Front corner view of Land Titles Building on 7th Avenue and 4th Street South West, built in 1907 and demolished in 1970
“Cornerstones” were articles that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Calgary Herald between 1997 and 2000. The following article appeared May 4, 1997.
Land Titles Office
• 7th Avenue West at 4th Street
• Built: 1907-1908
• Demolished: January 27, 1970
• Architect: probably A.M. Jeffers Provincial Architect, Department of Public Works
• Original cost: $80,000
• Construction materials: exterior walls made of cut Calgary sandstone backed with brick and concrete, stone rubble basement, steel beams and reinforced concrete
• Original interior details: non-flammable materials; plaster, wrought iron, terra cotta and rubberized tile. Marble floors used in stairways, floors and the main office. Tunnel in basement linked Land Titles Office to the neighbouring Courthouse.
• Architectural style: Free Classical
• Contemporary accounts stated, "it will be fireproof throughout, being fitted with the latest modern vaults...for the safe-guarding of documents and records."
• Only wood used in construction was in the exterior windows and doors.
• Impressive front facade with 23 granite steps leading up to a square doorway, set in a semicircular arch. Above that was a pediment which bore the provincial seal moulded in high relief and supported by two Ionic columns.
• 17,000 square feet on two floors and the basement. At the time of the move the building housed 30,000 land plans, 50,000,000 records of land transactions and 5,000 thick-bound title books.
• Demolished in 1970 and the Court of Queen's Bench was built on the site. Land Titles moved into the John J. Bowlen building. Sandstone from the building was used to patch up other government buildings.
“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared May 13, 2003.
Then: Land Titles Building, 7th Avenue and 4th Street S.W.
• The building, designed by architect A.M. Jeffers and constructed in 1907-08 at a cost of $80,000, was a "strictly fireproof" structure. Built of Calgary sandstone backed with brick and concrete, the windows and doors were the only wood in the entire building. Land Titles shared the block of land (bordered by 4th and 5th streets and 6th and 7th avenues S.W.) with the Alberta Court of Appeal building (to the west) and Calgary's first permanent courthouse (to the east), replaced in 1962 by the Court of Queen's Bench. By 1969, the Land Titles Building was so cramped that staff and documents were moved west on 7th Avenue to the new John J. Bowlen building. In early 1970, the old Land Titles Building and heating plant were demolished. The sandstone was salvaged and used to patch up other government buildings. Plans were made to transform the site between the two courthouses into a mini-park described by the local paper as "part of the downtown renewal plan."
Now: Public Park/Court of Queen's Bench.
• After the demolition, provincial Minister of Public Works Albert Ludwig -- who once told a reporter, "the Land Titles Building has little historical value" -- commissioned the landscaping and park development of the area between the two remaining government buildings. Construction of the park was completed in August 1971. Today, history buffs can visit the park and view the original, carved sandstone arch salvaged from the front entrance of the 1890 courthouse (demolished in 1958 to accommodate construction of the Court of Queen's Bench) and a brass plaque commemorating the history of the site and buildings mounted on the east wall of the Court of Queen's Bench facing 5th Street S.W. In 1991, a sculpture series entitled Buffalo Trails by JoAnne Schachtel was installed in the park area behind the now-closed Alberta Court of Appeal building.
Calgary Public Library, Central Library, Local History Room
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