15. 843 – 27 Street, Riley Residence

Architectural Style: Queen Anne Revival 

Alfred Riley, a member of the prominent Riley family in Calgary, had this house built in 1910. Riley was born in 1872 in Montreal, and moved with his family to a homestead northeast of Calgary in 1888. He engaged in the ranching business in partnership with his three brothers and his father from 1896 until his father’s death in 1909. He then purchased land near Ardenode, where he farmed for the rest of his life. Other members of the family went on with careers in business and politics. Ezra Hounsfied Riley, Alfred’s brother, created the Hillhurst subdivision in Calgary and sat as the Liberal MLA for the riding of Gleichen.

Architecturally the Riley House is an example of the Queen Anne style popular in Canada at the turn of the century. The red brick with white trim, a prominent tower, small pane of glass in the upper window and the broad wrap-around veranda are features of this home that reflect the style.

Riley Lodge is the last remaining home of a notable early Calgary family whose members were prominent in the development of the northwest part of the city. The home Alfred Riley built remained as a link with the early growth period in Calgary’s history when the Rileys ranked as one of the city’ leading families.

(1988) Source: File DES1341, Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch

In 1987, in order to clear the original site at 819 Crowchild Trail NW for widening of the Crowchild Trail, the house was sold for $1.00 by The City of Calgary to Wayne Ellis and Lynne Ellis-Smith. The new owners had the superstructure moved to new foundations on a property at 843 27 Street NW after demolition of the verandah, interior plaster and main fireplace. Verandah columns, some brick, and the interior wood trim were salvaged at this time, to be used later in the reconstruction of the house as it now stands on the new site. The house was designated by the Province as a Registered Historic Resource in 1988. (1989)