931 1st Avenue Northwest, Calgary

Year of Construction: 1910
931 1st Avenue Northwest, Calgary

Photo courtesy of homeowner.

Built: 1910 Bedrooms: 2
Foundation: Concrete Bathrooms: 1
Frame: Wood Storeys: 1 & 1/2
Basement: Dugout Square feet: 943

In 1910, the year our house was built…
…oil was discovered in Alberta for the first time,
…there were about 40,000 people in Calgary,
…the mayor was Rueben Jamieson,
…Calgarians had their choice of 8 newspapers,
…Sunnyside was a working-class neighbourhood,
…our lot was valued at $125.00, and our house
at $600.00, and
the Calgary Public Library, the first Calgary Stampede, and local water & sewer service were still about 2 years away.

Our tiny single-car detached garage was built in 1912.

Early owners of our house:
1910: William McLeod, realtor (Christner & McLeod)
1911: Jesse Fike (rented to John McCormack,
1912: Walter Ridley, realtor
1913-1985: Arthur & May King

The King family owned our house for 72 years!
Arthur & May bought the house in 1913.
After Arthur’s death in 1959, their only child, Irene,
lived in the house for another 25 years, until 1985.

Arthur Graham King and May Davis King were originally from England, but both immigrated to Toronto, where they met and married. Arthur was born in Westerham, Kent, and came to Toronto in 1903, where he took a job as a motorman with the Toronto municipal railway. May was born in Manchester, and came to Toronto in 1908. They
married, and then moved to Calgary in 1910. Arthur took a job as motorman with the Calgary Municipal Railway, which ran electric streetcars throughout much of the city (including into Sunnyside). He stayed with the railway for
the rest of his career, rising through the ranks until in 1946 he was made Assistant Superintendent of the company, which by then was called Calgary Transit. He retired in 1949.

May died in 1956 and Arthur died in 1959, both at the old Calgary General Hospital in Bridgeland. They are buried side by side in Queen’s Park Cemetery in Calgary.

May & Arthur’s daughter, Irene King, was a career woman. She worked as a stenographer for Lott & Co. in the 1930’s, became a bookkeeping machine operator for the Oil and Gas Conservation Board in the 1960’s, and was a clerk at William Aberhart School starting in 1970. She was an animal lover and a dedicated supporter of the Calgary Humane Society. Irene lived in our house until 1985.
She died in 2009.

We bought the house in the summer of 2005. The previous owner was Geoff Sowrey. We love the neighbourhood, the sunny front yard & shady back yard, & the big cast-iron clawfoot bathtub. Since we’ve owned the house, we’ve done a little work on the kitchen and some painting, but mostly we’ve tried to keep the house as original as possible. We have done a lot of work on the yard, replacing decks and fences and replacing grass with perennials. The yard is now a Certified Backyard Habitat with the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and is maintained entirely without the use of pesticides and power tools.