Architectural Style: Craftsman
The Willis (Shields) Residence is of historical value as a representative example of the housing that was constructed in Calgary at the time for Calgary’s professional class. The house was developed on a speculative basis by Wm. Betz, a carpenter for Scott and Hartfonft. It seems that Betz had some agreement with Scott and Hartronft as he never technically owned the property. The first owner-occpant of the house was Ernest Willis, a manager of the Calgary Bill Posting and Advertising Company. Willis owned the house until 1928. The house was purchased in 1936 by Peter Shields, a manager for the coal retail business, who had rented the house from about 1930. Shields had lived in Parkdale since at least the mid 1920s where he previously occupied the house at 214 – 37 Street N.W. (Tregillus Residence). The Willis (Shields) Residence remained in the Shields family until 1989, making the Shields family residency in Parkdale unique in length.
It’s valuable for the Craftsman style bungalow architecture, and is one of only a small number of examples (about a half-dozen) of this style in Parkdale. Characteristic of the style, the house features a one-and-one-half-storey bungalow form, a full-width front veranda, and exposed rafter tails and purlins. The paired dormer that incorporates a balcony is an unusual variant of the bungalow form.
The Willis (Shields) Residence is an integral component of the collection of historic houses that line the north side of Parkdale Boulevard forming a valuable historic streetscape. This streetscape symbolizes Parkdale’s initial development as an urban community and serves as an important aesthetic asset to the Parkdale community.