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Heritage in Calgary

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

cpl103-15-01

Storytime at Calgary Public Library, 1915

Calgary Public Library Archives - Our Story in Pictures, 103-15-01

Well, I told you it was going to be a doozy and it really was! The last Heritage Roundtable meeting was one for the books! We had a phenomenal turnout of around 140 people to hear Professor Don Smith, Stampede archivist Aimee Benoit and author Brian Brennan talk about Calgary in 1912. Thanks to the Calgary Public Library Foundation for loaning us their space which is on the second storey of the beautiful Memorial Park library. The venue was perfect. The area had once housed a lecture hall and the Museum Room and it wasn’t hard to imagine the display cabinets in the space.

It felt like the entire Calgary heritage population turned out. I saw many familiar faces and loads of new folk as well. One of the presenters joked that if a disaster struck, Calgary would have lost much of its heritage community!

Heritage Roundtable

Just a sampling of the crowd (those lucky enough to have found seats!)

Heritage Roundtable - Calgary in 1912, January 2012

And the speakers! Oh my goodness. Calgary was an exciting place in 1912, and all three speakers really drove home the excitement and energy that people must have felt. The optimism was unbounded. Aimee had pictures of the Duke of Connaught and Princess Patricia at the first Stampede. That was a very big deal. By 1912 we were already celebrating a way of life that had mostly passed but we celebrated it in a way that acknowledged the importance of that past, while at the same time it celebrated the exuberance that would be Calgary’s future (or so we thought). The population of the city exploded, as pointed out by Professor Smith, from ….. in the 1901 census to …… in the 1911 census. The city was annexing land at an alarming pace, to keep up with the future that would surely bring the population to….by the 1920s. And visionary men, like Alexander Calhoun, our first chief librarian, would bring culture to the masses from the beautiful “educational edifice” that was the new Central Library.

CPL 103-26-01

Museum Room at Calgary Public Library, 1912

Calgary Public Library Archives - Our Story in Pictures, 103-26-01

As Calgarians, we know from experience what the next step in a scenario like this is, don’t we? The bounding optimism is always followed by a healthy dose of reality, and by 1914 all this had changed. But Calgarians then, as now, kept a little kernel of that optimism alive in their hearts. I don’t know if it is coded in our DNA or if we somehow breathe it in with the Chinook air, but we always manage to hang on ‘til the next boom – we can see it coming.

I was speaking with an author whose work and insight on Calgary’s psyche I very much admire, and he said that the real story of Calgary could be told by looking at 1913, and I understand what he means. It is what makes us what we are, how we deal with the inevitable busts that follow our booms. I’m hoping that he will deliver just such a story to us in the near future.

But for the time being we are going to celebrate that marvelous year that gave us the Memorial Park Library, the Stampede and the Grand Theatre, just to name a few. We are busy planning for Historic Calgary Week and this year's event promises to be bigger and better than ever. Keep watching this space!

University of Calgary Staff and Students in from of Calgary Public Library, 1912

Calgary Public Library Archives, 103-05-01

cpl 103-05-01

Genealogy Conferences for 2012

by Christine H

Files

I am ashamed to admit that I have only ever attended one genealogy conference and that was as a representative of the library, manning a booth. That is all going to change, though, in April. On the weekend of April 13, the Alberta Family Histories Society, in partnership with the Alberta Genealogical Society will be holding a conference, “Find your Tree in the Forest” hosted by the Red Deer Branch of AGS. Registration is now open. You can access the schedule, speakers’ bios and registration information at the website: http://rdgensoc.ab.ca/conferenceindex.html

Many of the speakers at this conference are household names in the genealogy field. Dick Eastman and Gena Philibert Ortega will be there, Thomas MacEntee will be present via webinar and many local speakers will be presenting on topics as diverse Prairie settlement and introducing the Online Parish Clerks program in the UK. It promises to be a very interesting and informative conference. The early registration deadline is March 15.

Alberta Family Histories Society member Lois Sparling will also be presenting at the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Kingston from June 1st to 3rd. The theme this year is “Borders and Bridges, 1812-2012” and Lois will be presenting 4 sessions ranging from land records to Loyalists. This annual conference is a very extensive learning experience for researchers. It is like genealogy boot-camp, but with more parties. You can view the brochure at the conference website: http://www.ogs.on.ca/conference2012/

These are just two of the conferences that are going on this year. Dave Obee, on his blog Cangenealogy, has an events listing that includes other conferences that you may be interested in. You can find him at http://www.cangenealogy.com/index.html. Events are listed at the bottom of the page and there is also a link to the upcoming events page. Global Genealogy also lists upcoming events on their site: http://globalgenealogy.com/workshops/off-site.htm And, of course, the AFHS blog lists events of interest to Calgary genealogists. Their blog can be found at : http://afhs.ab.ca/blog/category/events/

So, if attending a conference was once of your genealogical resolutions for 2012, you’ve picked a good year.

