A Lot of Change In Hillhurst
From bobsledding down the 14 ST NW hill, collecting water from a spring above Riley Park, Dairy farms in what is currently the heart of Kensington to paying $350 for a 60 ft corner lot; Howard Moore has seen a lot of change in the community of Hillhurst.
I have the pleasure of knowing and meeting many long term residence in the areas that we specialize in. It is always of particular interest to me when I converse with someone who has a wealth of knowledge of the area.
Howard had much more to share then what is cut into this 4.5 minute video, yet in a culture that has a 3 minute attention span I made an effort to make a short punchy summary of our conversation.
As Realtors we often have the pleasure of acquiring history of homes and people. The pace of transformation in Calgary is really amazing, especially when you take some time to chat with an 80+ year resident.
Speaker: For a few months, there has a been a block of homes on 19th
Street, just north of Kensington Road Northwest, vacated and prepared for
removal to be replaced by new development. And although the current
derelict state of these homes is no reflection of their past glory, the
street scape has reminded me of what the area used to look like when I see
old black and white photos of the community. With all the mature trees
removed, it’s more like the natural prairie landscape of the past. I’m
reminiscent of my own family’s connection to the community as I have a
picture of my dad and grandfather on the porch on this same street taken
some 60 years ago.
I had the pleasure of meeting many long-term residents in the area, and
this reflection of change inspired me to connect with just such a neighbor
to get some perspective on the evolution of this area.
Howard: I have been in this district the better part of my life. I’m
familiar with this district from my infancy, you might say. Well, we can
start out by saying in 1947, I purchased a lot from the city of Calgary. I
discovered that the corner lot was a little more expensive than the inside
lots, but I thought, well, that’s the one I want. So I bought this corner
lot in 1947 in June. The price of the lot, if you purchased the lot and
built something within a year, you got it for half price. The original
price was $700, so I paid $350 cash for the lot. In 1948, I decided that we
would commence building, no survey or anything like that. I laid this out
just by my own measurements from some place and in some places it’s
something else. The framing is an interesting story because to get all
these products to the site here, I hauled all the studding for the exterior
walls and the interior walls in the Model A Ford. The Plaza Theatre had
just started a few months earlier in the garage that used to be Scales
Garage. I even remember when it was a garage before it was a theatre. Not
many people can tell you much story about that.
How do I feel about the changes? It’s not that I don’t like change. It’s
just that I like certain characters to prevail in certain ways, whether it
be the way the building is constructed, the design of it, and so on. I’m
rather fond of buildings that look good, so I was involved in many things
of this nature just to try and the best of things for the community. So
what happens when it comes to change? It’s not that I avoid change. It’s
just that I like sometimes to maybe have some input.
Down through the years, there’s been vast changes on 14th Street because
it was all market garden between not quite 5th Avenue but down to midway
south on 14th Street. On the west side was all market garden. As 2nd Avenue
intersects, there used to be a dairy there called Paulson’s Dairy. Anyway,
in order to get nice fresh water, I’d walk from 15th Street to 10th Street
and up the side of the hill where those gardens exist there, there’s a
spring came out of the hill there, for years and years and years. We’d go
up there and get a pail of water and carry it home for drinking water, and
we made that trip fairly often. I used bobsled a lot down 14th Street hill.
It was a big deal in the winter time. I had a big bobsleigh and every once
in a while, even in recent years, a fella said to me, “I’ll always remember
you, you took me on a bobsled down 14th Street hill and scared the hell out
of me.” There’s not many people that can tell you a story like that.
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