“Cornerstones” were articles that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Calgary Herald between 1997 and 2000. The following article appeared December 7, 1997.
• 116 8th Avenue S.E.
• Built: 1907
• Architect: Dowler and Michie
• Original owner: Louis Henry Doll moved to Calgary from Toronto in 1889 and opened a jewellery store on the site of the present day Clarence Block, subsequently moving to the Lougheed Building. The 1906 Calgary Henderson's Directory listed L.H.Doll as a manufacturing jeweller, diamond importer and optician. Shortly after Doll opened his new jewellery store in the Doll Block in 1907 his ten year old daughter Florence died. It was reported that his disinterest in his affairs following the tragedy of her death led ultimately to the loss of his business.
• Construction materials: Medicine Hat brick and sandstone. Brick bearing wall frame with wooden structure on interior.
• Architectural style: "Boomtown Romanesque". " The third storey half-round oriel window has a lovely seashell-patterned faux stone lunette above and below. Originally the first and second storeys sparkled with bevelled glass. This delightful building culminates in an intricate parapet of stone and brick suggestive of lace and framed by small turrets."
• Original interior details: Wooden floors, pressed metal ceiling.
• 1906 Louis Henry Doll purchased the property from the Thomson Brothers.
• Doll built and opened "Doll's Diamond Palace" in 1907.
• Doll's daughter died in 1907 and the millionaire became despondent and disinterested in his business. The Doll family owned the building until 1912 when it was taken over by the Royal Bank.
• David Ernest Black, born in Westport Ontario in 1880 arrived in Calgary in 1903. He joined Doll's jewellery business but within a year opened his own store. In 1910 when Doll gave up the business, Black set up shop in the Doll Block where he remained until 1913 when he moved to the new Herald Building. In 1920 Black's Jewellers was sold to Birk's. Black became Birk's Managing Director and then President of Birk's (Western).Black was also a city alderman, President of the Board of Trade and the downtown Rotary Club.
• 1913 to 1946 - H.R. Chauncey, formerly a clerk at Black's store, opened his own jewellery store in the Doll Block.
• The building had numerous owners between 1912 and 1928 when it was finally purchased by Hedley Robert Chauncey (Calgary alderman 1936 -1945) and his wife Gladys Burdett Chauncey.
• 1946 - Doll Block acquired by the Belzberg family.
• In 1946, a fourth jeweller, Harold Raymond established his business in the building.
• Numerous renovations over the years significantly altered the interior.
• Block has been home to various retail outlets and offices over the years including; Calgary Business College (1907), the Liberal Association (1915), Dr. Bartlett (optometrist), Vogue Uniforms (70s - 80s).
• Building extensively restored in 1994 through a joint agreement between the owners (Balboa Land Investments Inc.) and the Stephen Avenue Heritage Area Society.
• June 1994 - Mayor Al Duerr officially re-opened the Doll Block at a ribbon cutting ceremony. The third floor of the Doll Block became the permanent home of the Esther Honens International Piano Competition and the Calgary International Organ Festival.
• In September 1997 the Doll Block was awarded a Community Heritage Plaque.
• The Heritage Plaque program was initiated in 1991 by the City of Calgary's Heritage Advisory Board to commemorate and raise awareness of heritage in Calgary. The sites recognized each year are nominated by the Calgary Community Associations and selected in consultation with the Historical Society of Alberta for their importance to Calgary's historical evolution.
• The Plaque is mounted on the Doll Block's 8th Avenue exterior for public viewing.