“Cornerstones” were articles that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Calgary Herald between 1997 and 2000. The following article appeared February 28, 1999.
Salvation Army Citadel
• 704 1st St. S.E.
• Built: 1909 - 1910
• Demolished: 1979
• Original cost: $18,000
• Original owner: Salvation Army
• Construction materials: Brick and sandstone from E.H.Crandell’s Calgary Pressed Brick and Sandstone Company.
• Architectural style: The turret - style corner of the building was unusual for Calgary at the time it was built.
• Original interior details: Auditorium with seats for 1,000 people, Sunday School, office space.
• The Salvation Army came to Canada from England in 1882 and to Calgary on August 21, 1887.
• Boynton Hall on 8th Avenue S.E. was used for meetings until 1902 when the Army constructed a frame building on their 704 1st St.S.E. property.
• In 1909 the frame structure was demolished and construction began on a brick and sandstone Citadel on the same site.
• The cornerstone for the Army’s first permanent home was laid on Thanksgiving Monday October 25, 1909. The Army band played the music for the celebration that was attended by about 500 people. The guest speaker J. T. Macdonald said, "we are about to lay the foundation stone ….of a temple where creed will not rear its head, where sectarianism will be scattered to the four winds of heaven, where the stretched hand of love and mercy waits for you and for me, whether we be rich or poor. A temple where they will teach that everyone has a soul to save and a God to whom we must be taught to glorify."
• The Citadel was officially opened Sunday January 30, 1910.
• In August 1937, the Young Peoples’ Hall addition was erected adjoining the Citadel. The $40,000 red brick and sandstone building was dedicated to the memory of Eleanor Tompkins, whose bequest covered construction costs and provided an endowment fund.
• Around 1965 the Army began planning to erect a new building to replace the old Citadel. A local paper reported that "in 1966, the city requested that the Salvation Army abandon its plans to erect a new Citadel at 704 1st.St. S.E. to accommodate an urban renewal project planned for the block."
• The sod was turned for a new Citadel at Elbow Drive and 68th Avenue S.W. in December 1968. By 1971, the old Citadel building had reportedly been sold to the city for about $250,000. Although the Army moved from the downtown premises to their new building, the "Harbour Light" centre for the recovery and rehabilitation of alcoholics and drug addicts and several other social service offices remained in the old building. In 1972 "Harbour Light" moved to a new location at 515 1st. St. S.E.
• In November 1978, the Herald reported that the building was in serious disrepair and the city was looking for a new home for Citadel’s tenants, the Inner City Clothing Bank and the City Drop In Centre. The building was subsequently vacated.
• Demolition of the Citadel and Young Peoples’ Hall began in August 1979. The Albertan reported that "the city crew is removing the Citadel’s embossed ceiling tile, its balcony railings, leaded windows, some of its older lighting fixtures and other items specified by the board [heritage]."
• The original cornerstone was ceremoniously removed Wednesday August 15th, in the presence of Mayor Ross Alger and Salvation Army officials. The contents, including copies of the daily papers from 1909, a ten cent coin, and a list of men who worked on the construction of the building, were temporarily taken to the Glenbow Museum for further examination.
• A local paper of August 10, 1979 reported, " under the newly adopted Civic Square scheme, the land on which the Citadel now stands is to become one end of a light rail transit tunnel where LRT will come onto 7th Avenue after running underground throughout the project." Only months later the Civic Centre project was defeated by plebiscite during the municipal election.
• In 1986 –1987, the former Citadel site was incorporated into the Olympic Plaza development.
“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared August 12, 2003.
Then: Salvation Army Citadel
• Following the 1887 arrival of the Salvation Army in Calgary, meetings were held in Boynton Hall on 8th Avenue S.E. Around 1902, the army constructed a frame building on the same 7th Avenue site that, by 1909, was cleared to make way for this more substantial brick-and-sandstone citadel. The citadel was officially opened Jan. 30, 1910, only three months after the Thanksgiving Day cornerstone- laying ceremony. In August 1937, a $40,000 Young People's Hall addition was erected adjoining the citadel and dedicated to the memory of Eleanor Tompkins, whose bequest covered construction costs and an endowment fund. Two years after the Salvation Army opened a new building outside the downtown core in 1969, it sold the citadel to the city for about $250,000.
Now: Olympic Plaza
• From 1971 until it was demolished in 1979, the citadel's tenants included the Inner City Clothing Bank and the Calgary Drop In Centre. According to the city's 1979 Civic Square scheme, (part of an urban renewal initiative defeated by plebiscite), the land where the citadel sat was to "become one end of a light rail transit tunnel where the LRT will come onto 7th Avenue after running underground." Needless to say, this plan was not pursued and the former citadel site was incorporated into the Olympic Plaza development that was completed in time for the 1988 Winter Olympics.