Throwback Thursdays: City Hall

Calgary City Hall Then

Today’s Throwback Thursday photograph comes courtesy of the Collection of the Glenbow Museum Archives and it’s of City Hall still in the midst of construction in 1910.

In 1907, City Hall approved a budget to construct new administrative offices, a courthouse and a jail to replace the 1885 Town Hall, which you can see in the foreground of the first picture.  The cornerstone to the new City Hall is laid during this year on the northwest side of the main entrance and construction continued until it’s official opening to the public on June 26, 1911.

Initially designed by architect William Dodd (who was later replaced by Gilbert Hodgson and Ernest Butler), City Hall incorporates a variety of Victorian styles.  The building was primarily constructed from local sandstone from the Bone and Oliver Quarry on 17th Avenue and the cost to construct the building eventually reached a total of $500,000.

Calgary City Hall

City Hall was designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 1978, recognized by the Historical Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1984, designated a Municipal Historical Resource in 1990, and the building was renovated between 1995 to 1997 restoring many of the building’s original interior features such as the light well, the compass design at the bottom of the light well, the skylight, and the building’s original ornamental wrought iron balustrades.

Calgary City Hall Now

The Clock Tower that adorns the building is 21 metres high and was made by Seth Thomas Clock Co. which was purchased by City Council through D.E. Black Jewellers in 1911 for $3657.  It has to be wound every 10 days to keep time, and it fell silent only once when the clock winder couldn’t enter the Tower due to asbestos renovation work.

Fun Fact:  In 1912, 210 imported palm trees were planted around City Hall, but only one survived because it was moved indoors.

Today, Calgary remains one of seven cities in Canada that still retains its original City Hall.

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.

Do you have any photos of downtown Calgary from the past that you’d like to share with us?  If so, send us an e-mail [email protected] and it may appear in our weekly segment!