The land this house stands on – Lot 17 – first appears in city assessment
rolls in 1912 as one of a number of lots owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Evarts. In
1914, the assessment rolls show that Lot 17 was sold to Frederick A. Quinn,
and the house appears for the first time in the 1915 assessment rolls.
This modest house has some features similar to those found in Craftsman
bungalows, such as a deep porch and roof brackets. It also has a bell-shaped
roof similar to those found on pre-fabricated homes made by the British
Columbia Mills, Timber and Trading Co., but it is not a prefab. During
recent renovations, it was discovered that the frame of this sturdy house is
According to the 1915 Henderson’s Directory, the first people to live in the
house were Charles Skene, his wife, Margaret, and their son, John. Charles
was a signalman with the CPR and a member of the North Hill Quoiting Club
(quoits is a lawn game where players toss rings at a stake).
By 1916, the tenants were James Ross, his wife Elizabeth and their daughter,
Margaret. Henderson’s Directory says James was a car repairman with the CPR.
After 1918, Fred Quinn’s address is in Lethbridge, but in 1919 he and a man
named James Simmington bought the land next door (Lot 18).
Throughout the late teens and the 1920s, Henderson’s shows a different
family living in this house almost every year: Sargent, Le Lane, Rowland,
Holmburg, Winther, Johnson, Campbell. These were the families of working
men: two were carpenters; one worked for the CPR; one worked for Ford
At some point in the mid- to late 1920s, both the house and Lot 18 were sold
to Elisabeth Gardiner Tate. (According to Henderson’s, the house was vacant
in 1926 and perhaps it was during this time that the house was being sold).
Born in Quebec, Elisabeth (known as Beth) moved to Calgary in 1911 with her
husband, Frank, who worked for the Calgary Herald. After Frank died in 1924,
Mrs. Tate opened a small general store, and she also operated a sub-post
office from 1926 until her retirement in 1945. Henderson’s gives her address
as 1221 20th Avenue N.W. and the house still stands today.
In 1930, Mrs. Tate sold the house to George Jones and his wife Marjorie
Violet Jones (nee Watts). George was a fireman and Marjorie (who was always
known as Violet) was a graduate of the General Hospital School of Nursing.
She was also a passionate gardener and the peonies and Virginia creeper she
planted continue to flourish in the garden today.
George and Violet had been married in 1929 and when they bought the house in
November 1930, they paid $2100.00. They raised three children here and their
door was always open to family and friends.
Members of the Jones family lived in the house for the next 60 years, and in
1983 their eldest daughter, Betty, built a house on Lot 18 next door.
At a mere 570 square feet, this home embodies the African proverb, “A small
house will hold a hundred friends.”