Jan 12

Throwback Thursdays: Stephen Avenue and First Street SW

by Reginald Tiangha · 1 comment

Today’s Throwback Thursday looks at Stephen Avenue Walk and First Street SW.  This historic street corner is one of Calgary’s oldest intersections and has been known in days past as “The Alberta Corner” due to having an “Alberta” building on each corner.

In the first picture, you can see a Second Cup location to the left while in the second picture below (shot this month), that location is currently occupied by an Out There Adventure Centre, as well as Murrieta’s Bar & Grill upstairs.  That building, located at 804 – 1 Street SW, is known as the Alberta Hotel, and was one of the first buildings to use sandstone after the fire of 1886.  It originally cost $36,000 to build plus $9,000 for furnishings.  The bar was reputed to be the largest between Winnipeg and China, and the building was so popular that it was necessary to expand the premises in 1891 and again in 1906.

Across the street is Alberta Block, which housed a Music World location in the first picture, and is currently one of the buildings that houses Fashion Central today.  Located at 804 – 1 Street SW, and the long time home of Condon’s Palace of Eats, portions of this building were owned by a group of eastern investors:  R.B. Angus, Donald A. Smith (Lord Strathcona), E. Osler and Wm. Scarth.  Smith was a major personality in Western Canadian history, negotiating a settlement to the Red River Uprising (1st Riel Rebellion) with Louis Riel and was the person who drove the last spike in the C.P.R. railway at Craigellachie in 1885.

That’s it for this week’s Throwback Thursday.  Tune in next week and every week in 2012 for more glimpses into the past of Downtown Calgary.

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