744 5A Street Northwest, Calgary

Year of Construction: 1912

Built in 1912, at the end of the first major construction boom, on a parcel of land that was purchased by Authur and Marion Bennett in 1908. Marion Bennett was born in Australia and Arthur was born in England. They immigrated to Canada in 1903 and had four children. The Bennetts subdivided the parcel and this lot was sold to A. Kennedy McLean for $750 in 1912. He built the house in a few months and then sold it to Arcilda Bell Dunphy for $4000. The interest rate in 1912 was 8%. The house retained its value for ten years and by 1923, the value had dropped to only $2500.

Throughout its 100-year history, this house has had 18 owners, including the current owners, who have lived here for ten years. Some of the longer occupants were Fred and Millie Timmins. They first moved into the house in 1936 and rented until they purchased the house in 1947 for $2,000. They had one daughter. Fred worked as a clerk at Ashdown Hardware store in downtown Calgary. The Ashdown building, pictured below, is still located on Stephen Avenue at 110 8th Avenue SW. He eventually became the store manager and was working there until is death in 1954. Millie sold the house shortly after Fred’s death only to buy it back in 1964, but then sold it again in 1965.

Well known Calgary politician Bev Longstaff and her husband Bill lived in the house during the 1980s. Bev ran for Calgary Mayor in 2001, and although she was considered the front-runner, she narrowly lost to Dave Bronconnier.

This house, as you see it, has not had any structural changes in 100 years. However, the house has gone through a series of interior and exterior renovations. The original windows were only recently replaced and the house now has insulation and drywall, which replaced the old lathe and plaster. The exterior clay tiles were replaced with stucco and stonework. During the renovations, the original fir timber frame was exposed and it is in perfect condition after all this time. It will easily withstand the elements for many years to come.

This house has stood tall and strong in a vibrant community for 100 years. Many families have called this house their home over the last century. If this home could talk, the stories would be endless and the memories to be created over the next century are only just beginning!