Find Your Tree in the Forest

AGS/AFHS Conference, April 13-14, 2012 Finding your tree in the Forest Logo

The Calgary Herald Building

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

Herald Building JU

Calgary Herald Building

Judith Umbach Photography Collection

I was reading Brian Brennan’s blog, (to find information that I could use in my introduction for him on Thursday when he reads from his bookLeaving Dublin) and was reminded of the fact that a demolition permit has been issued for the Calgary Herald Building. Although architecturally uninspiring, due in large part to a mid-sixties reno, the Herald Building contains so much history within its unremarkable walls, that it will be a real shame to lose it. It is, in fact, the ninth Calgary Herald Building.

The first Calgary Herald was published, as the Calgary Herald Mining and Ranche Advocate and General Advertiser (whew, image that on a masthead!) on August 31, 1883 by founders Thomas Braden and Andrew Armour. The intrepid businessmen put out the paper on a circa 1845 printing press that was shipped by train to “T. Braden, end of the track.” The first Herald Building was a tent on the banks of the Elbow River. Calgary was not the place it would become by any means. There were tents – tents that housed saloons and restaurants and not much else. Prospects for the town were poor. No one expected the little tent-cluster to become anything more than a passing memory. But at the end of his first day of touring the little encampment, Braden and Armour had 100 subscribers.

By 1884 the paper had a more permanent home in a shack near the I.G Baker store near the Elbow River on the railway line. They stayed there until 1886 when they moved to a location on Centre Street and Stephen Avenue. They then moved to a sandstone building on Stephen Avenue and then in 1895 they moved a few doors down to 134 8th Avenue SW and then, in 1903, they moved to this lovely building on 7th Avenue and Centre Street (702 Centre Street) – where they stayed until 1913.

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Central Building, once the Calgary Herald Building, 702 Centre Street

Alison Jackson Photography Collection, AJ 0233

In 1913, just as the oil boom was starting, the paper built this magnificent Gothic structure, complete with Royal Doulton gargoyles. The Herald stayed there until 1932, when the paper needed more space and the offices were let out to physicians and surgeons. Southam sold the building to Greyhound building was turned into the Greyhound depot in the 1940s. The main floor was gutted to allow the buses to drive through. In 1972 that building was demolished to make way for the TELUS/Len Werry Building. The gargoyles were salvaged.

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The Calgary Herald Building, later the Greyhound Depot, ca 1920s

Postcards from the Past, PC 144

The paper moved across the street to the 1912 Southam Building, also the possessor of some lovely gargoyles (which were removed when the building was remodeled in 1966/67, although there is speculation that the original façade is hiding behind the marble cladding.) It had originally been the Calgary Furniture store and then became the “Southam Chambers” housing government offices and lawyers. The paper stayed there until the 1980s, although some of the editorial offices remained in the building until the bitter end. The paper is now produced in the Herald Building overlooking Deerfoot Trail.

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Frieze on the Calgary Herald/Southam Building before cladding, 1966

Alison Jackson Photography Collection, AJ 94-10

Heritage Roundtable - Calgary in 1912

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

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Artists concept of Lake View Park, part of the planned community of Lake View Heights (NE Calgary, 1912?)

Postcards from the Past, PC 925

It is time for the next Heritage Roundtable and this one is going to be a doozy! Calgary, in 1912, was a city of great bustle and optimism (we all remember optimism, right?) In the ten years between 1901 and 1911 the population had grown by nearly 1000 percent (from 4,091 to 43,704). A vast swath of land surrounding the existing town (all the way to what is now McKnight Boulevard in the north, 50th Avenue in the south (and Ogden in 1911) had been annexed to accommodate the envisioned continuation of the population boom. The maps were drawn, the communities laid out (where exactly is “The Bronx” in Calgary?) The new City Hall had been open for a year, Calgary Public Library had just opened its doors, we had our first Stampede, the magnificent Lougheed Building and the Grand Theatre were opened and Calgary had its first “university”. Life was good and Calgary was in what was probably its biggest boom. 1912 can be said to be the year that made Calgary a city.

PC 579

Lougheed Building/Grand Theatre 191?

