Friday, April 3, 2015


April 3rd, 2015

History. When I was younger, I didn't really care for it much at times, but now, it saddens me to see it go. There is so much we can learn from it, but so much we don't and it's just discarded. 

Today I took a couple of passionate fellow photographers on a walking tour through the historical community of Inglewood. Some of Inglewood's oldest buildings (including the iconic brewery) date back to the late 1800's.

Our first stop was the brewery. The main reason for this is because some of the buildings on this site are being torn down soon. One of those buildings is the Fish Hatchery building. Who knew that the owners of this brewery built an aquarium and a fish hatchery on its site?? So amazing! The original owners (the Cross family) also currently have a school named after them. They had a huge impact on the city of Calgary over the years. Here's some history of the brewery and the beer brewed, taken from multiple websites:

The Calgary Brewing and Malting Company Ltd. (CBMC), one of Calgary's longest surviving businesses, was founded by A.E. Cross in 1892. In 1893 the company produced its first beer, and registered its well-known buffalo head and horseshoe logo. In 1910 CBMC bought Golden West Brewery of Calgary. In 1925 it purchased Silver Spray Breweries of Calgary, and renamed it Big Horn Brewery. In 1952 it acquired Edmonton's North West Brewing Company, and renamed it Bohemian Maid in 1958. CBMC owned or financed many hotels across the province, in order to ensure a market for its beers. A subsidiary company, Ranchmen's Trust Company, was set up in 1912 to handle hotel purchases and mortgages. In 1957 the Alberta government required breweries to dispose of hotels, and many CBMC hotels were sold in the 1960s. A.E. Cross died in 1932 and his son, J.B. Cross, took over as president. The Brewery under the Cross family was very community-oriented. It actively supported local sports through the Calgary Buffalo Athletic Association, developed the Brewery grounds as gardens for the enjoyment of Calgarians, and in 1938 established a Fish Hatchery. Two personal projects of J.B. Cross were the Aquarium, opened in 1960, and the Horsemen's Hall of Fame (a western heritage museum), opened in 1964. The Aquarium closed in 1972, and the Horsemen's Hall of Fame in 1975, at which time its artifacts were donated to Glenbow. The Brewery was bought out by Canadian Breweries in 1961, although J.B. Cross remained president until his retirement in 1963. The company was subsequently bought by Rothman's in 1969, renamed Carling O'Keefe in 1973, purchased by Foster's Brewing of Australia in 1981, and finally taken over by Molson Breweries in 1989. It was closed in 1994.
In 1875, the North-West Territories Act was passed mandating, among other things, the prohibition of alcohol across the vast reaches of western Canada. Seventeen years later, in 1892, the Territorial Government repealed prohibition. At the time, Calgary was rapidly emerging as a bustling social and economic centre in southern Alberta, and local entrepreneurs believed robust profits could be found in slaking the community’s (now legal) thirsts. In the same year prohibition was repealed, A. E. Cross - one of Calgary’s first modern industrialists and an ambitious entrepreneur - assembled a cadre of financiers to establish the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company, Alberta’s first brewery. 

Operations began in 1893 and the enterprise quickly proved successful. Over the succeeding two decades Cross re-invested the company’s profits into growth and diversification. New buildings were constructed, trade was expanded to other provinces, smaller breweries and hotels were acquired, and the company introduced soft drinks and aerated water into its product line. A confident expansionist, Cross was also a relentless modernizer; the Calgary Brewing and Malting Company was one of the first industrial users of natural gas in western Canada. 

Between the 1910s and the 1950s, the company’s fortunes ebbed and flowed with World Wars One and Two, Prohibition between 1916 and 1923, and the Great Depression. By 1961, however, the company was beset by insurmountable challenges and was sold to Canadian Breweries. The site would subsequently pass through other owners and operators before ceasing production in 1994. 

