19.4 C
Calgary, CA
August 20, 2019

The Norman Block Then and Now

See how this centennial building stands up after more than a century (and four fires) on Stephen Avenue.

Photo by Andrew Guilbert; Postcard courtesy of Calgary Public Library

The Norman Block as seen today and in an undated postcard, probably sometime around 1911-1915.

The Norman Block was built by Sir James Alexander Lougheed around the turn of the last century for $20,000 (equivalent to roughly $575,000 today). Like the neighboring Clarence block, it is one of four commercial blocks Lougheed named for one of his sons. Also like the Clarence Block, the Norman block was designed by architect William Dodd, the man who designed Calgary’s first sandstone City Hall. The Norman block was subjected to not one, but four great fires in a relatively short period. The first fire was in 1900, then 1904, 1911 and 1933.
Architectural flourishes, from the balustrades to the columns and garlands of ribbons, have survived a a number of redevelopments. There were multiple rebuilds required after each fire and, in 1982, a fiberglass facade was added.
It has been the home of Lougheed’s Lyric Theatre and Knox Church architect F.J. Lawson., as well as various dentists, drugstores haberdasheries and other retailers. The Norman Block has been home to a Winners since 1997.

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