804 18 Ave SW
The Anderson Apartments were built in 1912 at the height of Calgary’s big boom (1909-1913). It was the largest apartment building in the city until after WWII. The building was commissioned Victor Anderson (1863-1930), a real-estate businessman who, until his death, occupied a suite in [illegible] managed the property.
Anderson engaged Calgary architect [illegible] comprising 65 one-bedroom units for [illegible]functioned as a regular apartment house for [illegible]constructed using a reinforced concrete frame, clay brick, [illegible]and simulated stone (concrete) detail. Inside, the lobby [illegible] marble baseboards, oak paneling, plaster moudlings and a [illegible] railing extends from the lobby. The builder [illegible]is its brass/copper bird-cage elevator, which is still in use. The cage was first constructed in 1928; prior to that, operators ran the elevator, with [illegible] service” according to a 1915 advertisement. The elevator/ building was featured prominently in Jan Arden’s 1995 video “Insensitive” as well as several movies.
All units followed one of two identical floor plans. Each [illegible] dark oak mouldings, maple floors, galley kitchen with [illegible] central vacuum outlets, radiator heat, a built-in china cabinet and telephones (telephones were connected to a switchboard in the building with operator).
The building was also equipped with a large basement dining room, accessible off 7 St SW, which operated until about 1919; it’s unclear whether the dining room was open to non-residents. The former dining room became a church space for various Religious Science congregations from about 1947-80, and was reputedly a dance hall at some point too.
In the early years, the Anderson attracted a broad spectrum of male and female, middle-class residents from clerks to doctors, lawyers and managers. The most notable resident (1918-20) however was Archbald Dingman, the Grandfather of Alberta’s oil industry, who in 1914 frill the famous Dingman No. 1 well in Turner Valley, propelling Alberta into the oil age. Other notable residents have included Roy Eamon (of the cool 1950s Eamon’s Bungalow Camp). Edward Curlette (important pioneer photographer); Capt. DG Shouldice (of the well-known pioneer family).
The building remained in Victor Anderson’s family until 1977 when it was purchased by Victor Mah. A ‘verbal condition’ of the sale was the Mah was to be a sensitive and respectful steward of the building. Mah kept his promise and in 2000 completed a high-quality renovation of the building, at which time it was converted to condos. All plumbing, wiring and systems were replaced, although the massive original boiler remains in place (unused). The configuration of the interior and of the apartments remains unchanged.
Clint Robertson (resident since 2007)