The significant buildings and structures of the Calgary Brewing and Malting Co./Molsons Brewery date from 1892 until the 1930s and feature an array of architectural visions. The earliest extant building, the 1892 Brew House and Ale Cellars , was designed by Otto Wolf, a Philadelphia-based architect and engineer. Comprising a post and beam structure with timber capitals and an exterior of rusticated sandstone and brick, the building is one of the earliest and most impressive industrial designs and constructions in Calgary. 

It was significantly expanded in 1900. In 1904, the company initiated a major expansion. Bernard Barthel, a well-known architect of breweries throughout North America, visited Calgary in that year and provided designs for several new buildings. Though it has undergone significant alterations, the 1905 Brew House reflects Barthel’s aesthetic sensibility: simple and functional with enormous windows, the new building was distinguished by its lack of embellishment and its emphasis upon natural lighting. Its simplified architecture may reflect both Cross’ utilitarian ethic and the influence of the architectural styles of Chicago upon Barthel’s work. The 1905 Smokestack designed by Barthel is also distinctive, featuring corbelled brick at the top and imitating the appearance of a column, complete with base, shaft, and capital. It has been an icon of the site since its construction. Another architectural sensibility is evident in the 1907-08 Administration Building designed by the well-known Calgary architectural firm, Hodgson and Bates. The building is clearly an office structure, distinct from the industrial structures that surround it, and features an elegant marriage of brick walls and sandstone trim. The Administration Building’s most prominent feature is a relief sandstone carving of a buffalo head and horseshoe – the iconic logo of the company. 

The 1930s witnessed two significant additions to the site. In the early 1930s, J. B. Cross, continuing his father’s legacy of community service, built a large garden adjacent to the brewery as a make work project for his Depression-era employees. Begun in 1932, the garden eventually included a variety of species of flora, fish hatcheries, waterfalls, and an 1875 Metis cabin brought to the site from near the original Fort Calgary. In the late 1930s, architect George Fordyce designed a pub in the Tudor Revival style that was incorporated into the east portion of the 1892 Brew House and Ale Celllars. The buildings, structures, and landscape elements at the site thus represent an evolution of both industrial facilities and architectural sensibilities. 

1892 Brew House and Ale Cellars : 
- mass, form, and style; 
- concrete foundations; 
- sandstone and brick walls; 
- dimensional lumber floor joists; 
- fenestration pattern; 
- original windows; 
- shallow arches above windows and doors of sandstone voussoirs and keystones; 
- modified large timber post and beam structural system and stone fireplace in pub; 
- wood subfloor and concrete floors; 
- original equipment. 

1892 Malt Kiln: 

- remaining mass, form, and style. 

1892 Original Boiler Room

- remaining mass, form, and style. 

1903 Storage Cellars: 

- mass, form, and style; 
- brick and sandstone walls. 

1905 Wash House (Empty Barrel Storage later): 

- mass, form, and style; 
- brick and sandstone walls. 

1905 Brew House: 

- mass, form, and style; 
- sandstone and brick facades; 
- original windows; 
- load-bearing sandstone and brick exterior walls; 
- concrete encased steel beams supported on cast iron columns; 
- original floor plan. 

1905 Malt Kiln

- remaining mass, form, and style. 

1905 Boiler House

- mass, form, and style; 
- sandstone and brick walls; 
- concrete roof slab; 
- original boiler. 

1905 Smokestack

- mass, form, and style; 
- brick construction; 
- corbelling and decorative masonry features. 

1905 Racking Room Storage 

(Later Full Keg Cold Storage with North Addition): 
- mass, form, and style; 
- brick and sandstone walls. 

1905 Bottling House (Empty Bottle Storage later): 

- mass, form, and style; 
- brick and sandstone walls. 

1907 Administration Building

- mass, form, and style; 
- sandstone foundation; 
- bricks walls and sandstone trim; 
- sandstone sculpture of buffalo head; 
- original cornerstone; 
- fenestration pattern; 
- brick corbels below the parapet cap; 
- original lath and plaster walls and ceilings (now covered). 