Postcards from the Past, PC 579

But don’t take my word for it. Our speakers at the Heritage Roundtable on January 25th will be experts on Calgary in 1912. Professor Don Smith, Stampede archivist Aimee Benoit and author Brian Brennan (whose history of the Calgary Public Library will be published later this year) will all give us the run down on the heady days of 1912 when the future of Calgary seemed unlimited.

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Princess Patricia at the 1912 Stampede

Postcards from the Past, PC 310

We will be meeting at the original 1912 Calgary Public Library, now the Memorial Park Branch, at 7:00 PM (doors open at 6:30). As usual there will be time for us to have a chat and refreshments. This is going to be a fascinating evening and we would like you to join us. The Memorial Park Library is at 2nd Street and 13th Avenue SW. You can register for the event at this site: www.calgarycommunities.com/events.php. Look for Heritage Roundtable in the drop down menu. You can also register by calling 403-244-4111

Storytime at the Library, 1912

Calgary Public Library Archives CPL 103-15-01

CPL Archives 103-15-01

Heritage Roundtable : New Uses for Old Places

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

PC 908

East Calgary (National Hotel in centre)

Postcards from the Past, PC 908

The Heritage Roundtable is taking place this week. The topic will be Adaptive Re-Use which is conserving older buildings by finding new uses for them. The meeting will be at the Temple B'Nai Tikvah, 900-47th Avenue SW. beginning at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30)

Adaptive re-use is recycling on a grand scale and can be a new lease on life for buildings that can no longer serve the purpose for which they were built. There have been some notable successes in Calgary. The Palace, once a movie theatre, is now a nightclub; The Lorraine, built originally as an apartment block is now an office building and the King Eddy, once a fairly notorious hotel, is poised to open as the centerpiece of the Cantos National Music Centre. There are other projects afoot and we will be hearing from some of the driving forces behind those projects. The speakers will be:

Howard Bell, a member of the renovation team that converted a church into Temple B’Nai Tikvah

John Kerr and Philip Dack on plans for the historic National Hotel and livery barn in Inglewood

Shara Rosko, Director of the John Snow House, which has been converted to a resource centre by the New Gallery.

Reid Henry, President and CEO of cSpace Projects, on the plans to turn the sandstone King Edward School into an “Arts Incubator”

This promises to be yet another deeply interesting evening. I always coming away from these events marvelling at the dedication of the heritage community and filled with optimism for historic preservation in this city. If you would like to join us, you can register at http://www.calgarycommunities.com/events.php (use the drop-down menu to find Roundtables – Heritage New Uses for Old Spaces – and fill in the form. There is no charge for attending the Roundtables)

And if you’d like to see pictures of some of Calgary’s heritage, built and otherwise, visit our Community Heritage and Family History Digital Library (under Books & More on our website)

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King Edward School (photo taken in 1967)

Alison Jackson Photograph Collection, AJ 0458

Birthday Wishes to Two of Our Branches

by Christine H - 1 Comment(s)

Calgary Public Library Archives

Exterior, Millican-Ogden Branch, 1980s

Calgary Public Library Archives

Next year is the big 100th anniversary celebration for Calgary Public Library. On January 2, 1912 we opened our doors to the public and have been going strong ever since. Our first branch was opened in the next year, October 1913, in Crescent Heights. It was a very popular branch, as all of our branches have proved to be. This month, two of our branches are celebrating anniversaries, Glenmore Square, which turns 25 and Shawnessy, which is 10.

Branches have been a very important part of the library system. Our first Head Librarian, Alexander Calhoun, believed that one central library could not serve the already widespread population of the city. Crescent Heights was a logical choice for a separate branch as it was cut off from the city by the Bow River. There were bridges spanning the Bow but the population, which was about 10,000 at the time, could not always easily reach the city centre. Remember that the magnificent Centre Street bridge which now spans the river, was not finished until 1916, the bridge that they used to get across to the city centre was the rickety “McArthur” bridge, which would eventually be washed away in a flood.

Calhoun was a great believer in bringing the books to the people. In 1914 he opened a reading room, aimed at the unemployed, in the Rex Theatre. In 1915 he sent library discards donations solicited from the public to the YMCA reading room, the Sarcee Military Camp and at Victoria Barracks. Actual branch expansion was halted until the 1940s when the Inglewood, Hillhurst and Glengarry branches were opened.

