Bankview's Nimmons Residence recognized by Heritage Calgary
The Nimmons Residence has been moved from the spot where it was originally built in 1898 to make way for an 84-unit apartment, but now the ranch house has a plaque to tell a bit of its history.
It's been recognized by Heritage Calgary.
Josh Traptow, Heritage Calgary's chief executive, says the home wasn't legally protected, so it could have been demolished to make way for new development.
For years, the Queen Anne Revival-style home sat on the corner of 14 Street and 19 Avenue S.W., overlooking downtown Calgary.
"When Nimmons and his wife lived here, this was like bald prairie," Traptow said.
"This was far west of Calgary ... this was not in Calgary and then we've seen Calgary go around and of course, his ranch was subdivided and communities have come about but the Nimmons house has stayed."
Traptow says houses of this era typically weren't made of brick because it was an expensive commodity and sandstone was much cheaper at the time.
"Post-1886 of the great fire, everything was built out of sandstone because we had quarries so readily here," he said.
"But when it came to brick, we didn't have many brickyards but Nimmons had a brickyard and so that's why this house is made of brick."
Jordana and Jordan Giustini own the land and had the idea to save the home but still build an apartment building on the site.
To do that, the Nimmons Residence had to be moved four separate times to accommodate construction.
"I think at first, people were pretty blown away and actually watching it being moved in phases was quite amazing," Jordana said.
"But it was done and it was done really well, so we're very proud of the finished product."
Giustini says the new building is fully occupied but there are still some finishing touches to be done to the Nimmons Residence before the new tenant moves in.
"I think it's important to keep the old buildings alive," she said.
"It just has so much history and stories to it and they just don't build things like they used to. Even the stained-glass windows and the brick just has, just gives up a different vibe, you know?"
Kelly O'Donnell, the general contractor who arrived on site in February to start the restoration of the historic home, says it's the oldest home he's ever worked on and he was careful not to make it look new.
"This is a solid house, considering the four moves," he said.
"It's built right and I tried to keep it as rough-looking as I could, just because they don't want to have a modern house and so I'd rather keep it looking old."
Chris Souster, who will soon move his law practice into the home, says it has a lot of character and charm.
"The stained-glass windows, the wood banisters, the 120-year-old wood floors, the railing and the balconies that are just off of my office, it's a one-of-a-kind opportunity," he said.
Souster is embracing the history of the home to make his office look just right for clients.
"I've spent a lot of time and energy locating fixtures and furniture that are of the heritage era," he said.
"So I think it's going to show nicely once we're fully moved in."
Traptow is happy the Giustinis had the vision to repurpose the historic home so it could be enjoyed by Calgarians for generations to come.
"But the fact that (the landowner) took all of that effort and attention to move the house and now to do some restoration and find a tenant, that really shows that they care that this house is viewed as an asset and I think we're seeing more and more of that, where heritage is being viewed as an asset instead of a negative," he said.