Calgary’s sixth oldest home to find its place in nearby park
McHugh House will soon have a new home and continue to stand as an inspiring historical resource.
City Council met behind closed doors on Feb. 24 to discuss and vote on the costs associated with moving Calgary’s sixth oldest home, saving it from demolition by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary.
Council made a decision later that evening, unanimously approving to save the home without public debate.
Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley confirmed the total cost to move the home to its new location is $450,000. The City will take $300,000 from the fiscal reserve and another $150,000 from the Beltline Community Investment Fund (BCIF).
The initial estimated cost to move McHugh House was over $1 million.
Proposed plans released from the City say the house will be moved approximately 145 metres to Humpy Hollow Park, which sits at the corner of 17th Avenue S.E. and Centre Street S.
“Basically we’ve saved the house by moving it off its site,” Woolley said shortly after a decision was made. “We just saved the sixth oldest house in Calgary from a wrecking ball.”
In a previous Calgary Journal article, it was reported that McHugh House faced ruin after the Diocese filed for demolition in March 2013. After negotiations between the Diocese and the City, it was decided that the home would be moved from its current location to allow the Diocese to sell the land to a private developer. The City struck a deal with the Diocese earlier in February to buy the home and move it off its current site.
The movement of the house, according to the funding application to BCIF, says the move will be carried out in two phases:
1) Move the McHugh House to a temporary location within Humpy Hollow Park to meet the April 6 deadline.
2) Determine the optimum location and potential uses within Humpy Hollow Park. Move McHugh House to a permanent location and return to a useable condition.
Minutes from a Feb. 18 BCIF meeting say that moving McHugh House to Humpy Hollow Park is the best solution at this time. The demolition permit for the house is still in place. City files note there isn’t adequate time to draw out final plans, construct permanent foundation for the home or estimate final costs before the April 6 demolition deadline.
McHugh House will remain close to its original plot, staying within the Mission area, which was once the Francophone community of Rouleauville before it was annexed to the City in 1906.
Once the home is moved to a permanent location, McHugh House will be listed as a Municipal Historic Resource, protecting it by law from demolition and from any changes to the early Queen Anne-revival architecture.
McHugh House will also be brought back to useable condition, however it is unknown as to what the house will serve as afterward. Future funding for the upkeep of the home will be discussed at a later date.
“What comes next remains to be seen,” said Woolley. “We could do a whole range of different things with that house.”
Woolley added that while there are still many things to be worked out concerning the move of McHugh House, he was satisfied that the home was saved.
“This is a very, very, big win,” he said.
In a letter attached to the Council agenda, the Calgary Heritage Authority (CHA) expressed their support of the move.
“We commend Council for their proactive efforts to preserve this important landmark,” CHA chair Scott Joliffe said in the letter.
Correction: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect number concerning
the initial estimated cost of moving McHugh house. The figure has been updated.