1913 Engine Room

- mass, form, and style; 
- brick walls; 
- steel beam roof structure 
- corbelled band of brick just below the parapet. 

1913 Well

- mass, form, and style; 
- brick construction. 

1932 Brewery Gardens

- mass, form, and style; 
- irregular flagstone walks; 
- concrete ponds, wooden pole railings, wooden plank railings, wooden bridges; 
- variety of trees, shrubs, and perennials. 

1933 1875 Metis Cabin

- mass, form, and style. 

From there the walk heads West, and eventually, back East, back to the brewery. 

A little history on the beer (Calgary Beer) itself...
A.E. Cross opened Calgary Brewing and Malting in 1892 – one of the oldest breweries in the province. His beer, and the buffalo logo he designed, quickly became quite popular in frontier Alberta. Operating continually for decades (it survived prohibition by exporting its beer to Mexico), the company thrived in the growing province. It bought up a couple of other Calgary breweries and the Northwest Brewing Company in Edmonton (in 1953), renaming it Bohemian Maid. Its iconic buffalo and horseshoe logo became famous across western Canada.
Calgary Brewing was purchased in 1961 by E.P. Taylor’s Canadian Breweries, later to become Carling O’Keefe. Carling kept operating the Calgary brewery. When Carling and Molson “merged” in 1989, the Calgary brewery was declared surplus and closed. In 1985, Carling discontinued Calgary Beer in Calgary, but continued to sell it in Saskatchewan. Molson kept up the practice.Twice before it returned Calgary Beer to is home market – around the 1988 Olympics and a single batch in 1992 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Calgary Brewing.
Apparently this latest incarnation is a trial run for now., with a possibility of more continuous availability. For the record, Calgary Beer is now brewed at the Vancouver Molson plant, since Molson does not have a plant on the prairies.
Aside from historical curiousity, I still see this as a small but interesting move by Molson. I always found it odd that Calgary Beer was available in Regina but not Calgary. It seems a no-brainer to try to connect the city with its namesake beer. Personally I vacillate over seeing this as a mild PR reclamation effort or as a cynical marketing ploy. Remember, this is the same company that closed all its prairie breweries in a fifteen year span of brewery-cide. It has made no efforts to preserve or protect the historical heritage of the regional breweries it purchased.  The beer brewed today has no connection, other than the name, to the Cross original, much like the sad evolution of Alexander Keith’s.

From the brewery, you head west. Some of the first old structures encountered are Bates Electric Welding, Hamilton Apartments, and Seven Oaks Court which were all built in the 1913-1919 era. Further west is the iconic National Hotel (currently called "The Nash") which was constructed in 1907. A few years ago it underwent renovations, and the brick has been "polished" and more modernized with more shops on the lower level of the hotel. I should have gone in today to see if the hotel itself was still actually in operation, or if it was strictly now a business building.
Next to the hotel is the Maclean Auction Barn which was originally called East End Livery. It is now a really awesome small business which sells locally made shirts, tea towls from Japanese fabric, and other really cool stuff. They even kept the original back wall and were gracious to let us in past the desk and take photos of the back wall too! Even the name of the shop is called "The Livery", keeping the history alive which is really nice to see in current society.

Winding through the streets of Inglewood you get a sense of the history, and the people are extremely nice and always willing to talk about the history of their homes. The last stop on the tour was the Stewart Livery Stable which was built in 1909. I really wish I had the money that I could buy this amazing building and make it into a house. Keep the outside the way it is, add a few more windows but keep the amazing wood walls and white old faded paint color. Such a beautiful building which I first saw for the first time today. It is hidden in an area you would never think it would be.

So there you have amazing 4 hour walk (and we didn't see ALL of the old buildings and blocks) through a community that is often overlooked of history.

Until next time....


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