136 years ago …
In 1885, CPR received the patent to the land in which Mount Royal is situated. Due to the town’s slow growth it was 20 years until they registered plans for the subdivision resulting in the city’s boundary being extended to include the area south of 17th Avenue. The initial plan would have seen 12 Street end at Colborne. Lots were “through lots” to allow formal entrances at the front and service access from the rear (hence our back lane access). Lot prices ranged from $500 to $6000 with average price being $1500 to $3000. Some of the caveats on house lots included only one building, to be used only as a single dwelling, minimum cost to be between $2000 and $5000 and must be a minimum of 25 feet from the street,
The subdivision was unnamed but locally known as American Hill (because of the predominance of Americans). When street names such as Washington, Cleveland and Grant were proposed, two locals, William Toole (of Toole Peet real estate who was charged with selling the properties) and R.B. Bennett, took their concerns to the CPR offices in Winnipeg. In 1910 the subdivision was officially named Mount Royal and British and Canadian names were used for many of the streets despite the city deciding that Calgary had already decided it would use a numbering system. Unlike 13th Street which was Metcalfe originally or 11th Street which was Provost, 12th Street was always 12th Street West. There was no need to indicate “South Wes”t as the north side of the river was not yet developed. 1934 12 Street West first started appearing in the fireplans in 1911 as a 2 story wood house.
100 years ago …
The first owners show up in Hendersons Directory in 1913. Perhaps the lower story brick was completed in 1912? Other homes on the street were already inhabited as it looked like they built the west side of the street first.
Four families have called 1934 12 Street home. The first family was the McTeers from 1913 to 1946. The father, Archibald, worked in management at Sunlife Assurance Co. until his retirement. He and his wife Ida had 6 children with the boys being noted for their sports aptitude, particularly Archie Jr.
The house was owned for a short time in 1947 by William Clark, GM of Continental Auto Supply before being sold to Arthur E Fry, also of Continental Auto Supply in 1948 and then Fred Nelson Fry, VP of Continental Auto Supply, in 1950. Fry families lived in the home until 1963.
The third family were the Lagasses. Clement was a lawyer who lived in the house until his death in 2000 (his wife, Christine, predeceased him). Their son sold us the house in 2001.
The house is inhabited by a long term CPR employee, a former CPR employee, and their two cats. The wiring, plumbing, insulation, heating have been updated and three leaded windows that had been covered (with lathe and plaster) were opened up. Otherwise the house is much as it was since it was first built over 100 years ago. The history of 1934 12 Street West home will continue to unfold as other families call it home in the future.