Our celebrants, Glenmore Square and Shawnessy are relative newcomers, reflecting the expansion of the city. Glenmore Square branch started its life as the Millican-Ogden branch in 1986 and Shawnessy opened its doors in 2001. Both branches are hosting celebrations in honour of their birthdays and would like to invite everyone to come and visit and celebrate with them. There are programs and storytimes (and probably cake) at both branches. Check out the schedules on our website under Programs and Events on the left side of the page.

Calgary Public Library Archives CPL 351-03-22

Shawnessy Branch Under Construction

Calgary Public Library Archives CPL 351-03-22

It's Archives Week in Alberta

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

File Cabinet

It is Archives Week in Alberta. It is not widely publicized and many people may shrug and say, “So what?” I know a lot of people think of archives as dreary, black and white kinds of places but they are, in fact, filled with exciting and valuable stuff. The theme this year, Archives in Living Colour, was chosen to draw attention to the fact that archives are more than just dusty repositories for old paper – they are living and vibrant and have relevance for all of us. We’ve all heard the adages about keeping touch with the past – well, archives fulfill that role. They are the, often overlooked, keepers of our history. Just check out their virtual exhibit . It includes images from 23 archives throughout the province including the City of Calgary, Glenbow, the Museum of the Highwood and the Whyte Museum. You will also be able to view virtual exhibits from past Archives Weeks.

In particular, family historians and genealogists should get to know their archives. In addition to keeping documents that are obviously of use to genealogical research, such as older vital event records, church records and census, local archives often collect the papers of people who lived in the area. They also collect information about the area that can include municipal records, including documents relating to land, taxes and businesses. Old newspapers can be found in archives as can employment records. Some archives collect family letters and photographs, and even genealogies and family trees. It pays to know about the archives in the area that your ancestors lived – they can be a treasure trove of valuable information. Here are a few titles to help you find and use archives in Canada:

Archives for genealogists (929.1072 BAR)

Researching Canadian Archival Centres (R929.1072 TAY)

and from our Government Documents collection on the Third Floor here at Central - Heritage institutions published by Statistics Canada (STATS CAN 87F0002)

13th Avenue Looking East

Postcards from the Past, PC 52

PC 52

Artist Within: History Under Construction

by Christine H - 0 Comment(s)

JU 060810-13

Penny Lane Mall

Judith Umbach Photography Collection, JU 060810-13

We have a number of very significant photography collections here at the Calgary Public Library. We have our Postcards from the Past, the Alison Jackson Collection and the Judith Umbach collection. Judith, who is a former Calgary Public Library Board member, a ‘Living Book’ in our collection, a heritage buff and a beloved customer, will be giving a talk about Calgary’s built heritage using pictures from her own photography collection (which lives in the CHFH Digital Library). Inspired by another great advocate of heritage preservation, Alison Jackson, Judith has been taking pictures of Calgary’s changing landscape for a number of years. Her photos of the implosion of the General Hospital and the building of The Bow, to name just two, are an important record of Calgary as it grows and will be a vital historical collection in the years to come. So, we would like you to join us for “Artist Within: History Under Construction” at the Louise Riley Library on Monday October 3 at 2:00 PM or at the Village Square Library on Friday October 7 at 1:00. The program at Louise Riley is a drop-in so you don't need to register in advance. We would like you to register for the one at Village Square, however, and you can do that by clicking here

You can also view the Judith Umbach Photography collection through the Community Heritage and Family History Digital Library, which you can find under "Books & More" on our website or by clicking here

York Hotel before facade removal

Judith Umbach Photography Collection

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It's Heritage Weekend Time Again!

by Christine Hayes - 0 Comment(s)

Heritage Weekend 007Stephen Avenue Then...and Now

It is once again time for our Heritage Weekend. We had a wonderful turnout last year and are looking forward to seeing even more folks down here on Friday September 23 and Saturday September 24. This weekend features a great line-up of people who are involved in the heritage community in Calgary and the talks and programs promise to be interesting and thought-provoking.

We are going to start the weekend off on Friday evening at 5:30 when we will host another Heritage Matters program on the main floor of the library (and after-hours, too, so you can see what happens after the customers go home!) The topic will be “The Convergence of the World in the Last Frontier” by Matthew Siddons, a recent Urban Studies grad. He will discuss the contributions of several different cultural groups to the heritage of Calgary.

