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February 25, 2019: Field trip to Lougheed House, with Kirstin Evenden     Lougheed House Website

  • Drawing Room at Lougheed House

Gerry Meek introduced our hostess and speaker, Kirstin Evenden, the executive director of Lougheed House. Gerry is chair of the Conservation Society and has known Kirstin for a long time. She has a long history within the heritage conservation circles in Calgary, has worked at the Glenbow Museum and has been at the Lougheed House for the past five years.

Kirstin enthusiastically welcomed us to this historic site, which is recognised as such by both the provincial and federal governments. The house was built by Senator James Alexander Lougheed and his wife, Lady Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, in 1891. It was subsequently enlarged in 1907. This couple were the grandparents of future Alberta Premier, Peter Lougheed. The Lougheeds occupied the home, which they called Beaulieu, until 1936.

Lady Isabella is a descendent of the wealthy Hardisty family with a Métis Heritage.

Over the years they lived there, the Lougheeds frequently received important state visitors. Their guests included Princess Patricia (of the PPCLI), The Prince of Wales (Edward), Governor General Lord and Lady Byng, Prince Erik of Denmark, and the Right Honourable Stanley Baldwin.

Following the depression of 1929, the Lougheeds' fortunes changed and the city took title of the mansion in 1934. The Lougheeds continued to live there until Lady Isabella’s death in 1936. In the following year, the house became a community service centre and home to the Women’s Army Corps and, subsequently, the Canadian Red Cross.

In 1977, the province declared the home a Provincial Historic Resource and the following year, the Red Cross vacated the property. A plan by the Historical Society of Alberta was approved by the province and a provincial advisory board was appointed in 1988. In 1992, the home was designated a National Historic Site and the Lougheed House Conservation Society was created in 1995.

With much planning, dedication and hard work, the house and gardens have been recreated to their original splendour. Lougheed House was formally reopened to the public in 2005.

Today, the gardens are a hive of social and community pride and activity, welcoming 80,000 visitors each year. Each year, 1500 students participate in programmes there, and veterans are celebrated in the gardens at the annual Festival Flag Raising. Many programmes and events are also held at the house under the History Happenings programme and Family Fun and Learning and exhibitions are regularly rotated to reflect the diverse history and heritage of the site.

In addition to all these events, corporate and private events (such as our Rotary meeting) are always welcome. Further information can be found at www.lougheedhouse.com.

David Wartman thanked Kirstin for her excellent, informative presentation and presented her with a Boltman.

Kirstin invited all those interested to a tour of the house (from top to bottom). Many club members participated, gaining insights into the Lougheeds' lives, building construction, furnishing and decoration of the day. It was an excellent tour.

Thanks to Bill Tapuska for arranging this excellent field trip for our club.

  • Tim Anderson, Kirstin Evenden, and David Wartman Tim Anderson, Kirstin Evenden, and David Wartman

reported by Les Morgan

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