for its association with the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. Finally, the house is valued as a good example of the eclectic residential architecture favoured by wealthy Albertans in the early twentieth century.
In 1910 the current brick house was built by Colonel James Walker, one of the most influential civic figures during Calgary's early years. Originally distinguishing himself as an officer of the first North West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.) detachment to cross the plains, he gained the trust of both settlers and aboriginal leaders as Indian Agent and negotiator. After 1881, when he resigned from active duty and went into ranching, sawmilling, and real estate, he became known as one of the region's premier businessman, earning a reputation for fairness and integrity. The list of his achievements is impressive. In 1883, Colonel Walker homesteaded the land where the house was later built. He is credited with laying Calgary's first sidewalk, stringing the first telephone line and providing the city with its first commercial and residential natural gas illumination supplied from a well located on this property. He founded the Calgary Agricultural Society (forerunner of the Calgary Stampede), served as first school trustee, the first justice of the peace and the first Boy Scout leader. Given the scope and breadth of his accomplishments before he died in 1936, it came as little surprise that Walker was named as Calgary's Citizen of the Century in 1975.
"Inglewood" was Walker's name for his home, and the moniker was soon applied by the public to the surrounding community. While the Inglewood district had originally been established in 1875, following the construction of Fort Calgary, it was not until the construction of Colonel Walker's home that an enduring neighbourhood name was adopted by the people. The home has remained a proud local landmark since that time. In 1929 the Walker Estate and an adjoining parcel of land were set aside by the Federal Government as a sanctuary for migratory birds, most likely the first such sanctuary in the province. Open to the public since that time, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary has been a home to over 270 species of migratory birds, and the Colonel James Walker House has served as a centre for the educational and administrative activities of the Sanctuary.
The Colonel James Walker House is typical of the eclectic architecture popular amongst wealthy Albertans in the early twentieth century. Italianate influence is apparent in the verandah, corner towner, and decoration. Perhaps most notable is the use and combination of local brick with sandstone elements.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 224)
Character-defining elements of the Colonel James Walker House include such features as:
- form, size, and cube-like massing;
- situation in a park-like settling adjacent to a lagoon;
- cedar shingle roof;
- running bond brick pattern combined with local sandstone elements;
- vertically stacked stretcher bricks over the basement windows;
- low hipped roof and wide verandah on the south and west sides;
- square posts supporting the southwest wrap-around verandah topped with scrollwork decoration on the cornice brackets;
- cornice brackets under the eaves;
- square entry vestibule with arched doorway setting, accentuated with sandstone elements in the voussoirs and larger sandstone keystones;
- balcony with balustrade atop entry vestibule;
- two storey tower on the southwest corner;
- rear entry porch with pediment;
- original fir doors, door casings (with dentil millwork in the moulding of the main floor rooms), brass key plates and hexagonal door knobs;
- some original light fixtures in upstairs suite;
- brick fireplace;
-main floor and second floor plan layout.
Character defining elements of the carriage house include:
- form, style, and massing;
- hip roof with upper gable ridge details;
- masonry walls and stone lintels and sills;
- window and door openings;
- cedar shingle roof;
- fenestration pattern of windows.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
1910/01/01 to 1936/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Aquarium, Planetarium or Zoo
- 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. 224)
Cross-Reference to Collection