On Saturday, join us in the Dutton Theatre for displays, discussions, films and more. We will be hearing about the British Commonwealth Air Training Program, Calgary’s historic resource evaluation system, medical history and how heritage groups are communicating in the age of Twitter. We are also hosting Reel History at lunch time. We will show short documentaries relating to the history and heritage of Calgary and Southern Alberta. Although this year we won’t have the clack-clack of the actual film projector, this still promises to be a diverting lunch time pursuit so bring your brown bag and join us. As part of the "festivities" we are also launching a new season of Family History Coaching. Volunteers from the Alberta Family Histories Society will be on the 4th floor in the genealogy area from 10-12 on Saturday to help you with your genealogical challenges. (This program is a drop-in so you don't need to register in advance - but we ask that you register for the other programs, please.)

The final program of the weekend will be a tribute to the great historian Hugh Dempsey, on the publication of his memoirs Always an adventure. In the heritage community Hugh Dempsey is an icon. He has been a great author, advocate and mentor and there will be many people at the Dutton Theatre who want to congratulate him on his exemplary career and his latest publication. Please drop by and offer your best wishes to this legendary historian. (This is also a drop-in program so you really can just pop on by).

Always an adventure by Hugh Dempsey

You can register online at http://calgarypubliclibrary.com/services/programs-events/register-for-programs or by calling 403-260-2620.

We hope to see you there.

Historic Calgary Week, 2011

by Christine Hayes - 3 Comment(s)

PC 712f

Eighth Avenue West

Postcards from the Past, PC 712f

It’s that time of year again. Chinook Country Historical Society’s Historic Calgary Week kicks off on Friday. This year the theme is Trails and Tales and, believe me, are there ever some great stories waiting to be told. The opening ceremonies are at the Southern Alberta Pioneers Memorial building at 3625 4 Street SW at 9:45 am and what follows is eleven days of tours, stories, presentations, songs and over all celebration of this city’s history. There is an excellent line-up this year including our presentation of “Lest we forget” in which we will talk a little about the military heritage of the city and show you some of the very neat things we have for anyone doing research about the military in Calgary or about an ancestor who served with the military. This one is proving to be quite a challenge for us to pull together because we have SO MUCH STUFF! It’s amazing what you find when you start looking. Even though I’ve been working with the collection for eons (literally, I’m a dinosaur) I always find new bits and pieces when I start one of these projects. Our program goes July 27 at 6:00 here at the Central Library.

Another presentation that I am looking forward to is the talk by Brian Brennan on the history of the Calgary Public Library. Brian has written the history of the library for our centennial celebration next year. I always love to hear Brian talk and the subject of this particular presentation is near and dear to my heart. This presentation is at the Memorial Park Library, our very first Central Library (1221 2nd Street SW) on Tuesday July 26 at 7:00. This is going to be a treat.

There is also going to be a tour of another proud centenarian, our old City Hall. Clint Robertson, one of the city’s Heritage Planners, is going to tell us about the architecture of old sandstone beauty and show us some of the changes that have been made over the years. He will also take us into the City of Calgary Archives. For any of you who are history geeks like me, you have to see what is in the archives. The staff there are the greatest and they have even cooler stuff than we do (well, mostly – our stuff is still pretty cool). City Archives are our partners, along with Glenbow, in the Heritage Triangle (see our brochure) and is a necessary visit for researchers and the history-curious.

John Gilpin will also be giving a talk on the Elbow River and the waterworks question at noon on Monday July 25 at Central United Church. I’ve heard John talk and he is like the Local History Room, just packed with fascinating bits of historical information.

Also on the agenda are two programs for the genealogically inclined offered by the Alberta Family Histories Society at their library at 712 16th Avenue NW. They will be offering a Genealogy 101 course for those interested in getting started in their family history and they will present “Here’s looking up your address” on Thursday July 28 at 7:00.

Clayton Buck, the indefatigable promoter of this great neighbourhood we are in (East Village) is giving a walking tour of the Village on Sunday July 31. The CHA is giving a tour of Mount Royal, CHI is doing a tour of West Connaught and the Beltline, Mount Royal University is talking about its centennial history, Southern Alberta Pioneers are giving talks about some of the early denizens of the Calgary area, Harry Sanders, another fascinating speaker, is talking about his passion, early hotels of Calgary...the list goes on and on. I wish I could list more but I’m running out of space. You really have to check out the Historic Calgary Week brochure. You can find it at http://www.chinookcountry.org/ Most programs are free, although donations are always gratefully accepted, and most don’t require registration (although there are a few exceptions, due to space limitations – these are noted in the brochure)

Keep an eye out, we will be attending as many of these events as we can fit in – come by and say ‘Hi!’

I.O.D.E. War Memorial in Central Park

Postcards from the Past, PC 1478

PC 1478

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