“Then & Now” columns appeared weekly in the Calgary Herald between 2002 and 2005. The following article appeared November 19, 2003.
A.E. Cross House
1240 8th Ave. S.E.
Then: A.E. Cross House
• Alfred Ernest Cross came to
Alberta from Montreal around 1884 and, by 1892, had established the Calgary Brewing and Malting Co. Cross was one of the Big Four, along with Pat Burns, George Lane and Archie McLean, who founded the Calgary Stampede in 1912. In 1899, just before marrying Helen Rothney Macleod (daughter of Col. James Macleod of the North West Mounted Police and namesake of Macleod Trail and Fort Macleod), Cross bought this farmhouse on the Bow River for $2,305 from local lawyer H. Meyers. The house was designed by J.L Wilson and built in 1891 for Matthew Neilson, an engineer on the Calgary-Edmonton Railway. The surrounding property included an orchard, gardens and outbuildings for horses, cows, chickens, pigs, pheasants and partridge. The Crosses loved to entertain and, over the years, held many parties and social events at the estate they called The Brewery.
Now: Rouge restaurant
• After the deaths of Alfred (1932) and Helen (1959), the Cross House stayed in the family until 1973, when the children donated it to the City of Calgary. It was designated a provincial historic resource in 1977. At one time, it housed the city's Horticultural Enquiries Division and later the Calgary Horticultural Society. Following a $400,000 renovation in 1991, it opened as the A.E. Cross Garden Cafe. Ten years later, Paul Rogalski and Olivier Reynaud took over the business. They recently renamed it the Rouge restaurant, repainting the exterior of the house a deep burgundy and cream. Although the estate is somewhat smaller than it was in the 1890s, the house still sits on two city lots garnished with fruit trees, flowers and shrubbery.