Architectural Style: Arts and Crafts
Alfred S. McKay, builder and rancher, partnered with the real estate company Scott and Hartronft to develop the Parkdale subdivision. Early development included a MacKay Residence along with four additional homes built by the Johnston Brothers Contracting company along 37th Street NW. This desirable location was near the Bow River and provided convenient access to the newly built streetcar line.
Alfred S. McKay lived across the street from this new development at 119 – 37th Street. The 1912 McKay residence at 134 – 37th Street was built specifically for his family members. His son, Alfred E. McKay worked as a salesman for the Calgary wholesale grocer Louis Petrie. He was listed as the first owner and lived in the house for nine years. At this time his brother Herbert McKay moved in and lived there for ten years.
The 1912 McKay residence is one of only about a dozen houses in Parkdale that represent the major economic and development boom in Calgary from 1910-13. Scott and Hartronft subdivided the area in 1910-11 into ‘Parkdale’ and ‘Parkdale Addition,’ where they envisioned the development of a professional-class streetcar suburb. During this period many homes in Calgary were built on a speculative basis including these houses in Parkdale. Though Parkdale gained streetcar service in 1911, presumably assuring its continued growth, a major economic downtown in 1913, followed by the First World War, halted community development until the early 1950s.
The 1912 McKay residence is one of five distinctive, historic red-brick houses developed 1911-12 that line the east side of 37 Street NW. This “1912 Arts and Crafts style architecture” is a two-story red-brick house with sandstone detailing. Other distinctive features of the house include its spacious, two-story plan and full-width front veranda with second story sleeping porch. Characteristic of the style are the mock-half-timbered gables and clipped-gable roof. Brick and sandstone for the home’s construction were obtained locally, with brick from the Crandell Pressed Brick and Sandstone Co. across the Bow River.