Why you buy into an historic neighbourhood, it often comes with a lot of baggage. The interesting kind of baggage that you can open up, admire and take pride from. The Calgary community of Inglewood is Calgary’s oldest neighbourhood and is one of those historic communities. It’s the area where Calgary was first developed, next to Fort Calgary. It’s ripe with stories and historic land marks that you just won’t see elsewhere in the city.
There are few communities in Calgary with actual barns, used in the early 20th century as livery stables. There is an original barn in Calgary’s Shawnessy area but it was part of a farm that was originally on that location and was constructed in the 1920s. Inglewood has not one but two original barns still standing, both used for livery services. Old time Calgarians could either rent a horse and wagon or carriage or in the case of a livery next to a hotel, keep their animal and carriage during their stay.
Inglewood’s Red Barn
The red barn next to the National Hotel on 8 Ave SE is an example of the latter. Originally a full-service livery called the East End Livery, the old barn has been given some new paint and the roof has been propped up. It was used as an auction house by the McLean’s for many years prior to being abandoned and then restored for retail purposes at the same time the National Hotel was transformed into simply the “Nash”.
The White Barn
The other, larger barn on 9 Ave SE and 14 St SE is also a significant structure in Inglewood’s history. Still in excellent shape, this white barn was constructed in 1909 by Calgarian James A Stewart. He and his partners operated the Grand Livery Stable and built this barn in the gambrel style. A gambrel barn has a two-sided roof. The upper side has a slight slant and the lower side has a steeper pitch. It’s often referred to as a Dutch roof and many folks in the 19th century here in Canada called it an “Ontario Barn”.
This building first housed the animals of travelers arriving in Calgary. It was built just at the time cars were starting to roll off the trains in Calgary – the start of the demise of equine transport in our city.
Sine that time, the white barn in Inglewood has been used mostly for storage. In the 1940s it was used to store mail trucks.
It has been bought and sold many times over. In 1976, George E. Cinnamon of Calgary bought the barn and owned it long enough that locals called in the Cinnamon barn.
Current Day Owner
When Cinnamon passed away, Corinna Lee – a lawyer in Calgary – purchased it from his estate. Apparently, she had been eyeballing it for some time. She told Avenue Magazine that she has some ideas about what to do with it but no solid plants. Commercial use, like a store or a restaurant, has been considered but she admitted that she’s a bit daunted by the cost.
Currently, the barn standing in the same spot it has been standing for 108 years is a frame with no interior structures remaining. Lee says there was a toilet once in the middle of the barn and she surmises that the plumbing is a century old. The barn was wired for electricity at one point but was never heated.
When pressed, Lee said that she thought the best use of the property, which stands on a very large lot with a patch of grass on one side, would be used for residential purposes. Whether that means occupancy in the barn, tearing the barn down or building beside it, isn’t know. Lee said she’s open to options, and in the meantime, she’s using the barn in the same way that many other owners have used it before her.